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Yawn

The Cannes Film Festival has been going on for about 6 days now, which means it’s time for a bit of roundup. Variety says that the festival has been pretty mellow so far, with the Coen Brothers’ “No Country of Old Men” and the grim drama “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days” as the frontrunners for the Palme D’or.

On the other hand, the Cannes market has been very healthy, with the North American rights for Wilson Yip’s “Flash Point” already sold.

I posted a link to Twitch’s review of the film “Dai Nipponjin,” which had its premiere on Saturday. Already there are distributors from ten different countries hoping to snatch up the film, which means we can see oversea releases pretty soon.

Kim Ki-Duk’s Breath, starring Chang Chen, is getting pretty good word-of-mouth as an in competition film. It’s also attracting quite a few buyers at the market as well.

- As expected, Spiderman 3 crossed the HK$50 million mark on Sunday in Hong Kong. The sequel made another HK$1.8 million on 65 screens, and has now made HK$50.73 million after 20 days of release. Of course, next weekend sees the opening of the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, so it should die down right about then all around the world.

As for other films, the Korean blockbuster 200-Pound Beauty perked up by quite a bit, making HK$500,000 on 21 screens for a 4-day total of HK1.48 million. Herman Yau’s Gong Tau and Whispers and Moans (both category III, meaning no one under 18 can be admitted) made HK$210,000 and HK$70,000 on 25 and 5 screens, respectively. Gong Tau has now made HK$1.3 million after 6 days plus previews, while Whispers and Moans (which Twitch just recently reviewed as well) has made HK$360,000 after 4 days. Leon Lai-starrer The Matrimony made only HK$50,000 on 15 screens, while Audrey Tautou-starrer Priceless actually saw an increase in business with HK$150,000 on 7 screens.

(For reference: US$1=HK$7.8)

- In Japan, the latest box office ranking shows that most of the film on the top 10 last week stayed where they are, except in two spots - the sequel Pacchigi - Love and Peace lands on 7th place, while the Will Farrell-starrer Stranger Than Fiction lands on 10th. More numbers tomorrow.

- In South Korea, Spiderman again led the pack, but it’s counter-programming film Unstoppable Marriage that’s taking the spotlight. Also, Japanese films are suddenly performing really well there, with Memories of Tomorrow’s strong opening last week and the surprising 4th place opening for the pop-song-inspired “Tears For You.”

- This week’s Japan drama ratings are doing a bit better(See here for all the drama introductions), with Proposal Daisakusen, Sexy Voice and Robo, Bambino, and quite a few more dramas seeing higher ratings. Proposal Daisakusen is pulling its lead with a 16.6 rating average to be the current leader with no other drama close by. On the other hand, Yuji Oda’s Joudan Janai freefalls from its stable 14 rating range the last two weeks to a disastrous 11.7 this week, marking the drama’s lowest rating yet. This season just isn’t much for dramas.

- When India is a huge movie industry with production number matching Hollywood, it’s natural that they would start making movies of similar scale, right? And it’s also no surprise that Indian producers would eventually put their money into Hollywood.

- In fact, now Bollywood filmmakers are beginning to stray from the traditional formula, meaning less songs or different formulas. Apparently it’s a pretty huge deal if a 107-minute movie only has one song.

- On the other hand, Chinese producers are still hanging on to the martial arts/period epic formula to make money (with the somewhat disappointing showing of The Banquet and Curse of the Golden Flower, I was hoping it’s starting to end), and here is another example. Honestly, I haven’t been so indifferent to a huge Chinese period epic since…A Battle of Wits. Maybe it’s an Andy Lau thing.

- Some Westerner wants to do a biopic of Mao Tse-Tung, and he’s looking for the Chinese government approval to get production support. “This is a very positive portrayal of Mao,” the producer said. That’s Chairman Mao to you, foreign devil.

- Jason Gray has seen Takeshi Kitano’s “Kantoku Banzai,” but has sworn to secrecy. So good luck trying to decipher his response, completely done in Japanese smiley faces.

- How can you get your movie into China without having to worry about blackout dates and import quota? Engage in an artistic battle royale with your fellow filmmakers at the Shanghai International Film Festival, and you shall get your wish.

- What i love about the English stations of the two free broadcasters in Hong Kong - TVB and ATV - is that they would show Japanese dramas every week. It’s a good alternative to the same old melodramatic series on the Chinese channels, and they even sometimes pick pretty good American dramas too. This is all thanks to a flexible schedule, which means not having to worry about TV seasons or sweeps.

- The Stephen Chow-approved Japanese spinoff of Shaolin Soccer “Shaolin Girl,” has started shooting for a while, and apparently there’s a blog on its website, although I have no idea who’s writing it. It has already written about shooting the cameos by a couple of the Shaolin Soccer guys.

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