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The Golden Rock - June 2nd, 2007 Edition

- Youtube/Google and record company EMI have struck a deal to place video contents on Youtube legally. Artists under the EMI label include Coldplay and David Bowie (wait, does David Bowie even make music anymore?). Universal music also has a similar deal in place with Youtube. Too bad only North American music labels have deals so far, everything else is just getting their copyrights violated.

- Meanwhile, Asian music is seeing a huge market at making their products available for mobile users, and for a very good reason. In fact, a survey says most people expect music to only be available digitally in the next few years….as long as these music will be provided in uncompressed 1400k wav files (OK, I added that last part myself).

- This weekend, two films by two major comedians in Japan opened. First, there’s Takeshi Kitano’s latest “Kantoku Banzai” (”Long Live the Director!”), which is supposed to be quite strange and alienating like Takeshis’. There’s also “Dai Nipponjin,” the directorial debut of famous comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto (he’s the bald guy that does those batsu games). There were rumors that the films are opening on the same day to allow some cross-promotion, since the two comedians seem to cross paths on TV quite often. I can’t seem to find any articles about it (though I remember I read something about that), but if you need any proof that there’s any of that happening, just look at the following clip of Hitoshi Matsumoto on the comedy show “Waratte Itomo,” where he not only talks about his Cannes experience, but also have a crew member hang posters of his own film AND Kantoku Banzai in the back. Damn it, I want both of those posters.

I also predicted that there might be some kind of box office battle this weekend between these two films. I was wrong, they’re both fairly small releases (maybe just under 100 screens?), so Pirates will probably win the weekend again.

- I wrote about the so-so box office of last weekend’s opener Shaberedomo Shaberedomo before. Turns out it’s not doing quite well. The film, a drama about Japanese stand-up comedy (except they sit down, which….I guess makes it sit-down comedy in Japan terms), stars Johnny’s Entertainment-managed group Tokio member Taichi Kokubun and is actually doing worse than films featuring other Johnny’s talents. For instance, compared to those films that opened on less than 250 screens, Shaberedomo’s 39.7 million yen opening is only 66% of Sakurai Sho’s Honey and Clover’s opening, though it did open 143% of the opening for “Nezu no Ban” (A Hardest Night), another film about Japanese comedians. In addition, its “main theater” in Ginza reported full houses all weekend. Perhaps word-of-mouth (partly from positive reviews) will give it legs at the box office.

- Japan Times also rips the ridiculous Hollywood blockbuster 300 a new one this weekend.

- I know Ryu Seung-Wan (City of Violence, Arahan, Crying Fist) is a favorite among Asian action film fans out there. After exploring contemporary films, now he’s kind of moving on to period films….except said period film will have zombies in it too.

- Joost is supposed to be the high-quality alternative to Youtube, plus legal content. I have it, but it doesn’t have much to keep me tuned in. This isn’t going to help me keep tuning in, but I think this might encourage some other people to try it. However, Joost is currently invitation-only. Still, just google “Joost invite” and you can find one easily.

- People in the UK are now lucky enough to pre-order the excellent German film The Lives on Others on DVD. I know it’s not Asian, but I like the movie.

- A few weeks ago I put up the link to a teaser for Takeshi Miike’s high school brawl film Crows Zero. Apparently, the film won’t be an all-out boys fest; it will now have approximately one female character in it. Jeez, now I’m just making the movie sound like a prison sentence with periodical conjugal visits.

- Korea Pop Wars has an amusing story about how a win in the art world is overshadowing big bad Hollywood advertising. That’s right, Shrek, you just got your big promotional plan beat down by the French.

- Canada, sit tight. You guys are getting the Election movies in theaters starting yesterday! Just don’t bring a video camera to the theater anymore. Too bad I’ll be missing the August 17th opening of Exiled on the big screen in the United States (I’ll be in Hong Kong already by then).

- Speaking of which, forget about uploading TV shows; don’t even think of trying to spread them, especially episodes of 24.

- Lastly, there are more information about Tsui Hark’s latest film Missing, which somehow has something to do with a sunken wedding ring and an underwater city.

That’s it for today, we’ll wrap up the weekend tomorrow.

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