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The Golden Rock - June 5th, 2007 Edition

This isn’t a political blog, but these were the headlines of Hong Kong newspapers on yesterday June 4th. I honestly can’t believe the price of pork can be more important on June 4th, but I’m not a publisher, so what do I know?

- There again seems to be discrepancy between the actual attendance rankings to whatever Box Office Mojo has. And this time it isn’t simple exchange rate difference or money count, it’s practically different statistics altogether.

From what we can tell, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End lost only 20% of its business (roughly, because the exchange rate is slightly different again), and the rest is all kind of confusing. For one, Mojo decided to include the money Warner Bros. reported it made on its weekend previews of 300. Not only that, Mojo also put it in the rankings, while the attendance ranking leaves it out completely (by the way, considering it only had showings on Saturday, it did pretty well). Also, Takeshi Kitano’s Glory to the Filmmaker is now placed at 10th place, which is what the attendance ranking reported, except it’s ahead of The Banquet, even though Mojo even reported The Banquet making about US$1000 more. They also reported that Glory opened only on one screen, when Variety Asia reports that figure at 113 screens.

Of course, the big news is the big opening of Hitoshi Matsumoto’s directorial debut “Dai Nipponjin.” On 221 screens, the superhero comedy made 230 million yen for an impressive 1,040,723 yen per-screen average (US$1=121 yen). However, the opening is only 83% of the opening of Train Man (Densha Otoko), which had a similarly secretive promotional campaign. Furthermore, the general public seems to be not liking the film very much, which means the opening weekend may only have satisfied the curious crowd and won’t have much legs in the long run.

Who cares, though, when you have won the battle of the comedians? Dai Nipponjin won a trifecta against Kitano’s Glory to the Filmmaker - screen count, total gross, and per-screen average.

- The “HOCC vs Leo Ku” debacle has blown up just a little bit more when the two showed up for a concert put together by a radio station. And of course, the media is fanning the flame to sell more newspapers:

基仔甫坐下即說新歌《錢錢錢錢》的種類屬於Progressive Rock,與Queen的《Bohemian Rhapsody》屬同一種曲風,但兩首歌的旋律絕不一樣。

(in translation)Leo immediately said that his new song “Money Money Money Money” belongs in the category of Progressive Rock, the same style as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but the melodies are absolutely different.

OK, Mr. Ku, I’ll buy that your song doesn’t sound like Bohemian Rhapsody, but let’s make this clear - this song is Progressive Rock; your song is not.

Meanwhile, Paco Wong, the manager of all Gold Label artists, has this to say:


(in translation) “Perspectives are different. Denise Ho expressed her opinion without naming any names. That is her personal opinion; if she says that it’s Mark Lui and Leo Ku’s song, then thanks for helping with the promotion, but please clear up the names.” Then Leo pat his manager’s shoulder, trying to make peace saying, “she didn’t say any names, do not jump to conclusions.”

This is essentially a battle that the press started. HOCC didn’t even write that anyone copied any songs. Anyway, I won’t be translating the next line about Leo not smiling when they greeted each other since that’s just gossip. You can read the Chinese report to read about it.

- Under the “jumping the gun” file today, TV Asahi already has plans to turn their Summer drama Sushi Ouji into a feature film, before any of the drama has even aired on TV. Starring KinKi Kids’ Koichi Domoto, filming on the feature film will start within the next few days and will be distributed by Warner Bros. for next year’s Golden Week slot.

- Twitch has the first trailer for the Tsui Hark/Ringo Lam/Johnnie To collaborative experiment Triangle. I don’t care what the critics say, I still think it looks like a hell of a ride. Be sure to use Internet Explorer to watch the link.

- I saw a billboard in Tokyo with a countdown clock for when TV transmission signal is expect to go digital. That number was still over 1000 days, but it was a cool billboard anyway. Anyway, looks like Hong Kong needs to go get themselves one of those billboards, because the government is switching off analog in 2012, and people can already start watching digital transmitted TV by the end of the year.

- The second trailer for Kenta Fukasaku’s X Cross, an adaptation of the first “This Mystery is Amazing!” contest winner, is up. It’s shorter than the first trailer, and it actually features brief glimpses of behind-the-scenes work. Still, I don’t know why they’re waiting until December 1st to release it, especially it’s completed enough to already get slapped with a PG-12 rating.

- Shiina Ringo is back with Tokyo Jihen, and they’re not just releasing two singles this summer; they’re going on tour again! Anyone want to help me buy a ticket for the Tokyo show?

- Under the “that’s overdoing it a little bit” file today, the otaku-targeted girl group AKB48, which already has an astonishing 48 members, is looking to add another 18, totaling 66 members when it’s all said and done. They’re not building a pop band; they’re gathering an army!

- I feel obliged to report any time an Asian-American director hits it big. This time, So Yong Kim’s debut film “In Between Days,” which was well-received when it premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, has been picked up for distribution by Kino International (they distributed Wong Kar-Wai’s Happy Together and the Wong Kar-Wai DVD box set as well). The film has also won an award at the Berlin Film Festival.

- I used to like Quentin Tarantino even when people attack him for ripping off Asian films, because at least he made them look (fairly) good. The man has a sense of style and he certainly knows how to make a movie. Then Death Proof was too self-indulgent to bear (despite a really cool car chase at the end), and suddenly Tarantino doesn’t seem like such a good filmmaker anymore. Recently at Cannes, he was lamenting the current state of the Italian film industry, which certainly didn’t make the Italians very happy at all. Quentin, don’t even say one word about Hong Kong, alright?

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