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The Golden Rock - June 11th, 2007 Edition

Brace yourselves, this is going to be a long entry to read and an even longer entry for me to write:

- As expected, Ocean’s Thirteen led the pack on Sunday box office in Hong Kong. On 59 screens (still a fairly high number), Ocean’s Thirteen made HK$1.57 million for a current 4-day total of HK$5.41 million, which puts it just slightly ahead of Ocean’s Twelve, even though Twelve opened only 44 screens. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End slows down by just a bit with HK$1.02 million on 51 screens (a HK$20,000 per-screen average for a film in its third weekend is pretty good in my book) for a 18-day total of HK$38.33 million. It probably won’t hit Spiderman 3’s current gross of HK$54.94 million, but it’ll pass the HK$40 million mark pretty easily.

Meanwhile, Norbits makes a better-than-expected HK$360,000 on 16 screens to get a 4-day total of HK$1.18 million (I guess I was wrong about that), Japanese sports film Rough made only HK$30,000 on 7 screens for a very weak 4-day total of HK$140,000; and British film Cashback continues to be strong in limited release with another HK$60,000 on just 2 screens for an 11-day total of HK$510,000;

- In Japan, the attendance ranking shows Pirates taking the weekend again as 300 opens at second place and the Prestige opens at 5th. Dai Nipponjin also continues strong at 3rd place, as Kantoku Banzai has fallen off the top 10 already. Number crunching to come tomorrow.

On the other hand, Eiga Consultant reports that two limited releases have done quite well in Tokyo. Notes on a Scandal, starring Cate Blanchett and Dame Judi Dench, opened in two theaters on June 2nd and saw 2006 admissions for a 2.78 million yen opening. With nine shows that day for two theaters combined, that’s an average of 223 people per showing, which would be impossible in one theater and a full house in the other (not sure if these theaters offer standing room, which some Tokyo theaters do). Apparently, good word-of-mouth is spreading as it expanded this weekend, though it seems like it didn’t make it into the top 10.

The other movie is Sydney Pollack’s documentary Sketches of Frank Gehry. At one theater in Shibuya, the opening day saw 1500 admissions for 2.32 million yen and full houses of mostly design freaks and art students. However, it seems like attendance has died down, as the theater recommends that getting there 10-30 minutes before the show is fine now.

- In South Korea, Shrek 3 came in and took care of business by opening with 1.6 million admissions since Wednesday, which is a pretty damn good opening by any count. Hwang Jin-Yi isn’t doing so well with just roughly 700,000 admissions since Wednesday. Pirates took another pretty big tumble with only 75,000 admissions in Seoul, although it might end up doing better than Spiderman 3, which only saw 600 admissions in Seoul this week. You can see the rest of the top 10 yourself.

Oh, and Mark Russell went and watched Michael Bay’s “Best Summer Movie You Haven’t Seen Yet” Transformers (By the way, MTV is owned by Viacom. Transformers home studio is Paramount. Also owned by Viacom. See the coincidence?) and he can’t say anything yet, except that he liked it.

- This past week in Japanese TV dramas (see here for all drama introductions), we see the audience favorite Kaette Kita Jikou Keisatsu wrapped up to its highest rating of 13.5, Proposal Daisakusen (or Operation Love) saw its biggest ratings hike from 14.6 in the past week to 19.1 for its 8th episode, nearing the season high of 19.3. It remains the season’s highest-rated drama with an average of 16.8, and will likely to keep its place unless some type of divine intervention comes in. Joudan Janai also continues its slow climb back to respectability with a 12.8 rating, while Sexy Voice and Robo finds another new low with a 6.4 rating as it nears its end within these two weeks. Liar Game, Bambino, and Hotelier also see rebounds this week, as the weakest spring season in years begin to come to a close.

- Erika Toda, currently starring in Liar Game, has been casted in Tea Fight, a Japanese-Taiwanese co-production scheduled to shoot late this year mostly in Taiwan. Not much details on the film (not even director), but I can imagine the film would include tea and/or fighting.

- Apparently Bollywood has so many movies that they needed six hours to pass out all of its awards. The youth film Rang de Basanti, which is seeing its shorter cut released soon, won ten of the 15 cetegories, including best film.

- My favorite Japanese band is probably Love Psychedelico, especially after I saw them in concert back in 2005. At the end of June, they’re finally getting their own “Bokura No Ongaku” special. Considering their 60s Hippie rock influence, I’m not at all surprised that they would invite Yoko Ono. I’m just surprised that she actually agreed.

- Hong Kong’s Big Media Group, which announced its opening during the Hong Kong International Film Festival back in March, has unveiled its initial slate of films. They include mid-budget films by Wilson Yip, Wong Ching-Po, Joe ma, Jingle Ma (no relations), anc Vincent Kok, among others. Their only big-budget production so far is “Another Better Tomorrow, which will not be a remake and is trying to cast both Hong Kong and Korean stars. Except for the whole “Another Better Tomorrow” thing, I really like that they’re trying to do mid-budget productions with new talents, boasting production values instead.

- Still, looks like America thinks it has a thing or two to teach Hong Kong. Actually, I would like to sit in one of these things.

- Twitch laments for Isao Yukisada’s career, although I still think his comparatively subdued handling of a melodrama like Crying Out For Love in the Center of the World is top-notch commercial filmmaking (OK, it’s a little long, but a lot of Japanese films are). Oh, they also have a link to the trailer of his latest film, which seems like a children’s melodrama about building something for space.

- Jason Gray offers his own take on the Matsumoto-vs-Kitano comedian battle after seeing both Kantoku Banzai and Dai Nipponjin. The latter still sounds like quite a film.

- Meanwhile, Hollywood Reporter has finally chimed in with a review of Naomi Kawase’s The Mourning Forest, calling it a slow-moving film that might have worked better as a 30-minute short.

- I’m only reporting this because I know some people that like the Japanese pop collective (it’s too large to just be called a group) AAA. One of its member, Yukari Goto, is leaving the group due to health reasons, and will leave the pop collective with “only” seven members.

- The Shanghai Television is getting underway today, followed by the film festival, and this is the first year that the Shanghai Television Festival is operating on its own, before the actual film festival commences. On the other hand, the film festival will run its first SIFF market, which should do fairly well with the increasing reputation of Chinese films today.

- This is a strange and even somewhat contrived way of marketing a film - Saiyuki, the Japanese bastardiz….re-imagination of the famous Chinese tale Journey to the West, is promoting its film version with a fake cast, including another SMAP member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and pop star Koda Kumi, on its poster.

- Ratings for Japanese animations is dropping overall due to a decreasing number of children, more extracurricular activities, more Wii playing (which is better exercise than watch cartoon anyway), and other reasons that seem to have nothing to do with quality.

- Since I already started following it, I might as well keep reporting it. Netizens in Hong Kong have found a new way to attack Hong Kong’s Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority - by complaining about a porn hyperlink seen on a government website.

- After proving to be a talented actress, Yu Aoi has a chance to prove her worth as a voice actress as the lead in a new high-budget animation special for Fuji Television.

- Twitch has the link to the full trailer for The Insects Unlisted in the Encyclopedia, Rinko Kikuchi’s first Japanese film after her Oscar-nominated performance in Babel. It looks weird.

- After winning the week at the Oricon singles chart last week, L’Arc~en~Ciel announces that they will release one single each month for five months starting August, as well as a new album and a concert DVD.

One Response to “The Golden Rock - June 11th, 2007 Edition”

  1. Tokyograph Says:

    About “Tea Fight” - there actually is a director named, but I know nothing about Taiwanese or Chinese names. The Japanese form is ワン・イェミン, which seems to be something like Wang Ye-Ming, but the closest I could find is an actor. The article says the person was an assistant director for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” but none of the credits I could find (imdb or elsewhere) match the name.

    Here’s what another article said about the story (roughly): “The father runs an old tea shop, and he closes shop after his wife dies from what he believes to be a ‘tea curse.’ Through the internet, the daughter finds out about a legendary tea and travels to Taiwan in search of it. The father then follows her, concerned that it may be a trap by Taiwanese tea-makers.” There’s also mention of Taiwanese mafia being involved in the story somehow.

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