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Archive for June 12th, 2007

The Golden Rock song of the day - 6/12/07

I heard today’s song of the day while listening to a Hong Kong radio program at the gym. I honestly have no idea why I chose it, I just thought it’s kind of cute, despite it’s some guy trying to seduce a younger girl. From the soundtrack and the film The Sound of Music, it’s “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.”

Since it’s kind of a joke song, I might as well present the creepiest version that exists.

…..OK, here’s the real version

The Golden Rock - June 12th, 2007 Edition

- The somewhat incomplete Japanese box office numbers are in. I say incomplete because either Kantoku Banzai has fallen below 15th place, or Office Kitano has flat out decided not to report its grosses anymore, and the opening weekend of 300 is not as spectacular as the numbers report. Box Office Mojo reports that 300 made about US$3.4 million, or 415 million yen. But the total indicates that it included the previous week’s previews into its total gross, which means that as Eiga Consultant reports, 300 made 330 million yen, or roughly US$2.71 million with a per-screen average of US$5,995. Of course, that still makes a very impressive opening, and it’s still 209% of Sin City’s opening, but it’s still overshadowed by Pirates of the Caribbean.

Unlike most of the world, Pirates is actually enjoying a very healthy long-term run, dropping just 20% from the previous week for another 941 million yen. After three weekends, Pirates has already made almost 6.2 billion yen, and will pass Spiderman 3’s gross mid-week. Still, Spidey 3 has already surpassed the previous movie’s gross, and as indicated by its slow 25-30% drop, it should end up making just a little more than the first film, too.

Everywhere else on the top 10 looks pretty stable, with only the Hollywood flick Shooter seeing a considerable drop. Even Dai Nipponjin survived its lackluster word-of-mouth, losing only about 28% of its business (Knocked Up lost more than that in its second weekend, and it’s an audience favorite). In a one-theater limited release, Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto made a promising 1.8 million yen. It’ll go on wide release this coming weekend. NOTE: It will not feature English subtitles.

- Speaking of Pirates of the Caribbean, the notorious Chinese censors have approved the third film to play in Chinese theaters. However, they banned the first two movies (which are kind of crucial to understand the third one, no?), and they cut out half of Chow Yun-Fat’s scenes. Now people are not only utterly confused, they even lost much of the their main reason for buying a ticket to watch it in theaters. Disney is wasting their money, this one is pretty likely to flop in China.

- In Thailand, director Pen-ek Ratanaruang’s Ploy opened only modestly. However, its first weekend gross has already surpassed the total domestic gross of his last film, Invisible Waves. For a filmmaker associated with the words “arthouse cinema,” I would say that’s pretty good.

- I have honestly seen very few Japanese films that actually have original screenplays. Many of them are adapted from novels (so much that I took a whole class of Japanese films adapted from novels), comics, video games, or continuation of TV dramas. Then again, a bulk of Hollywood films is made the same way. However, Ryuganji points out that it’s getting a little out of hand these days in Japan.

- Elizabeth Banks has signed on to play the young stepmother role in the American remake of A Tale of Two Sisters. I liked her in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, but like all American remakes of Asian films, I remain very very skeptical about this.

- China is getting ready to fight back at the United States after they filed two cases against China with the World Trade Organization. However, with the complaint, China is now less likely to open up its film market any quicker just to get on Hollywood’s nerves.

On the other hand, the EU is warning that it will “go to trade war” with China if they don’t improve cracking down on piracy. Who needs who more these days anyway? You try stopping a billion people from making pirated versions of your overpriced goods.

- Meanwhile, Hong Kong seems to have a thing or two to complain about Japan too. TV Asahi showed its made-for-TV biopic of Asian superstar Teresa Tang on June 2nd, which was shown simultaneously in Hong Kong as well. Since Tang did spend a huge chunk of her career in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong press would naturally put how the Japanese portray Hong Kong under a lot of scrutiny. As a result, Ming Pao had a field day pointing out how much the show screwed up:

1) The movie starts in 1973, when a Japanese talent manager discovered Tang in Hong Kong still under British colonial rule. Yet, the Hong Kong Special Administraive Region flag was seen at the location, instead of the colonial flag.
2) In the scenes that take place during the 80s, the Bank of China Tower (built in 1989) and the International Finance Center (built in 2003) were seen in the background from the Peak.
3) The Murray House was not restored in Stanley, where Tang lived, until 1998. However, it appeared in the film’s 80s scenes as well.

There are a bunch of other nitpicks in that report as well. While I can’t blame Ming Pao for nitpicking (”ha ha! Japanese TV crews suck just as much!”), TV Asahi just didn’t have the money to reproduce all these historical locations with cgi. Plus, it’s not like Hong Kong productions are very good at conveying foreign locations either.

- Disney has signed a deal with an Indian studio to produce several computer-animated features aimed for the region. No word on whether Disney will ever plan to release these films outside the region.

- Ryuganji also has news on upcoming and ongoing projects from Miki Satoshi, all of them starring Joe Odagiri. He also adds on another upcoming Odagiri project as well. It’s all a little complicated, you should go read it yourself, since Joe Odagiri may soon be the male version of Erika Sawajiri. These Japanese stars just never rest.

- Andy Lau really is the hardest working man in Chinese entertainment: When he’s done filming Daniel Lee’s historical epic this month, he’ll do a cameo for a Focus Films production that he’s investing in, then an album and concert tour. All by the end of the year.

- Considering that the film will be entirely in English, it’s so surprise that there’s an English website up for Takeshi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django. However, the trailer remains on the original website, so just go to Twitch instead of getting confused.

Jason Gray also reports that Quentin Tarantino showed up in Japan at the end of the shoot to film his cameo, which would explain why he was not in the trailer and why he showed up at the wrap-up ceremony.

- Do we really need an Asian version of Oprah? Apparently someone thought so.

- Lastly, Tokyograph left a comment yesterday with more about Tea Fight, starring Erika Toda. They had this to say:

“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.”

I can’t seem to find the name through various variations on that name either. But still, that’s more than helpful. Thanks!

 
 
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