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and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
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The Golden Rock - June 21st, 2007 Edition

I’ve been experimenting with a new look for The Golden Rock, and it’s still not quite easy enough on the eye yet, so pardon the mess.

- The American Film Institute, in their holier-than-thou glory, updated their 100 best films list after they made their first list 10 years ago. Since then, a few films were added (The General! Shawshank Redemption!), which means that a few films dropped out as well. In a further attempt to undo any credibility I have built, I admit now that I have only seen 35 of those 100 films.

- David Fincher’s Zodiac opened in Japan this past weekend. While Fincher’s past films has mostly done well, this is his first film in Japan without any major bankable star, and the effect showed. Its opening of 80.85 million yen is only 26% of Panic Room, which grossed 2.5 billion yen in Japan. However, Zodiac’s opening is 141% of Jake Gyllenhaal’s previous film Jarhead. Other Fincher films have done fairly well in Japan - Seven made 2.65 billion yen, The Game made only 980 million yen, and Fight Club made 1.98 billion yen. Looks like Fincher isn’t as big as a commercial draw as studios might’ve believed.

- Korea Pop Wars has a small write-up of the Korean box office this past weekend. Ocean’s 13 barely dethroned Shrek 3 (though that’s a matter of screen counts - it only opened on 249 screens), while the blockbuster suffered pretty big drops. Two Japanese films (Kiroi Namida and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) made it to the top 10 too.

- One of those quickly falling blockbuster is the historical epic Hwang Jin-Yi. However, it has made back most of its budget in domestic box office, and Pony Canyon in Japan just bought it up, despite the weak market for Korean historical dramas.

- Apparently your good-old 2-dimensional movie experiences are no longer good enough, as 3-D screens are expanding worldwide. Even Hong Kong has a 4-D screen now, though they decided to put it at the airport for some odd reason.

- In addition to possible co-production opportunities with Japan, China Film has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Korea’s CJ Entertainment, which will lead to at least two co-productions. How huge are CJ Entertainment? I have CJ brand rice at home. No kidding.

- The Tokyo Project Gathering, a meeting that will hook up future productions with international co-production partners, is upping their goal for submissions (but they’re looking for more novel adaptations and remakes, ugh), so apply if you got a few million bucks to spare and a really good screenplay. I have neither, so I’ll just have to miss out on it.

- China has seen its revenues from films, radio, and TV go up 18% in 2006. Now they’ll just have to start letting artists do what they want.

- Business Week offers a possible way to fix the Chinese piracy situation: It’s the prices, stupid.

- Meanwhile, Sony CEO Howard Stringer is saying that Sony is learning from its past mistakes and is on its way to profitable growth. Too bad it’s coming too late for the Minidisc (which I still faithfully use, despite the hate-inspiring ATRAC format).

- a Hong Kong blogger writes how TVB can learn to embrace Youtube instead of treating like the friend of its enemies, aka illegal downloaders. Like I said, I wouldn’t mind watching advertisements for free access to programs that were originally broadcast for free in the first place.

- Yoshimoto Kyogo, one of Japan’s premier managing agencies for comedians, has established a project to get 100 (!!!!) of its comedians to direct their own short films. This just goes to show that anyone can make a movie. However, their quality is highly doubtful at this point.

- Twitch has more information about Sky Crawlers, the new film from Mamori Oshii that I wrote about yesterday with very little enthusiasm. I shall continue that today.

- I really really liked the Panasian omnibus film About Love, which put together somewhat intertwined stories with directors from Taiwan, China, and Japan. The director of the Chinese segment, Zhang Yibai, goes back to the Japanese-Chinese romance formula of his segment with his new film The Longest Night in Shanghai. Filmphilia has more information and link to a trailer.

- Kanye West (coughamericanrapsbiggesthackcough) filmed his latest MTV in Japan and even claimed to feature a real motorcycle gang. Of course, whoever was in charge of making that Japanese title screwed up (Instead of “Sutoronga,” which would read like “Stronger,” the title right now reads “Sutosoga” because the katakana for the sound “so” looks similar to the sound “n”). It doesn’t help that Kanye pretty much wrote the song like a nursery rhyme.

- New York Asian Film Festival starts tomorrow, and Asian Cinema - While on the Road is, of course, doing some self-promotion. Hell, even this counts as promotion.

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