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The Golden Rock - June 25th, 2007 Edition

- In Hong Kong on Sunday, The Fantastic Four sequel ruled the box office for the second week in a row, making HK$1.07 million on 47 screens, bringing its 11-day total to HK$15.47 million, and already surpassing the gross of the first film. Patrick Leung/Chan Hing-Ka’s Simply Actors remained strong over the weekend, making HK$880,000 on 34 screens on Sunday for a 6-day total of HK$4.78 million. Milkyway Production’s Eye in the Sky rebounds with HK$530,000 on 29 screens for a current total of HK$1.96 million. Will it go away quickly like Mr. Cinema and Kidnap, or will it have a bit of legs?

Speaking of which, Mr. Cinema managed another HK$190,000 on 21 screens (many of whom are already limiting it to 2-3 shows a day) for a 11-day total of HK$2.59 million, while Kidnap, which is mostly on one-show-a-day basis already, made another HK$100,000 on 18 screens for the 11-day total of only HK$2.01 million, despite positive response from audiences. Another adult-oriented film, David Fincher’s Zodiac, made HK$250,000 on 11 screens for a 4-day total of HK$820,000. For a 158-minute serial killer film with no stars, I don’t expect this to pass the HK$2-million mark. The weekend’s third opener, the Hollywood comedy Wild Hogs, made only HK$90,000 on just 7 screen for a HK$270,000 4-day total.

- In South Korea, Ocean’s 13 wins in Seoul for a second week in a row, despite seeing 4 other movies on the top 10 with higher screen counts. However, the horror film Black House won the nationwide attendance count. Go over to Korea Pop Wars and check out the rest of the top 10.

- In Japanese audience rankings, Pirates of the Caribbean and Maiko Haaaan retain their top two spots this past weekend. Meanwhile, the period comedy The Haunted Samurai, starring Satoshi Tsumabuki, enters at number 3 (more on that later). Unsurprisingly, everything else falls by a spot.

Eiga Consultant looks at the end of Satoshi Tsumabuki’s box office streak with The Haunted Samurai. At 3rd place, it made only 120 million yen, which is 27% of Dororo (with Kou Shibasaki, 3.4 billion yen total), 31% of Tears for You (with Masami Nagasawa, 3.1 billion yen total), and 65% of Snowy Love Fallin’ in Spring (with Yuko Takeuchi, 1.27 billion yen total). Is this another proof that Japanese films these day can’t be completely reliant on only one star?

- A bulk of this season’s Japanese dramas wrapped up this past week (Here for all Spring 2007 drama information). Only Liar Game managed to end on a high note, scoring a season-high 13.6 rating for its 3-hour finale (about 8.83 million viewers), and ending with a 11.4 season average (about 7.5 million viewers). For a drama on an experimental time slot (11 pm Saturday night), Fuji is smiling happy. On the other hand, Sexy Voice and Robo ends weakly with only a 6.4 (4.15 million viewers) season-low rating, ending with a season average of 7.6 (4.93 million viewers). Another drama that ended with season-low rating is Fufudo, with saw a near-season high last week, only to end with a season low 12.4 rating (8.05 million) and a season average of 13.6 (8.83 million).

Of course, no drama comes close to Kadoku no Kake, which saw a freefall in viewership since week 7, starting from a 11.2 rating (7.27 million) for its premiere all the way down to a 4.5 (2.92 million)for its last episode, and a sad sad 7.0 rating (4.54 million)for its season average. Sequel Kui-Tan 2 ends its season with a solid 14.0 rating (9.09 million) for its finale, but ends weaker than the 17.4 average of the first series with only a 13.7 average (8.89 million). Still, it’s good enough to be the season’s third-highest rated drama. Lastly, the Yuji Oda disappointment Joudan Janai! ends on a somewhat positive note, with the final episode’s rating rising to a tepid 12.7 (8.24 million) for a season average of 13.4 (8.7 million). Will Yuji Oda recover from this? Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, Operation Love (Proposal Daisakusen) drops a little bit for its second-to-last episode with a 17.2 rating (11.16 million), though it’s expected to rise for its last episode Monday night Japan time. Also wrapping up this coming week is Bambino, which has seen a consistent increase in ratings since week 7. But this season’s clear winner is Proposal Daisakusen.

- Meanwhile, Tokyograph already has a set of introductions for the busy summer drama season. Nothing has caught my eye yet, though. Will it be a repeat of Spring 2007?

- The major industry papers in Hollywood have their reviews of Live Free or Die Hard (Die Hard 4.0 is my preferred title), and it’s mostly positive. Hollywood Reporter’s Kirk Honeycutt praises it for using real movie magic and stunkwork over cgi. Meanwhile, Variety’s Todd McCarthy calls it a virtual action cartoon…in a good way.

- Filmbrain takes a look at Yoichi Sai’s Blood And Bones, which I liked for Takeshi Kitano’s hard-ass performance as the utterly unlikable main character. However, I do agree with the notion that the film got a little episodic, just stringing episodes of Kim Shunpei’s reign of terror.

- The blog for Benny Chan’s Invisible Target has launched, but it’s in Chinese. Apparently (I haven’t looked at the videos other than the trailer yet) it has a lot of making-of video, one of which includes Jackie Chan’s visit to the set.

- The Shanghai International Film Festival has wrapped up, with German film According to Plan taking the top prize (meaning it’s headed straight for release in China without the import quota blocking its way) and best actress (shared amongst 4 of them). The Go Master won the best director prize for Tian Zhuangzhuang and best cinematography for Wang Yu. The complete list, as well as a wrap-up of the end of the festival, from Variety Asia.

Also at the Shanghai Film Festival, 7 potential filmmakers were given the chance to pitch their projects to major investors and filmmakers, which apparently intimidated some of them (I can’t even pitch my scripts to my own family, let along a sea of major industry people).

- According to a producer on Kill Bill, Quentin Tarantino might add additional installments to the series, and the ideas just don’t seem interesting enough to warrant another film, let alone two of them. Because, let’s face it:

SPOILERS

You can’t really continue a franchise named Kill Bill when Bill is dead.

END SPOILERS

- TV Asahi is remaking the Kurosawa film “Tengoku to Jigoku” (which, as the resident Bayside Shakedown expert, I have to point out was also referenced in Bayside Shakedown the Movie) as a mini-series for the fall. Yasuo Tsuruhashi, who last made a hit out of the film Love Never to end, is directing.

- After one lawsuit goes away for Rain, another one comes, as a promoter in Hawaii is taking him to court after he can’t seem to accept the excuse that Rain had to cancel his concert there because he was getting sued. Since when the hell do people use “flimsy” in lawsuits anyway?

- I like the new American TV drama Heroes quite a bit. The season finale had its problems (mostly I’m guessing is of budgetary concerns), but it’s promising quite a bit, including an entire character subplot taking place in feudal Japan. Japanese pop star Eriko Tamura (who was a pop star long ago in Japan…though she still looks very young) is joining the cast (I’m hoping as audience favorite Hiro’s love interest), but David Anders is playing Takezo Kensei….?!!!! Apparently the creators have a good explanation, but it better be a damn good one.

Man, this entry took forever to do. But we’ll be back tomorrow to do it all again.

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