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The Golden Rock - July 2nd, 2007 Edition

Hong Kong was on public holiday Monday, which means no weekend box office figure until later tonight Pacific Time (Tuesday in HK) or even tomorrow night.

- On the other hand, the Japanese box office numbers are already out, and Box Office Mojo already has the comprehensive chart. Die Hard 4.0 takes the top spot with a strong 603 million yen from 741 screens. Adding the Saturday’s preview screenings’ take of 289 million yen, it has already made 892 million yen to date. However, its 814,000 yen per-screen average is kind of weak for an opening this wide (Spiderman 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean saw higher per-screen average on even higher screen counts). Meanwhile, Shrek 3 opens at third, making 363.8 million yen on 543 screens, which is much higher than Shrek 2’s opening of 284.8 million yen on 551 screens in 2004. If the performance pattern is similar to Shrek 2, this one should end up doing better than the previous film by about 25%.

Except for The Haunted Samurai, Maiko Haaaan!!!, and Pirates of the Caribbean, everything else took a pretty big hit, especially Spiderman 3’s 52.2% hit, Zodiac’s 40.1% hit, and Dai Nipponjin’s 43% drop (at least it passed the 1 billion yen mark). Lastly, Pedro Almodovar’s Volver missed the top 10 because it’s only playing on 40 screens. It only make 19 million yen.

- By the way, I forgot to report that the Akihi To Kamo No Coin Locker opening in Tokyo also marked the best opening for a Japanese film at that theater after last year’s Mamiya Brothers, and is the 7th best opening ever at the theater.

- After the financial failure of Ichikawa Kon’s self-remake of The Inugami Family earlier in the year, director Nobuhiko Oobayashi’s self-remake of his 1982 film Exchange Students also failed in its limited release. Originally the first part of the “Onomichi Trilogy” (the director’s hometown), the remake, named Tenkousei - Sayonara Anata, takes the film out of its original location to Nagano. On 30 screens, the film made only 5 million yen with only a 166,666 yen per-screen average. Perhaps these self-remakes aren’t very good ideas.

- Meanwhile, Kiroi Namida, the Isshin Inusou film starring Johnny’s boy group Arashi, opened in South Korea to a seemingly weak 16,000 admissions, only because it’s compared to Memories of Tomorrow’s 38,000 admissions and Tears For You’s 64,000 admissions for their respective opening weekends. However, there’s nothing about how many screens it opened on, considering that the film is considered less mainstream than its counterparts in Japan. However, Eiga Consultant also points out that the film actually didn’t even do all that well in Japan. While the film has finally broke the 200 million yen barrier, other films starring individual members of Arashi (such as Letters From Iwo Jima and Honey and Clover) has actually done much better.

- It’s kind of been reported before, but Pirates of the Caribbean has officially surpassed Spiderman 3 in worldwide gross. I’m reporting this because a bulk of that cash comes from Asia.

- Get it here first, the first full-length trailer for Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, starring Tony Leung, Joan Chen, Leehom Wang, and newcomer Tang Wei, is everywhere on Youtube. A Chinese neonoir/political thriller? Sign me up.

Speaking of trailer, the full-length trailer for Paul Greengrass’ The Bourne Ultimatum is up, and it’s looking good. Could this deliver even better old-school movie magic action than Live Free or Die Hard? (HD links can be found at Dave’s Trailer Page)

- Since Shinya Tsukamoto’s Nightmare Detective was recently announced to be in production, I should probably link the latest review for the first film here.

- Lovehkfilm has updated with some reviews. First, Derek Kwok’s directorial debut The Pye-Dog with Eason Chan, then a review for Herman Yau’s direct-to-video film A True Mob Story (also his third release this year), and one for the Japanese heist/romance/true story First Love.

OK, there’s also one for sleazy low-budget exploitation flick Lethal Angels.

- Jason Gray has more about the Japanese documentary Campaign, including his interview with the director on The Midnight Eye and news of nightly English-subtitled screenings.

- Eason Chan and Miriam Yeung win big at the 7th Chinese Music Media Awards in Hong Kong. I’ve never even heard of this award in the first place, let alone the winners for the first 6 ceremonies.

- Naked News, the show where reporters literally remove pieces of clothing while reporting the latest news, is on an adult-oriented channel in Japan. Guess what? It’s also subsidized by the government.

- Variety has a review of the action film Dynamite Warrior, which Michael Wells wrote about after it screened at the New York Asian Film Festival.

- Associated Press, via the Daily Yomiuri, reports further about the death of master filmmaker Edward Yang.

- A while ago I reported about yet another censorship case involving Hong Kong’s Television and Entertainment Licensing Council. An essay in Hong Kong’s inMediaHK site included a picture from Flickr with nudity, prompting a warning from TELA that it might be sent to be classified as a category II indecent material. However, the writer refuses to budge (the irony is that the essay is actually about this Hong Kong witch-hunt of “indecent” material by conservative groups), and a month later, the essay has been classified as category II material, with the writer now at risk to pay fines and serve jail time.

Now, EastSouthWestNorth has translated the latest interview with the writer, who still refuses to give in to the ridiculous and ineffective censorship this government council is doing.

- Reuters introduces the Singaporean documentary Invisible City, featuring footages of a forgotten Singapore from the 1950s.

- Universal Music, one of the few record companies that is actually uploading their own artists’ music videos onto Youtube voluntarily, is refusing to draw a long-term licensing deal with Apple’s iTunes, which takes up 70% of the digital music market, because they pretty much want more money. According to Hongkie Town, Universal Music feels that iTunes isn’t charging enough for songs and is looking for another provider that would make them more money. And corporations wonder why people don’t like giving money to them.

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