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The Golden Rock - July 9th, 2007 Edition

- In the Sunday box office numbers from Hong Kong, Hollywood films split the box office booty as Die Hard 4.0 wins the day with HK$1.64 million on 51 screens for a so-called “4-day total” (it already had a week of previews) of HK$11.46 million. Not far behind is Shrek 3, which played on the same amount of screens and made another HK$1.59 million for a 11-day total of HK$17.25 million. Farther behind is the handover commemoration film from Milkyway Hooked on You, which is still going relatively strong by making HK$600,000 on 30 screens for a per-screen average of HK$20,000. After 11 days, the Miriam Yeung/Eason Chan starrer has made HK$7.1 million, and might even cross the champagne-worthy HK$10 million mark.

Meanwhile, this week’s Hong Kong opener Wonder Women, which opened on a lackluster 12 screens, bounced back a little bit from its soft opening to make HK$210,000 for a 4-day total of HK$660,000. Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse segment Planet Terror made only HK$180,000 on 15 screens for a 4-day total of HK$840,000. This would probably be because of the subject matter and the category-III rating (no one under 18 admitted). On its 20th day of release, Hong Kong comedy Simply Actors made HK$140,000 on 20 screens for a HK$9.13 million average. It’s not very likely this will pass the HK$10 million mark. Lastly, Julie Delpy’s Two Days in Paris continues to play strongly on its 4-screen limited release, making HK$70,000 for an 11-day total of HK$70,000.

US$1=HK$7.8

This week, the Harry Potter movie opens in Hong Kong, which pushes everything out of the way. This one is especially big because it’ll be the first major IMAX film to play in Hong Kong’ spanking-new IMAX theater, and lines for advanced tickets have already gotten quite huge.

- In South Korea, Transformers remained very very strong, losing only 2% in total market shares this past weekend. It’s also looking to break the attendance record for a foreign film, which was set by the final Lord of the Rings film at 6 million (Tranformers has already hit 4.2 mil). For how everything else is doing, check out Korea Pop Wars.

Meanwhile, Hollywood Reporter beats a dead horse on the declining local film industry in Korea.

- In Japan audience rankings, just about every film stays where they are, except for the entry of Dolphin Blue starring Kenichi Matsuyama at number 7 and Andrew Lau/Alan Mak’s Confession of Pain at only number 8. More numbers tomorrow from Box Office Mojo.

- In Japan drama ratings (yes, a majority of the Summer 2007 season has started), Fuji’s comic adaptation Hana Gi Kari No Kimi Tachi He (which, like Hana Yori Dango, was first made into a successful live-action drama in Taiwan) started ok with a 15.9 rating (roughly 10.3 million viewers). That’s lower than the premiere for TBS’ Hana Yori Dango, which opened with an 18.3 rating back in fall 2005. TBS’ Jigoku No Sata Mo Yome Shitai, which sounds eerily similar to the TV Asahi drama Erai Tokoro Ni Toide Shimatta, premiered with only a 13.7 rating (roughly 8.9 million viewers) up directly against TV Asahi’s third installment of Kikujiro to Saki (based on Takeshi Kitano’s childhood), which premiered with an even weaker 10.9 rating (roughly 7.1 million viewers).

By request, the Misaki Ito/Kyoko Fukada Fuji Thursday drama Yama Onna Kabe Onna does OK with a 14.1 premiere (Last season drama in that time slot, Watashi Tachi No Kyokasho, premiered with a 14.2 rating), scoring roughly 9.2 million viewers. At the same time slot is TBS’ Katagoshi No Koibito, which premiered with a 10.2 rating (roughly 6.6 million viewers, which is even lower than last season’s ratings poison Kodoku no Kake). The highest-rated debut this season so far is TBS’ Yamada Taro Monogatari, which stars two members of Arashi and takes up the old Hana Yori Dango timeslot. It premiered with a 17.4 rating (roughly 11.3 million viewers). The two dramas that are already in their second weeks , Fuji’s Life (their second in the successful Saturday 11pm time slot) and Papa To Musume No Nanakakan, are both holding up well. Life actually saw an increase in viewership, going from the premiere’s 11.0 rating to this past week’s 11.7 rating (roughly 7.6 million viewers). However, it’s still performing weaker than last season’s surprise hit Liar Game. On the other hand, Papa To Musume No Nanakakan, which was praised by the Daily Yomiuri this past weekend, saw only a small drop from 14.0 to 12.8 (roughly 8.3 million viewers) for its second episode.

Whew. I’m covering less drama ratings next week. Just leave a comment if you want me to cover a specific drama.

All Summer 2007 drama information here.

- According to the Hong Kong Film Blog, Derek Kwok’s The Pye-Dog, which was supposed to be released back in May, is now eyeing a September release date. However, someone in the comment section writes that it might even be looking at November. The mystery continues.

- In my continuing love for the Japanese government advisory panel that is encouraging wider distribution of Japanese entertainment, they have asked DVD recorder manufacturers to allow the limit for copying programs on DVDs be increased to nine from the current one. In other words, if you recorded something from a digital broadcast, you can only copy it onto a DVD once. Now, that limit is being upped to nine, in case the user fails to burn it completely. This is already after a compromise by the panel, who initially ordered that limit be removed.

- Twitch has a full trailer for Kenneth Bi’s The Drummer. Considering I didn’t like Rice Rhapsody very much, this film is actually looking very promising ever since I started following its production on Bi’s blog.

- Although the launch of the reinvented Bangkok International Film Festival has been a little bumpy, the Bangkok Film Market is going very well, with all the booths on the market floor already taken.

- Jay Chou’s directorial debut Secrets isn’t coming out until the end of this month, so I can’t say whether this is good news or bad news. But apparently Jay found the experience rewarding enough for him to say that he prefers directing over acting. Then again, someone with an ego like Chou probably can’t resist acting in his own films anyway.

- The New York Asian Film Festival (who I named one of the winners of the week in the Podcast) has ended, and Memories of Matsuko ended up taking the audience award!

- Twitch has a review of Invisible City, the Singaporean documentary that I wrote about two weeks ago.

- Lastly, my feature article about Hong Kong filmmakers that emerged in the last ten years is up. My most sincere thanks (and apologies) to the Yesasia editorial team for their work to get it to its current form.

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