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The Golden Rock - July 10th, 2007 Edition

Seems like I accidentally used this title for yesterday’s Song of the Day, my apologies.

- The Japan box office numbers are out on Box Office Mojo….kind of. They have a bunch of numbers and percentages, but I’m guessing that because not all the distributors delivered their numbers, so the rankings are somewhat incomplete. The only conclusions I can make out is that 1) No film took a real big hit. Not even Pirates of the Caribbean, which just would. not. go. away. and 2) Confession of Pain preformed pretty disappointingly, despite the presence of Takeshi Kaneshiro. Is he just not that popular in Japan?

On the arthouse side, the Finnish film Lights in the Dark by Aki Kurismaki. The only reasons I’m writing about the performance of this film are 1) it actually looks really interesting, and 2) The advertising suggests that director Kurismaki has some kind of small following in Japan. Anyway, the 2006 Cannes contender opened in one small theatre in Shibuya on the 7th, and attracted 703 admissions for an even 1 million yen gross on the opening day. With a capacity of 145 and 5 shows a day, that means each show had an average capacity of 97%, which is pretty damn good.

- Lovehkfilm has a couple of new reviews - The Milkyway “Handover commemoration” comedy-drama Hooked On You, the Barbara Wong-directed official “Handover film” Wonder Women, plus a review of A Ball Shot By a Midget (don’t let the name turn you off, it’s really pretty good) and Resurrection of Golden Wolf by yours truly.

- MTV and EMI asks all Asian songwriters and aspiring directors: “Are you proud to be Chinese?” I certainly hope this song isn’t the winner.

- Despite bad word-of-mouth pretty much anywhere it played, Studio Ghibli’s Tales From Earthsea managed to sell 147,000 copies the first week and is the best first-week sales of any animated DVD this year.

- After Tokyo International Film Festival found a new programmer, the AFI festival in Los Angeles found themselves a new artistic director too.

- Even though it’s easy to attack the Hong Kong print media for spending most of their pages on celebrity gossips, you can actually find some little pieces of news that matter. For example, while this report is about Hong Kong stars Gigi Leung and Lau Ching-Wan having to lose weight for their respective upcoming film roles, you also learn that Wai Ka-Fai is making a new movie starring Lau as a blind man this August.

- The hit drama Nodame Cantabile is coming back for a two-part drama special in January. Next stop: the movie? For those people in Hong Kong that hasn’t downloaded it yet (I’m sure there are a few of you out there), this will be showing on TVB in August.

- TV Tokyo is under fire for biased reporting of the upcoming elections for the House of Councilors. News agenda exists, but I doubt that TV Tokyo is the only TV station that has it.

- Hollywood continues their formulaic filmmaking by finding ways to either continuing franchises or starting new ones. I swear, I’ll never watch another Harry Potter film if they manage to just make one up out of thin air.

- MK Pictures, most well-known for producing Korean director Kang Je-Gyu’s Shiri and Taegukgi (if you know Korean films, you should know these films anyway), has been bought up by cable TV. One of the people who sold his shares? Kang Je-Gyu.

- The promotion for Wilson Yip’s Flash Point has started in Hong Kong, and is it quite possible that they’re centering the promotion on Louis Koo? No way, Donnie Yen’s bus is probably right behind it, probably with a larger close-up too.

- I totally missed it when it got reported on Tokyograph, but the troubled Yubari Film Festival is finally coming back in March.

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