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The Golden Rock - July 11th, 2007 Edition

You know the procedure for Wednesdays - it’s the Oricon charts!

- We’ll first look at the monthly rankings for June. On the singles chart, it’s no surprise that Kat-tun’s latest won, but I’m a little surprised that it won by such a large margin. Released on June 6th, the single sold 332,000 copies within the month of June, despite the song sucking quite hard. Meanwhile, the only two songs that are not new releases on the top ten are Keisuke Kuwata’s Ashita Hareru Kana and new band GReeeeN’s Ai Uta, both of which saw rising sales from the previous month.

Meanwhile, the competition on the album charts is a little closer, as Mariya Takeuchi’s latest album sold 357,000 copies in the month of June after being released on May 23rd. Not too far behind is Johnny’s Entertainment’s Kanjani, who sold 226,000 copies of their latest after it was released on June 6th. Zard’s last compilation album “Golden Best” sold an additional 155,000 copies due to the untimely death of singer Izumi Sakai. Sad for J-pop, 4 of the albums on the top 10 are American albums from Linkin Park, Avril Lavinge, Maroon 5, and Ne-Yo, respectively.

On to the weekly charts. On the singles side, Erika Sawajiri’s first single as herself debuted at the top spot, but with a fairly weak sales figure of 50,000 copies. Sawajiri is now the first female artist to have her first two singles debut at number 1 since Hiroko Yakushimaru became the first female artist to do it in the early 80s. Not very far behind is the much-touted new single from young artist Ayaka, who just announced she will hold a concert at the famous Budokan in December. Despite all the hoopla surrounding the song’s release, it only sold 38,600 copies in its first week. Still, I actually like the song quite a bit. Meanwhile, high-pitch boy band w-inds’ new single, which is apparently the Japanese theme for Shrek the Third, only mustered a 4th place debut after selling 28,7000 copies. As for returning singles, Koda Kumi’s latest lost about 67% of its first-week sales with only 35,000 copies sold this week, and Ketsumeishi’s latest suffered similar damage with their latest single as well. If daily rankings hold up (and they usually do), then the new single by a collaboration known as the Golden Circle should win the week with very weak sales.

As for the album chart this week, Namie Amuro’s latest also suffered a 64% drop in sales, selling only 90,500 copies despite staying at the top spot. In comparison, GReeeeN’s debut album lost only roughly 35% in sales for their second week, selling 85,700 copies at a close second place. Meanwhile, Zard’s Golden Best sells another 32,200 copies, while R&B/ballad pop act Melody, who I’ll always know as the girl in that cool M-Flo song, sees her latest album debut at 6th place with only 22,000 copies sold. Get ready for Arashi’s latest album to blow away all competition by the end of the week.

- As we reported yesterday, Andrew Lau/Alan Mak’s Confession of Pain arrived dead on arrival in Japan. On its opening weekend, the film made 23.7 million yen. That’s only 27% of the opening for Daisy and 54% of the opening for Infernal Affairs III. Eiga Consultant sees it as a failure of Ayumi Hamasaki’s theme song to bring audiences in, but I see it as a freefall of Takeshi Kaneshiro’s popularity in Japan. Even teaming up with who is arguably one of Asia’s top actors couldn’t lift this thing up. Then again, the movie isn’t all that great.

- Just a little preview of Friday’s Hong Kong box office report - Harry Potter is going to be huge, just look at the IMAX presales. Those tickets are twice the price of a normal ticket. Red means sold out, by the way.

- Twitch has a ton of reviews from the Fantasia - Dog Bite Dog, The Restless, Kim Ki-Duk’s Time, Hazard, and The Show Must Go On.

- Meanwhile, Variety reviews the Japanese-Chinese co-production The Longest Night in Shanghai, which this blogger actually would like to watch.

- This can’t be real, right? Dicky Cheung, best known as Hong Kong television’s answer to Stephen Chow, is starring as the Monkey King in a Hollywood film after he played the famous character in two different television dramas.

- In an attempt to search out for new inspirations for films, a popular blog about a group of students’ war of pranks with a local resident in a rural town is being adapted into a film. If it all goes well, I bet you they’ll be making various versions of TV as well. Then again, the film is being directed by Renpei Tsukamoto, whose last theatrical work is One Missed Call 2.

- There’s a new trailer for Benny Chan’s Hong Kong actioner Invisible Target online, except it just have a little bit more plot and it’s all dubbed in Mandarin. It didn’t get me anymore excited about the film than I already did, so watch at your own risk.

- The Tribeca Film Festival held a mini-edition in Beijing, and it seems to be a success, as it has attracted not just over-glamourized celebrities, but hip film buffs as well.

- MTV and Motorola held a series of concerts featuring Taiwanese star Jay Chou and Chinese star Cui Jian to remind people that music comes from real musical talent, not just getting lucky on some talent show. Wow, so MTV actually promotes music anywhere that’s NOT the United States.

- After all the pushing and pulling and the rumoring, the producer of John Woo’s Battle of Red Cliff has confirmed that Chow Yun-Fat will simply not be joining the production in any capacity.

- In DVD news, Studio Ghibli’s Tales From Earthsea is coming is a cheaper Hong Kong DVD on July 20th, while the Korean dark comedy Driving With My Wife’s Lover, which I linked a review for a while ago, is coming out in August. I actually want to watch both, despite the less-than-good reputation for Earthsea.

- The Thai government is just pissing off everyone in the Thai entertainment industry, as even the TV industry has come out against the new ratings system. They argue the new system, which they say was thought up without any careful consideration, will restrict artistic freedom and impossible to put into practice. Case in point: A program is rated PG if it contains “use of wrong grammar not used for comic effect.” Man, that’s worse than China.

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