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Archive for July 17th, 2007

The Golden Rock - July 17th, 2007 Edition

OK, just a relatively short entry today, and perhaps a break for the rest of the week due to familial obligations.

- Box Office Mojo has no box office figures for Japan up yet, but the audience ranking for the 14th and 15th (I emphasize this because it was a three-day weekend. More later) shows the Pokemon movie at number one, and super-duper-ultra-wide release Monkey Magic/Saiyuki (which Jason Gray pointed out it’s actually the widest Japanese live-action release ever. The widest animation release has got to be a Ghibli movie, just not the last two) managed only number two.

Here’s where it gets messy - Variety reports that the film made about 795 million yen over three days, despite the typhoon (understandable - typhoon means bad weather, bad weather means people don’t want to go out…..or go somewhere indoors like a movie theater) and the earthquake in Niigata? Not to undermine Niigata, been there once, real pretty, but real rural too. So people can possibly be so upset about a devastating earthquake in Niigata to stop themselves from watching a movie about a monkey and a female monk fighting some cgi monsters? I don’t mean to show any lack of sympathy for the victims - I was in Japan during the last Niigata earthquake, and it wasn’t fun even from Tokyo - but I agree with Jason that writing as if Monkey Magic had fought mother nature and won seems….ridiculous.

Meanwhile, the story of the weekend ought to be the Pokemon movie, because it managed to make 780 million yen in TWO days. Of course, there’s this whole thing about getting something on the Nintendo DS in the movie theater, but it managed to open at 190% of the last movie’s opening, and may very well get pretty close to the highest Pokemon film gross of 7.24 billion yen, set by the first film. However, I think it has more to do with the fact that it’s the 10th anniversary movie anyway. Take that, SMAP monkey king.

- In Korea box office, Harry Potter dominated to no one’s surprise. Transformers is getting very close to breaking the record for highest number of admissions for a foreign film (yay, fighting robots!), and Black House continues to hang on for Korean films at 4th place with 1.2 million admissions.

- Sorry, Japanese TV ratings take too long to go over, so I’ll keep things really short. The Monday night 9pm Fuji TV drama (typically the hottest time slot for dramas) First Kiss scored a huge premiere with 19.7 rating (we’ll talk about its crash and burn next week). The apparently very annoying Hana Sakari No Kimi Tachi He earned more viewers with an 16.8 rating, Yama Onna Kabe Onna, which someone asked me to track, fell just a little bit to a 13.5 rating in its second week, and TV Asahi’s bar hostess drama Jotei scored a so-so 12.4 rating. As always, read up on information on dramas at Tokyograph.

- Director Jiang Wen’s The Sun Also Rises disappeared just before it was supposed to premiere at Cannes. Turns out it got rejected, because “parts of the film were mangled in post-production,” which might be the Chinese excuse for a messy third-act that people hated. Anyway, the film will now finally premiere this fall in Venice and China.

- Japanese public broadcaster NHK charges every household in Japan for watching, no matter how much time you spend watching it. After a wave of people finally fed with their recent corruption scandals, a bunch of people stopped paying. Now NHK has decided to cut fees by 20% and get rid of those annoying door-to-door guys that came to my dorm room to collect. As a side note: I apologize to NHK again for just cancelling my bank account before leaving Japan without notifying them. Thank you for not taking me to court, you greedy assholes.

That’s it for the week (probably). I’ll be back on time for the weekend, and I’ll keep tracking world out there.

The Golden Rock Podcast - 7/16/2007

It’s a little late, but it’s here. Except I forgot to continue the Winners and Losers of the Week. Oh well, at least it’s shorter.

The Third Golden Rock Podcast - 7/16/2007. (right click—>save as. 96 kbps MP3. 10.3 mb. 14:20)

This week’s theme song - Edison Chen - TP Won!!!!!!

On the Podcast this week:

Verbal review: Transformers

Hong Kong Summer films, part 2 - This summer sucks

Future goals of Asian films - remake and foreign distribution?

Does the sales of advance tickets in Japan affect studio guesstimates?

Thanks again to everyone’s comments, and enjoy.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 7/16/2007

Today’s Song of the Day is chosen not because it’ san OK song, but because of its surprising quality. I had no interest in American model Leah Dizon’s “musical” career in Japan previously, but I randomly ran into this MTV and was pleasantly surprised. It’s her first single “Softly.”

Too bad she doesn’t quite pull off the falsetto live. Time to work on that voice a little bit.

The Golden Rock - July 16th, 2007 Edition

The Podcast is ready, just waiting to be uploaded.

- Who is actually surprised that Harry Potter is the number one film this weekend in Hong Kong? According to the Sunday box office numbers, Pot-tah expanded to 105 screens on Sunday and made HK$5.23 million for a 5-day total of HK$20.71 million. I don’t anticipating this thing slowing down soon, so it should pass the HK$40 million mark. However, also note that this gross is after ticket price inflation of HK$10 and a ticket for the IMAX showing cost double the usual ticket. Again, number of admissions, in my mind, is the true measure of success, but they don’t roll like that in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Die Hard 4 is actually still bringing in the audiences (good word-of-mouth?), grossing another HK$840,000 on what is officially its second weekend (though it’s actually its third, thanks to a full week of “previews”) from 36 screens for a 18-day total of HK$15.6 million. Shrek 3, on the other hand, lost a ton of business to Harry Potter and made only HK$400,000 from 33 screens for an 18-day total of HK$19.8 million.

The top Hong Kong performer this weekend is still Hooked On You, making a so-so HK$250,000 on 19 screens for an 18-day total of HK$8.74 million. The question everyone that cares is asking is whether Hooked On You will pass the HK$10 million mark. With HK$1.25 million to go, I’m personally not expecting it to happen, but it’ll get pretty close. Wonder Women continues its slow fading process with only HK$90,000 on 9 screens (it’s already down to two to three shows a day in most theatres) for an 11-day total of just HK$1.36 million. This weekend, I’m not just expecting, but really hoping that Invisible Targets would do well. Pretty please?

- Transformers (reviewed in the Podcast today) broke the opening day record for a foreign film in China and also had a very impressive weekend overall.

- Elsewhere, Japan had a national holiday on Monday, so no box office figures or drama ratings have come in yet. We might get to it tomorrow.

- Just like the movie business in Hong Kong, even Universal music is now turning to China to make more bucks.

- Loft, known to be Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s crappier film from the past year, is now on an English-subtitled Malaysian DVD. Watch at your own risk.

- The Korean film Public Enemy was a critical and commercial success, which led to its not-so-critically successful sequel Another Public Enemy. Apparently, director Kang Woo-Suk doesn’t know how to take a hint, and now he’s making a third movie. At least the good news is that Sol Kyung-Ku will return to his role as a corrupted detective from the first film.

- After Sonny Chiba made a sudden announcement last week on television that he is to quit acting, he finally explains it all at a press conference. Apparently, he doesn’t plan to retire entirely, but rather cut back and turn to doing other things instead. Hey, I’d join the Thousand Leaves Hollywood school just to ask him how he killed a bull and a bear with Karate.

- Turns out the reason for 20th Century Fox not selling their remake rights for Prison Break isn’t really their doing - The Writers Guild of America have policies that prohibits studios from selling their shows to China for remakes (is this ONLY for China, or what?). Nevertheless, Can’t Fox still sue the production company if they actually register the name?

- Anti-smoking groups in China are complaining that the drama New Shanghai Bund (based on the classic Hong Kong drama Shanghai Bund) features too much smoking. These guys should just light one up and chill.

- The Hollywood Reporter has an interview with Han Sang-Jun by Korea Pop War’s own Mark Russell. Han is overseeing his first Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival after the controversy last year, but the festival seems to be back to running smoothly this year.

- There was also a panel with several young Korean directors about the recession of the Korean wave and trying to offere possible ways to stabilization.

- TV Asahi is adapting the novel Hanochi for a drama special (or a mini-series). The novel was already adapted in 2004 for film, and it even won best film and best actor at the Japanese Academy Awards. However, the drama is to make some alterations from the novel and the film. Hell, at least they waited a couple of years.

- The historical Queen’s Theatre in Hong Kong is closing down, continuing to signal the death of a golden age in Hong Kong cinema. Now, theatregoers mostly favor multiplexs in malls over single screen theatres such as this. There are still, however, a few older single-screen theatres in Hong Kong, but who knows how long they’ll last.

- One of the things I hate most about Japan are street scouts. Stationed on busy streets in neighborhoods like Shinjuku and Shibuya, these men harass women that they think might be suited to join adult business (or the AV industry as well?) and would pretty much be on them like flies on sweets until they reach the train station or they show any interest. Now TV Asahi is making a drama about what is probably one of the crappiest professions in all of Japan.

- When a Hollywood film fails, they tend to have international gross to try and salvage back the rest of the budget. But now the family comedy Evan Almighty, infamously known as the most expensive comedy ever made, can’t even rely on Japan, one of Hollywood’s largest markets. That’s because the Japanese distributor canceled the theatrical release altogether.

- According to writer/director David Goyer, director Alex Proyas is going back to cult favorite sci-fi film Dark City for a brand-new special edition. I myself like Dark City as well, but I wonder if it really needs such an edition.

- Robert De Niro is putting on his ethnographic glasses to produce a film about the Chinese Revolution in 1949 told through the eyes of one of the few foreigners in the country. Not to be a man of little faith, but I predict this is going to suck already. Copyright © 2002-2019 Ross Chen