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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.

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