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The Golden Rock - July 30th, 2007 Edition

Hong Kong box office and Korean box office charts aren’t up yet, so today’s entry is slightly shorter than usual.

- We’ll start with the Japanese audience rankings. As expected, Harry Potter stays on for another week, but suffers a pretty huge drop (a preview of things to come when the full chart comes out for tomorrow). Ratatouille, the latest film from Pixar Studios, opens at number 2, and everything down to number 7 gets bumped down. Meanwhile, the animated film Summer Days with Coo (Kappa no Coo to Natsuyasumi) opens at 8th place.

Sadly, that 8th place, 26.7 million yen opening in a crowded kids film market (Pokemon, Harry Potter, Monkey Magic, The Piano Forest) means that the film opened only at 13% of the director’s previous film.

- The full Korean box office top 10 isn’t up yet, but I can tell you that the “historical” drama May 18th, which is getting bad reviews on its accuracy but apparently getting good word-of-mouth everywhere else, is now the hit of the year. On its first weekend, it beat out Voice of a Murderer for the best opening of the year by attracting 1.45 million admissions, even beating out Ratatouille and Die Hard 4.0 for the top spot.

I asked in the Podcast that never got uploaded whether Korean films can survive the rest of the year with its upcoming slate of genre films, but looks like May 18th just saved the industry as we know it. For now.

- The Japanese elections on Sunday meant that there were no dramas on, but there were still a bunch of season lows posted this past week. The Monday 9 pm Fuji TV drama First Kiss rebounded from its disastrous second week by scoring a 15.2 rating for its third episode (roughly 9.87 million people), while Hanazakarino Kimitachihe hangs on with a 16.6 rating (10.8 million or so). Yama Onna Kabe Onna rebounded slightly to a 12.7 rating (8.24 million). The hostess drama Jotei continues to drop with a 10.9 rating for its third episode (roughly 7.1 million). Sushi Ouji, whose movie version has already been greenlit, saw a somewhat disappointing start with only an 8.8 rating (roughly 5.7 million), the lowest premiere rating for that time slot since the fall 2006 season.

- Lovehkfilm sees reviews for the Japanese tearjerker Tears For You, the relatively unknown new Francis Ng film The Closet (note: Not a film with homosexual issues), and for the Japanese romantic comedy Christmas on July 24th Avenue by yours truly.

- Twitch also has a bunch of reviews - one for the Japanese horror film The Slit-Mouthed Woman, one for Studio Ghibli’s Tales From Earthsea, and one for Wilson Yip’s actioner Flashpoint.

- There’s a rumor going around that Rush Hour 3 might be banned from China because of its “anti-Chinese elements.” The first two films belittle and make fun of the Chinese plenty, but they weren’t banned, so why now? Then again, there are plenty of reasons why China would not want to “ban” a Hollywood film now anyway.

- The lineup for the Asian Film Festival of Dallas is out. It’s no New York Asian Film Festival, but the lineup is fairly solid anyway.

- Taiwanese cinematic auteur Hou Hsiao-Hsien is set to receive the Leopard of Honor at the upcoming Locarno Film Festival, where his first French film (psss…..Cafe Lumiere wasn’t in Chinese either, Variety) Flight of the Red Balloon is set to screen.

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