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Archive for August 1st, 2007

The Golden Rock - August 1st, 2007 Edition

- Let’s start with those Oricon charts today. On the singles chart, Ai Otsuka’s latest single debuts at number one, selling just over 68,000 copies, making it her first number 1 single debut since 2005. Rip Slyme’s latest single, despite having lots of sexy ladies in its MTV, scored only a third place debut with only 30,000 copies. Last week’s winner, Ayumi Hamasaki’s latest, dropped significantly from 110,000 copies to just 23,000 copies this week. Expect next week’s singles chart to be between two boy bands - Dong Bang Shin Ki and Hey! Say!. Luckily I won’t be around to report that debacle.

On the albums chart, Orange Range ruled it, selling a combined 420,000 copies of their latest set of compilation albums (210,000 copies each). Far behind in second place is the debut of Canadian-Japanese band Monkey Majik’s second album, selling 82,000 copies, and bumping KinKi Kids’ latest down to 3rd place with 72,000 copies sold after debuting 300,000 copies last week. Bonnie Pink’s latest album debuted with a weak 53,000 copies sold for a 5th place debut. Next week, the pop duo Sukima Switch should take the top spot with a quieter chart.

I was just about to report the drama satisfaction rankings on the Oricon site when I noticed that the Tokyograph blog talked about it too. So I think I’ll leave it to them to report it.

- The Hong Kong Films blog in Chinese has an interesting feature about how Hong Kong box office numbers are reported. Apparently, only the Association of Hong Kong Films gather the numbers and figures by telephone polls. They simply call theaters at different times of the day and ask for each theaters’ sales figures for each film. This primitive human reporting also means the figures are prone to error. Has anyone heard of such cases?

- The new Nobuhiro Yamashita film Tennen Kokkeko opened this past weekend on three screens in Tokyo, and it attracted a very strong 3212 admissions/5.07 million yen over 2 days. Considering that means an average of 123 people at each showing, and since the average capacity of each screen is 149, I’d say that’s pretty good.

- Darcy Paquet’s Korean Film Page has a review of a rare film from North Korea that apparently swept the nation since, well, it was probably the only thing playing.

- Meanwhile, South Korean artistic auteur Hong Sang-Soo is working on a new film that was originally planned to be in French, but will now just be filmed in France.

- It’s war. Hong Kong animation firm Imagi, who did the last Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, has just hired yet another animation veteran from Dreamworks animation. One of the major animators of the Shrek trilogy, who got promoted to co-director by the third film, is from Hong Kong, so this kind of evens things out.

- American distributor Funimation has picked up a couple of films for distribution - the not-so-surprising one would be Fumihiko Sori’s Vexille, and the surprising ones are Yoji Yamada’s Love and Honor and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Hana. Oh, they got that damn Genghis Kahn movie too.

- Note to Hong Kong people - Wilson Yip’s Flashpoint may be opening officially next week, but there are some “secret announcements” of advanced showings this weekend. The picture in the entry was taken at Kwun Tong’s Silver Theatre, which is not exactly Hong Kong’s finest.

- It’s teasers time! Twitch has the teasers to the direct remake of Tsubaki Sanjuro and the Universal Pictures-funded Japanese action film Midnight Eagle.

- Then Variety has profiles to two rising female figures in the Asian cinema world - director Naomi Kawase (whose The Mourning Forest is not doing too well in Japan as expected) and award-winning actress Jeon Do-Yeon.

- The French film censors want to step up their authori-tie by looking to extend its powers to also review films that play in France as part of film festivals. But instead of giving ratings, they have to right to not allow the film play at French festivals. I would rather they just rated them instead.

The Golden Rock Song of the Day - 7/31/2007

Today’s Song of the Day was the song that got me to actually like Hong Kong pop star Miriam Yeung’s music. It was an August trip back to Hong Kong, and this song was a single off her album of the same name. Imagine my surprise when I watched the video today and found out that it was composed by Taiwanese accoustic artist Cheer Chen, and somehow it all made sense. It’s “A Summer Story.”

The Golden Rock - July 31st, 2007 Edition

- That’s more like it - Michael Bay’s Transformers managed a huge surge in box office in Hong Kong on Sunday, making HK$4.3 million from 76 screens for a 4-day total of HK$14.05 million. Harry Potter is still very strong, with HK1.32 million on 53 screens for a 19-day total of HK$44.51 million. This one might overtake Spiderman 3 as the highest grossing of the year so far. Note that both these films had their ticket prices inflated by HK$10 (about 10-20%) due to length, which means their gross doesn’t equate to the usual attendance number.

Thanks to word-of-mouth (and no thanks to multiplexes putting in on small screens), Invisible Target hangs on for its second week, making a moderate HK$690,000 on 33 screens for a 11-day total of HK$9.5 million. Hopefully it’ll stick around for another week so I can watch it next week. Jay Chou’s Secrets had a strong preview weekend, making HK$80,000 on 6 screens with three shows each, and a weekend total of HK$150,000. This signals that Secrets has a pretty strong opening weekend coming up. Secrets also opened in China this weekend, but only scored an 8th place opening on an unknown number of screens and showings. Lastly, the weekend’s only limited release Hula Girl makes a sad HK$20,000 on 3 screens for a HK$60,000 4-day total. This is going to be gone by the weekend.

- In Japanese box office numbers, Harry Potter is reported to have dropped 66%, which is not true since Warner Bros. accounted the early weekend preview numbers into its opening week gross. If you count only the 3-day total from last weekend, the film actually lost only about 43% in business, which is pretty good for a film on 919 screens. Meanwhile, Ratatouille didn’t do too bad either, scoring the highest per-screen average on the top 10, while all the films on the top 10 suffered only moderate drops. Meanwhile, Summer Day With Coo is a victim of the case where it beat Maiko Haaaan in the number of admissions, but lost out to it when it comes to dollars and cents because kids tickets cost less.

- It seems like while the success of Hollywood films continue, other foreign films aren’t doing too well in Japan this year. However, I can think of at least 3 Hong Kong films that opened in Japan, not two - Election, Dragon Tiger Gate, and Confession of Pain. On the other hand, that decline of Korean flicks is definitely pretty painful.

- As reported yesterday, May 18 took the weekend at the box office in Korea, but only at 1.3 million admissions, not the 1.4 figure that was previously reported. The Thai horror film Alone dropped to 8th place already, but not before taking over 450,000 admissions down with it, and it seems like Ratatouille performed a little weaker than I thought it would.

- With news stacking up this year about the lack of originality in Chinese pop music (and MTV as well), an angry blogger in China has decided to devote an entire blog exposing pop songs that allegedly are copying others. The blog is here (just click on the song titles to hear the song samples), but it got the Kelly Chan song “No Reservations” wrong. It didn’t copy Britney Spears’ “Boys”, but rather Destiny Child’s “Lose My Breath”. Hell, maybe it copied both songs. Plus, Britney Spears copied herself with Slave 4 U anyway.

- The top box office winner in Thailand right now, and we only report that kind of thing when it’s a standout, is a little crossdressing comedy named Kung Fu Tootsie. You read right. Twitch has more information here.

- Kenichi Matsuyama, the rising young star of Death Note, has signed on to star in the latest film to be directed by Korean-Japanese director Yoichi Sai (who also made Blood and Bones) and written by Ping Pong and Maiko Haaaan scribe Kankuro Kudo. This could be a good follow-up to the upcoming Death Note spinoff L.

- Be careful - if you are caught pirating films in Japan, be prepared to be treated like a Yakuza member.

- The Hong Kong film blog (in Chinese) has updated its release date sidebar - new release dates include Flashpoint for August 9th, Soi Cheang’s Shamo for September 6th, and Triangle for November 1st.

- Under “that director can do that?!” news today, Taiwanese actress Shu Qi has signed up for her third Hou Hsiao-Hsien film, this time set to be a kung-fu film. How the hell is he going to pull off his legendary 10-minute-plus long takes?

- On that note, under “how the hell are they going to pull that off?!” news today, Universal has acquired the rights to remake the Japanese period actioner Shinobi, except writer/director Max Makowski (who last directed Francis Ng in One Last Dance) is planning to move the story to Hong Kong and turning the two ninja clans into rival “multinational security forces” (whatever the hell that is). Why didn’t Universal just say it’s based on Romeo and Juliet and saved themselves a couple of bucks?

- Japanese musical group Pistol Valve managed to put their U.S. debut album onto the billboard charts. Specifically, it made number 15th on the internet album chart. Good for them.

- Get ready for yet another Panasian co-production. But this is a rare one, because it’s from Singapore. Other than that, even the title suggests that it’ll be the same old stuff.

- Following the steps of Wilson Chen and Choi Ji-Woo, Korean actor/singer Ryu Si-Won will join the cast of the upcoming Japanese drama Joshi Deka alongside Yukie Nakama. Apparently, he’ll even be speaking completely in Japan, which is not a surprise since he sings in Japanese anyway.

- Ken Watanabe’s daughter Anna Watanabe is making her acting debut in the previously-mentioned TV remake of Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low. Are there any pictures of her NOT in excessive makeup?

- The Tokyo International Film Festival has a couple of changes, including the addition of a world cinema section and a section dedicated to the portrayal of Tokyo that shows it as more than just another overcrowded city. Copyright © 2002-2023 Ross Chen