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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.

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