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The Golden Rock - August 2nd, 2007 Edition

- Looks like another case of misreporting box office figures in Japan. The latest Pixar film Ratatouille supposedly earned about 489 million over two days this past weekend. However, what Disney didn’t report is that the actual earning is actually 360 million yen, and the rest were made during the special sneak previews last weekend. That would make the opening a bit of a disappointment, as it’s only 95% of the opening for the last Pixar film Cars. However, the word-of-mouth for the film is actually batter than Cars (at least in the States), so it might come out earning more in the long run.

- It’s official, China has decided to not let the latest Jackie Chan Hollywood star vehicle Rush Hour 3 on Chinese movies screens. There are a couple of possible reasons for this - 1) China doesn’t like the content, especially the presence of the triads. However, how can that be true when the first two films featured triad villains? 2) China simply can’t stand all these Hollywood films dominating the box office and has implemented the usual summer policy of getting rid of Hollywood films to let Chinese films have their day. 3) It just got unlucky and couldn’t be secured as one of the 20 American films allowed to be shown in Chinese theatres each year. 4) The movie sucks, and the Chinese people shouldn’t be exposed to that type of crap. I got five bucks on numbers 2 and 3.

- Meanwhile, the trade reviews are out. Hollywood Reporter’s Michael Rechtshaffen says the routine goes awfully stale, while Variety’s Robert Koehler says that the adrenaline rush just isn’t there anymore.

- Variety has a few more Asian film reviews, one for the 2007 Korean hit Voice of a Murderer, Fumihiko Sori’s Vexville, and the Thai horror film Alone, which is currently a hit at the Korean box office.

- Kabuki’s bad boy Shido Nakamura has followed the steps of Last Samurai actress Koyuki and signed with Avex. With that, he has also officially joined the cast of John Woo’s The Battle of Red Cliff, which would make this his second Chinese blockbuster after Jet Li’s Fearless.

- If you’ll indulge me another game of multiple degrees of separation, Tony Leung Chiu-wai also stars in the Battle of Red Cliff, but he originally withdrew from the film because of the fatigue he suffered after making Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution. The film, almost or already completed, will compete in the upcoming Venice Film Festival. Though the film was originally submitted as a USA-China entry because there’s where the money came from. However, it almost brewed a small controversy when the nationality was changed to Taiwan due to director Ang Lee’s nationality.

- A nation at war turns to TV soap operas, culinary shows, and idol competitions. Surprisingly, it’s not the United States.

- Japan will be the first to see a MTV-created mobile social network, which will also feature pages created by Japanese pop stars. Do we really need to be THAT connected?

- Speaking of embracing the new media, another Japanese media producer has signed a deal with Youtube to upload promo clips and various content on the video site.

- Avril Lavinge’s album has sold a million copies in Japan, making her the first foreign artist to sell more than one million copies of each of her three albums. They’ll find a record for anything in Japan, especially when it comes to music.

- Twitch has an interview with director Steven Okazaki, whose latest film is the documentary White Light/Black Rain, about the fallout of nuclear warfare including the bombings of Hiroshim and Nagasaki.

- Japanese R&B/A Capella group Gospellers is teaming up with forgotten Backstreet Boys member Howie D for their latest single. Not to be a party pooper, but I think Howie needs the Gospellers more than they need Howie.

- With the 2008 Olympics approaching in a year, China has still yet to deliver the full media freedom they promised foreign journalists there. 95% of those who responded to the survey by the Foreign Correspondents Club of China says China’s reporting conditions are not up to what they call an “international standard.”

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