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Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with The Golden Rock.

The Golden Rock - October 3rd, 2007 Edition

- It seems like I made a mistake last week in predicting this week’s Oricon charts because the daily charts at the time had not included the new singles yet. So the predictions from last week are completely wrong. On the singles chart, YUI’s latest, the theme song for the film Closed Note, debut at number one with about 87,500 copies sold. BoA’s latest is far far behind at 3rd place with about 28.400 copies sold. Ayumi Hamasaki’s latest actually did not top the charts again, falling to 4th place with just 18,700 copies sold. Next week (and this should be correct), expect rock superstar band B’z’s latest single to top the chart.

As Tokyograph predicted, Ai Otsuka’s latest album topped the albums chart with about 208,000 copies sold. Not too close behind at second place is personal favorite Tokyo Jihen’s 3rd album, which sold about 101,000 copies in its first week. Angela Aki’s album falls to 3rd place in its second week, and I can’t believe Hideaki Tokunaga’s cover album is still going this strong at 4th place. Next week, expect the album chart battle to be between Yuki’s or Yuzu’s compilation albums.

- I’m combining the box office and the regular entry into one today. The Japanese box office numbers came out, and there are a bunch of discrepancies between the numbers and the admissions ranking. Apparently the Isao Yukisada film Closed Note may have attracted less people than Perfect Stranger, but it make more cold, hard cash, putting it at 2nd place. The same thing happened between Fantastic 4 and No Reservations. Also, La Vie En Rose actually opened on 196 screens, which makes it 8th place opening kind of disappointing.

Actually, Closed Note’s second place opening isn’t all that swell, either. While it is 176% of the opening for Sugar And Spice ~ Fumi Zekka, it’s only 94% of the opening for Yukisada’s Haru no Yuki, which means the film will barely pass the 1 billion yen mark in box office.

- Speaking of Closed Note, its star Erika Sawajiri has apologized for her rudeness in a recent press conference for the film. Still, her appearance at the film’s screening at the Pusan Film Festival has been canceled due to the incident. I’m not exactly sure how not having her take an extra trip to Korea to promote a movie is punishment unless she was going to get paid.

- Speaking of Pusan, Hollywood Reporter has a bunch of reports from the festival. First, a general overview of this year’s festival, then a report on the new anti-piracy campaign being launched at the festival, and a preview of opening film The Assembly, which will see its world premiere on Thursday.

- Speaking of Feng Xiaogang, he has already casted Jiang Wen and Ge You for his next film, a comedy that pokes fun at the new overnight millionaires of China. Sounds like Feng is going back to his roots as a commercial comedy director.

- As a young aspiring filmmaker, this news is quite disappointing: The new Film Development Council of Hong Kong has announced their terms for disburse the HK$300 million film fund - by giving it to commercially-appealing films made by experienced filmmakers/producers. That means your director or producer has to have made at least 2 films, but yet your budget has to be kept under US$1.55 million (HK$12.1 million). Not that they’ll actually give you more than 30% of your budget anyway.

Do these people actually know how much it cost to make an audience-friendly, commercially-appealing movie these days? Your average movie star take at least HK$4 million already, and what commercially successful HK movie this year actually cost just HK$12 million? Obviously, the money should’ve gone more to developing young talents, but what can I say? I go to film school in Hong Kong, so that makes me biased by default.

- On the other hand, legendary Japanese filmmaker Yoji Yamada is working with the students of a film class he is currently teaching on a new film as part of a collaboration between Shochiku and a university in Kyoto. Eventually, the studio will establish a training facility with the students of the university as research interns. THIS is how you develop young talent, Hong Kong Film Development Council.

- Meanwhile, Yamada’s latest film Love & Honor, starring Kimura Takuya, has been picked up by tiny American distributor Funimation, and will be released in one New York cinema in November.

- It’s reviews time! From Variety, we have a short review by Robert Koehler for Christmas in August director Hur Jin-Ho’s latest film Happiness, and a review by Russell Edwards for the Japanese film Sea Without Exit.

- From Lovehkfilm, Kozo has reviews for Oxide Pang’s entertaining mystery-thriller The Detective, the shitter Wong Jing comedy Beauty and the 7 Beasts, the independent film Breeze of July, the Taiwanese film The Most Distant Course, and the 80s action film Angel. From Sanjuro are reviews of Japanese sports drama Rough and the Japanese drama A Long Walk. From yours truly are reviews of the Japanese art film The Many Faces of Chika and the independent award-winning film This World of Ours. Expect an interview with the director on this blog soon.

- Variety Asia has a feature on the future of film investment in Asia, as many major film markets in the region have been seeing a downturn in the number of productions. Of course, it was eventually going to happen anyway after so many years of growth.

- With over 200 million yuan, Michael Bay’s Transformers have become the second highest-grossing foreign film in China, just behind Titanic. I could say something about this, but I’ve run out of energy.

- World, meet Jeong Seung-Hye, one of Korea’s most promising up-and-coming producers.

- Creepy news coming out of Belgium, it seems like a note was found near where severed body parks were found in a park that may be connected to the Death Note comics. I think the killer forgot the part where he’s not supposed to do the murdering himself.

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