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The Golden Rock - February 19th, 2008 Edition

We’re kind of busy this week at The Golden Rock, but let’s do some number crunching anyway:

- Sad news from Hong Kong this morning: Actress and television personality Lydia Shum (better known as Fei Fei in Hong Kong) passed away at the age of 62. Fei Jei has been in poor health in recent years, and last appeared during local network TVB’s anniversary show in a surprise appearance.

Report from Variety

- Here’s an update on the box office for Lunar New Year films in Hong Kong (in order of release date), as of January 17th:

CJ7 - 18 days, HK$48.73 million

Sweeney Todd - 18 days, HK$8.28 million

L - Change the WorLd - 11 days (including previews), HK$7.25 million

Kung Fu Dunk - 11 days, HK$8.1 million

Enchanted - 11 days, HK$22.32 million

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (from 3 screens) - 11 days, HK$640,000

CJ7 is losing its momentum now, and it probably won’t make it to match Kung Fu Hustle’s take. Kung Fu Dunk is also slowing down considerably, and won’t get to HK$10 million, making it the flop of the season as the first Jay Chou film to not hit HK$10 million. Meanwhile, L will probably surpass Kung Fu Dunk in total take by the weekend, but I doubt that it’ll match the success of the two Death Note films. Nevertheless, it might have a chance for HK$10 million, which is a great take for a Japanese film. Enchanted is still topping the box office, so I think HK$30 million is not entirely unrealistic.

Meanwhile, the Hollywood sci-fi film Jumper made HK$6.13 million over 4 days from 38 screens. and Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood made HK$230,000 over 4 days from just 3 screens.

- No Japanese box office numbers yet. The audience attendance figures indicate that L took the top spot for a second weekend in a row (though I’m more interested to know how much business it lost), and the medical mystery The Glorious Team Batista also stayed at second place. It may surprise some, but Elizabeth: The Golden Age managed a 3rd place opening. However, that’s because the first film was a fairly big hit in Japan, taking over 1.5 billion yen back in 1999. Lastly, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium opened at 5th place.

-My mistake: The British documentary Earth may be the highest-grossing documentary in Japan in the last ten years after crossing the 2 billion yen-mark, but Kon Ichikawa’s Tokyo Olympiad will remain the all-time champion in attendance figures. With inflation, the 1964 documentary would’ve made 8.5 billion yen with today’s ticket prices.

- In Japanese drama ratings, this season’s ratings are so depressing that I don’t even feel like reporting them anymore. But here they are anyway: Honey and Clover, Saito-San, The Negotiator, and Sasaki Fusai No Jingi Naki Tatakai all hit their lowest ratings with 8.6%, 13.0%, 12.7%, and a measly 8.9, respectively.

In better news, Lost Time Life managed to rebound to a season-high 12.3% rating, and Mirai Koushi Meguru bounced back in a big way with a 10.5% rating.

- Kimutaku is back on Japanese TV drama! This time, Kimura Takuya play an elementary school teacher who somehow ends up becoming Japan’s Prime Minister. With not much positive support for the current Japanese government, I’m sure a fantasy world where a Smap member becomes their head honcho would be a nice change.

- I might’ve reported this before: Spring 2007’s hit drama Proposal Daisakusen is getting a special episode, and it’s now scheduled to air on March 25th (I think this is the news part).

- I was supposed to report on this a long time ago: Tokyo Tower was the big winner of the Japan Academy Awards, but it didn’t repeat the pattern of films in the past that were nominated in almost all the categories by winning only five awards. However, those awards were best supporting actor, best actress, best director, best screenplay, and best picture, so I don’t think the team is sad over it.

Meanwhile, Always 2 only won two awards: best actor and best sound recording. I Just Didn’t Do It won only won 3 awards, including best supporting actress, best art direction, and best film editing, which must’ve been disappointing to some, considering that it’s been sweeping the other awards.

Full list of winners here

- While only two Asian films in competition title won at Berlin (Wang Ziaoshuai for In Love We Trust and Reza Najie for the Iranian film The Song of Sparrows), Japanese film won many other awards at the festival. Those awards include United Red Army winning several awards, and Izuru Kamasaka winning Best First Feature for Park and Love Hotel.

All the details are at Jason Gray’s blog.

- Considering its controversial censorship system, it’s surprising that not one, but two films that deal with homosexuality managed to win major awards at Thailand’s Subhanahongsa Awards.

- It’s reviews time! Or rather, it’s time for a compilation of reviews for Johnnie To’s Sparrow, which got a far better reception in Europe than from English-speaking critics.

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