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Archive for June 11th, 2008

The Golden Rock - June 11th, 2008 Edition

- The Japanese box office numbers have come in at Box Office Mojo. As reported yesterday, Koki Mitani’s The Magic Hour made over 500 million yen this past weekend (which amounts to about 4.87 million in American dollars). I would guess the three big local openers caused everything else to lose business, but the next opener, The Taste of Fish, is all the way down at 7th place (probably at 6th place of the attendance chart because it attracted older audiences.), and Takashi Miike’s God’s Puzzle showed up all the way down at 12th place with just over 15 million yen from 198 screens.

The lowest drop in the top 10, for Kenji Uchida’s After School, was still at 35%. Even Aibou lost over 47% of its business while still managing to hang on at 3rd place, while Narnia is still doing huge business, despite losing 46% of business from the previous week. The biggest drop of the week goes to 27 Dresses, which lost a Hulk-sized 62% drop from its opening week. Ouch.

- It’s Japanese Oricon charts time! Kat-tun gets their 10th consecutive number 1 release with their latest album, and is only the 4th group to do so. Even SMAP hasn’t been able to pull that off yet. Meanwhile, GReeeN continues to hold onto their number one spot on the single chart, barely fending off challenger Tackey and Tsubasa’s theme for the drama Osen.

More at Tokyograph

- The Akihabara random stabbing case in Tokyo has caused TBS to pull an episode of their drama on Monday night because it features a street stabbing scene that may be too close to the real thing. Also, Sunday’s incident boosted NHK’s 7pm newscast on Sunday to a 21.0% rating, higher than the usual 15-18% rating that time slot gets on Sundays. This is also because NHK is probably the least sensationalist out of all the Japanese television news  media, who have jumped to label this guy as the “otaku monster” who uses his cell phone too much.

- China has began a strict registration system for Chinese citizens working for overseas media during the Olympics. The organization Reporters Without Borders is calling this Beijing’s way of restricting so-called “fixers” for oversea agencies. So how many initial promises for press freedom has the government broken by now?

- Kaiju Shakedown looks at the new low of the Korean film industry and wonders if it can be attributed to the reduction of the screen quota system last year.

- There’s still good news for Korea though, as TV drama Jewel in the Palace has become a massive hit in Hungary, scoring 30-plus% ratings.

- A new Korean film uses rotoscoping (think Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly) to not only recreate a 600-year old structure, but also to add Jennifer Aniston in the movie. That is cool, indeed.

-  With the crossover success of Koizora and other Japanese cell phone novels, you’d think that they’re only for teenagers. Apparently, housewives have plenty of time to read them too, if the content is right.

- Producers of Japanese content and hardware such as Disney, Sony, Universal, the “big three”, Sharp, among others have come together to form the Digital Entertainment Group. Together they will decide how to promote the next generation of digital entertainment. I hope that doesn’t include price regulations as well.

- Major Japanese film critic Haruo Mizuno has died at the age of 76. His influence was far and wide, including being credited with suggesting the Japan Academy Awards and commented on over 1200 films on a Japanese television program.

The Golden Rock - June 10th, 2008 Edition

Lots of number crunching today, so here we go:

- As expected, Narnia got a huge boost over the weekend at the Hong Kong box office as the younger audience turned up in droves over the holiday weekend. On Monday (the public holiday), the adventure epic made HK$3 million from 72 screens for a 5-day total of HK$11.27 million. Meanwhile, Sex and the City didn’t its Narnia-sized bump because of its restricted rating, although it didn’t do too damn bad either. From 43 screens, the TV adaptation made HK$6.38 million over the 5-day weekend. Of course, remember that both films had a ticket price increase due to their lengths, so it may not necessarily reflect attendance.

Meanwhile, all the openers from last weekend dwindled down to 5-digit numbers this past weekend. Penelope leads the pack with HK$93,000 from 15 screens for a 12-day total of HK$2.86 million. The Moss is struggling to get to The Pye-Dog’s gross with only HK$57,000 from 13 screens and a 12-day total of HK$1.22 million. It deserves better. Shaolin Girl took a big dive in its second weekend, with just HK$25,000 from 14 screens on Monday, and a 12-day total of HK$1.25 million. And despite being the Academy Award winner for best foreign film, The Counterfeiters doesn’t seem to be destined for limited release success, with only HK$250,000 after 12 days on 3 screens.

Lastly, Indiana Jones finally passes the HK$25 million mark after 19 days, while Iron Man is still on the top 10 after 41 days with a HK$21.69 million total.

- The Japanese entertainment news media had a busy weekend, as the “big three” (Toei, Toho, and Shochiku) each had a wide release this weekend. As expected, Koki Mitani’s The Magic Hour took the top spot in the attendance chart. According to Variety, it made a spectacular 506 million yen from 379 screens over the opening Saturday and Sunday. Since The Wow-Choten Hotel never made it to Hong Kong, I’m even going to venture into this while I’m here and see what the fuss is all about (although I’m sure I won’t understand half the movie).

Meanwhile, the Tsukiji movie (now named The Taste of Fish as a first in a planned yearly series) is relying on word-of-mouth it make it profitable with only a 6th place opening. Takashi Miike’s God’s Puzzle didn’t even make it in the top 10 in attendance and is not likely to gross enough to surpass 27 Dresses in gross. At least Toei still has Aibou the movie, which is still in 3rd place this weekend. More when the numbers are out.

-  Things are depressing in South Korea, as local films made up only 7.8% of total market share at the box office in May, making it Korean cinema’s worst month ever since the relevant authorities started counting.

Meanwhile,  June isn’t starting out very well, with only one Korean film making the top 10 this past weekend all the way down at 5th place. Last year, the similar happened with the endless summer assault of Hollywood blockbusters, but things may even be worse this year.

- It’s Japanese drama ratings time! As the season moves closer to the end, several dramas hit their season low. These dramas include Zettai Kareshi, Osen, Puzzle, Around 40, Kimi Wa Hanin Janai yo ne?, and Ryoteki na Kanojo (My Sassy Girl) at 12.1%, 8.4%, 8.0%, 13.3%, 7.7%, and 6.3%, respectively. Baseball drama Rookies started its second part with an average 15.4% rating, while Gokusen fell again slightly to a 21.3% rating, and remains the highest-rated drama of the season so far. Kimura Takuya’s CHANGE is high up at 2nd place, but fell below 20% for the first time. As it reaches the middle just when other dramas are hitting their finales, I think Fuji is trying to boost ratings as the only drama still on the air for the season when everything else is over.

- Zhang Ziyi is heading to Hollywood once again, acting opposite Hugh Grant this time as a Chinese director working with a top British star and a translator in their way.

- It’s trailers time! Nippon Cinema has a trailer for Monster X Strikes Back, about a monster named Gurara attacking the G8 Summit and Beat Takeshi showing up to save mankind. It’s all in the trailer. Twitch has the link to a trailer and comparison shots for the newly redrawn and re-sounded Ghost in the Shell 2.0. Lastly, Kaiju Shakedown links us to the full-length trailer of Detroit Metal City, which looks like a fun dose of absurd Japanese humor.

- In related news, a single featuring Detroit Metal City star Kenichi Matsuyama as two characters will be released along with the film.

- Variety’s Justin Chang offers up a review of the new Japanese sports film Dive!, which opens this weekend in Japan.

- Under “celebrities looking for a PR opportunity from natural disaster” news today, director Chen Kaige will be taking a break from post-production of his latest film to direct a short film for the victims of the Sichuan earthquake about successful Chinese sports player to show Chinese people overcoming difficulties. I’m sure after The Promise, he needs all the goodwill he can get for his latest. Why, yes, I have been told that I’m cynical.

A Bee Gee member jumps on the bandwagon to criticize China for something. Granted, said Bee Gee member is the head of the CISAC, and he’s talking about something legitimate like rightful royalty payment to artists that are not being paid, but really, take a number and get in line.

- Bittorrent Japan has made 27 films and animation videos available for free for 3 days ahead of the Interop conference in Tokyo. Here’s the page.

 
 
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