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Archive for June, 2008

The Golden Rock - June 13th, 2008 Edition

I’m going away for the weekend, so this is either a compressed weekend entry, or I may be able to cram in one more on Sunday night.

- The Japanese government, with their aggressive policy towards the coming switch to total digital broadcasting, will provide poor households with digital TV tuners so they can continue watching TV after July, 2011. Hey, I’m too poor to buy a digital TV, too, but I’m in no rush if it just means 3 more TVB channels.

- I can’t say that I’m well-versed in American 80s culture, but I know enough to ask who the hell asked for this?

- The Thai film ratings system, which is completely pointless in the fact that the government can still cut films, is being delayed for a few months as details are still being worked out.

- I expected Japan Times’ Mark Schilling to give a review for Gururi no Koto after two interviews for the filmmaker and the lead actor was on the Japan Times yesterday. But instead, he turns in a review for Takashi Miike’s flop God’s Puzzle. Even Japanese multiplexes are quickly reducing the number of showings after only a week.

- A Chinese internet music distributor is taking their lawsuit against search engine Baidu all the way to an American court, as their first lawsuit is still pending in China. A search engine that allows users to find illegally uploaded music, Baidu has been the target of attacks from the music industry. However, a 2006 case brought by Western companies lost, while this distributor’s lawsuit has been in limbo for almost a year.

- A Malaysia film production company is making their first big venture into Hollywood with Deadline, a low-budget thriller about a screenwriter in an abandoned house.

- Meanwhile, a Japanese talent agency is expanding into film production by taking over everything from production to distribution for a new film. Talent agencies have a huge role in Asian entertainment, and can be a well-known label (even to the general public) that helps a aspiring idol to stardom. Think Johnny’s in Japan (though their artists are scattered in different record labels), EEG or Gold Label in Hong Kong, and SM in Korea.

The Moscow International Film Festival will be giving Takeshi Kitano a Lifetime Achievement Award in its latest edition. Cool.

The Golden Rock - June 12th, 2008 Edition

- Let’s go for a little number crunching first, as usual. As reported all this week, Koki Mitani’s The Magic Hour scored a very successful 500 million yen-plus opening on 379 screens. However, Mr. Texas points out that the opening is actually only 89% of the director’s very successful The Wow-Choten Hotel. Of course, the comparison is a little unfair, as Wow-Choten is the all-time Japanese comedy champ at the box office. However, Mitani and his cast have been aggressively promoting the film, with variety show appearances, a TV airing of Wow-Choten Hotel, and even the revival of Mitani’s popular TV series Furuhata Ninzabuo, which makes the opening a bit soft for all the buzz.

Also, Mr. Texas points out that even though The Magic Hour’s opening points of a 5 billion yen-plus final gross, several recent 500 million-yen openers have been fizzling out at the 3 billion yen mark, so it all depends on the word-of-mouth for this film. I caught the film this morning, and understood enough that I’ll be offering my views on the blog later on.

Mr. Texas also looked at another one of this past weekend’s major Japanese opening, the fish market-themed The Taste of Fish. Already planned to be a yearly movie series before its release, the human drama opened with 49.28 million yen from 259 screens, and is only 73% of the opening for the last Tsurubaka Nisshi film in 2007, which is the only other ongoing yearly film series about fishing. With no television station associated with the film, looks like Shochiku doesn’t even have the tv drama option if things don’t work out.

- I can’t believe I forgot to mention this: The Academy Award-nominated epic Mongol opened in limited release all over North America this past weekend, and managed an impressive USD$26,000 per-screen average. This is surely bittersweet for distributor Picturehouse, which closed up shop three weeks ago.

- It’s reviews time! All the reviews today are by Maggie Lee of The Hollywood Reporter. First, she takes a look at the Chinese film Knitting, which played at the Cannes Critics Week. There’s also a review of Kenji Uchida’s After School, which sounds too twisty for me to understand without subtitles. Lastly, she takes a look at the Milkyway-produced PTU-spinoff TV film Tactical Unit - The Code, which marks Law Wing-Cheong’s third directorial work, not second.

- Speaking of Milkyway, Johnnie To is donating his 36 award trophies for display at the Hong Kong Film Archive. He probably ran out of room to put them at home anyway.

- Mark Schilling has two interviews on the Japan Times, both for the film Gururi No Koto (All Around Us), which went into limited release this past weekend. First, Schilling has an interview with director Ryosuke Hashiguchi, whose latest marks his first film in 6 years. Then, Schilling talks to the film’s star and Tokyo Tower author Lily Franky. I predict there will be a rave for the film on Japan Times tomorrow.

- China has overtaken Japan to be the nation with the most digital TV connection, and will account for half the digital TV households in Asia based on the large population, with India in second place. However, Japan will remain the most valuable market for pay TV in Asia, because people in China will probably keep downloading everything.

- The Indian government finally announced the National Film Awards for 2006, after numerous delays caused by censor certification and possible rigging.

- Kaiju Shakedown offers links to a bunch of Asian film trailers that I haven’t linked to before.

- The Singaporean Film Commission is starting a feature film fund for new directors. Like the film funding program in Hong Kong, the system requires the director to have a co-investor in place already, but unlike its Hong Kong counterpart, it will offer a much larger bulk of the budget, and doesn’t require the director or the producer to have experience with feature films.

- Japan has lost another film veteran, as director Kan Mukai passed away at the age of 70 on June 9th.

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.

The Golden Rock - June 9th, 2008 Edition

Still waiting for various box office numbers to come out (public holiday in Hong Kong, Japan numbers coming out late, etc.), so let’s just do a regular news update today.

- The animation classic Ghost in the Shell is coming back to the big screen, with both a visual and aural upgrade, hence earning the title Ghost in the Shell 2.0.

- Twitch has a teaser for the Japanese omnibus film R246, which features a mix of musicians (Verbal of M-flo) and actors (Tadanobu Asano and Yusuke Santamaria) as directors. The films all revolve around Japan’s National Highway 246, which runs all the way from the government center of Tokyo to just past Mount Fuji.

- The effects of the recent Sichuan earthquake have spread all the way to the media, as a digital advertising agency is forced cut back on its quarterly outlook because of the earthquake has caused a dramatic decrease in outdoor advertising in the affected areas.

- China’s state-run media CCTV reported for the first time on the yearly candlelight vigil in Hong Kong for those who died at the June 4th Tiananmen Square incident in 1989. However, the station pulls a CNN and reports that the vigil was a memorial for those who died in the earthquake.

- X-Japan has suspended its reunion tour because member Yoshiki is suffering from a slipped disc in his neck.

- The 10th Short Shorts Film Festival has opened in Tokyo, and its winner will be recommended for a nomination at the next Academy Awards. That means no student films, please.

- The 25-year-long Japanese television drama Kaseifu wa Mita is finally coming to an end. The show has been running for about one episode a year with the same lead actress, who also starred in another one of these dramas between 1994 and last year.

- The sports film Chak De! India picked up 8 awards to be the big winner at the Indian International Film Awards. In true Bollywood fashion, the award ceremony managed to run 5 hours long.

- NHK is set to make a documentary/drama about the recent beef factory scandal that inspired similar whistle-blowing cases in other Japanese manufacturers in recent years. I hope their aim is to make it as good as Michael Mann’s The Insider.

The Golden Rock - June 6th, 2008 Edition

- Opening day at the Hong Kong box office saw two major films opening - Sex and the City and Chronicles of Narnia. Along with Indiana Jones, these three films have taken up a total of 156 screens in a city that has only roughly 200 of them. As expected, Narnia opens on top with HK$1.09 million from 67 screens, while Sex and the City made HK$811,000 from 44 screens. Of course, both films had their ticket prices inflated due to the long running time, but Sex and the City is obviously the more successful film because of the restrictive category-III rating and the higher per-screen average. Still, I still expect Narnia’s business to pick up considerably over the weekend from the family audiences. Indiana Jones falls far far behind with just HK$231,000 from 45 screens. But with a 15-day total of HK$23.28 million, it’s time for the young ‘uns to have their turn. More on Monday.

-  China is well on its way to top its record-breaking performance at the box office last year, thanks to a 45% rise in ticket sales in urban areas. And domestic films make up 61% of the market. I’m sure Korea is jealous of that number these days.

- Speed Racer is going down the animation “celebrity dubbing” route, with Aya Ueto signing up to dub Christina Ricci’s role in the Japanese release of the film.

- Wong Kar-Wai has officially signed on as the head of the jury for this year’s Shanghai International Film Festival, while organizers have announced their official competition lineup.

- Meanwhile, the goal for this year’s Shanghai Television Festival, happening concurrently with the film festival, is to attract more foreign television content, despite government objections.

- Also, the New York Asian Film Festival has announced their full line-up, which include 7 international premieres.

The Golden Rock - June 5th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Japanese Billboard charts time! Just as in the Oricon chart, GReeeN’s latest single takes the number one spots thanks to sales and radio airplay. In fact, radio airplay helped boost many artists on the Hot 100, including Usher, Misia, and Orange Range, which got boosted to 2nd place over V6’s latest. Madonna’s Miles Away, though not a released single, even got a 12th place on the Hot 100 because it’s getting airplay as the theme song to the Kimura Takuya drama CHANGE.

- The indie film Yamazakura, starring Rena Tanaka, opened on 9 screens in the Kanto area and made an impressive 8.14 million yen. This is especially impressive because at one theater in Tokyo, every seat for the 8 showings over the weekend filled up, and 70% of the audience were taking advantage of the discounts for seniors and married couples over 50. As Mr. Texas writes, with the film expanding to 20 more screens, will the film reach the top 10 of the box office charts?

- Remember the Black Eyed Peas charity concert I reported about earlier in the week? Featuring Karen Mok, the concert raised a total of USD$1 million for the earthquake relief efforts in China. Good for them.

- Do you remember the “Wong Kar-Wai vs. Raymond Wong” battle over the Yip Man movie Kaiju Shakedown earlier in the week also? According to the Wilson Yip film’s latest poster, Mandarin Films seemed to have backed off and is simply calling the film Yip Man in Chinese.

And now, Andy On is looking for the compensation that he’s still supposed to get after he was dropped from the film due to the producers’ need to fill the cast with Mainland Chinese actors (for co-production status). From the look of the producers’ luck, the film will probably get held up for 6 months by Mainland Chinese censors, and the film will flop in theaters.

- Under “Japanese celebrities break world records” news today, uber-host Monta Mino breaks the Guinness World Record for appearing on TV live for the most hours in a week that he set himself in 2006. The man hosts two lives shows a day, 6 days a week. When Regis can do this much TV, then we can call him the “Monta Mino of America”.

Meanwhile, Japanese celebrity Yusuke Kamji got on the Guinness World Record for having the most unique user on a personal blog in a day. Why hasn’t they contacted me over the record for “blog with least amount of original information”?

- The Korean Herald has an English review for the latest and the third Public Enemy film, again starring Sol Kyung-Gu. I probably should at least watch the first one.

- One of my favorite directors Kim Jee-Woon has signed up to make his English-language debut with John Woo and Terence Chang as producers. It’ll be a remake of a 1970s French classic noir about a heist going wrong.

Meanwhile, Kim’s latest The Good, The Bad, and the Weird has been selling very well after its positive reception at Cannes. However, Kim says he’s preparing two versions - an international one with more Sergio Leone references and a Korean one with “more directed at entertainment.” Sergio Leone is pretty damn entertaining to me, though.

- Toru Nakamura, in Hong Kong and Japanese theaters right now as the super-evil university dean in Shaolin Girl, just won the Yellow Ribbon Award in the film actors category. The award is presented every year as tributes to top fathers in different fields.

-  U2’s manager teared the internet a new one at a music forum here in Hong Kong, blaming internet service providers for the dwindling music business and how everyone is not sharing the money for people in the industry. Another foreigner is criticizing China! Someone boycott him!

- Meanwhile, Seoul police continue to rip their way through the city in their 100 days-long anti-piracy project, arresting people and seizing tons of pirated entertainment products.

- Major Japanese rental chain Tsutaya will begin streaming movies online for their members, creating another way for people to watch movies legally on their computer without having to go to their stores.

-  Jason Gray caught the award-winning Tokyo Sonata and provides a brief write-up.

- Korean actor Ha Jeong Woo will be starring in a Korea-Japan co-production with popular young actor Satoshi Tsumabuki. The film will be written by a Japanese writer and will have a Korean director, not unlike the romantic-drama Virgin Snow from last year.

The Golden Rock - June 4th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Japanese Oricon charts time! GReeeN adds a new number one single onto their already-long list of accomplishments. They even managed to beat out V6 and Orange Range’s latest singles. Meanwhile, Mihimaru GT’s latest album takes number 1 on the album chart, but the biggest news is Shiori and her having the first indie album debut on the top 10.

Details at Tokyograph

- While Korean director Kwak Jae Young’s Japanese debut Cyborg She opened at a respectable third place, but Mr. Texas over at Eiga Consultant reveals that its opening was actually 75% of Windstruck. Since Windstruck made 2 billion yen in Japan, at least Cyborg She will pass the 1 billion yen mark.

Also, Sarah Polley’s Away From Her opened at one theater in Tokyo, with three out of four shows sold out on the second day (the film recorded an attendance of 1074 admissions out of a possible 1200). Mr. Texas wonders aloud whether the distributor would’ve opened it at a bigger theater had it won the best actress Oscar.

- At the Japanese promotional event for Indiana Jones, George Lucas says that he won’t rule out the possibility of setting the next movie in Japan. After seeing what Hollywood has done with Asia in the past, please don’t.

- Twitch has the Japanese trailer for the violent action flick Machine Girl. Of course, it being an official trailer means that it has to be considerably tamer than the ones that we’ve seen before.

- The Chinese music industry is coming together to condemn the search engine Baidu as “the largest and most incorrigible purveyor of pirated music in China”. What about the people that use it?

- With the Kimura Takuya Monday 9pm drama CHANGE failing to capture huge ratings (it finally fell below 20% this week), it’s already time for Fuji to get another reliable star for their next Monday 9pm drama. This time, it’ll be Bayside Shakedown star Yuji Oda as a “baka” schoolteacher.

- Variety’s Derek Elley has a short review of the Korean film Crossing, the latest from the director of Volcano High and Romance of Their Own,.

The Golden Rock - June 3rd, 2008 Edition

- Korean cinema takes a huge tumble this past weekend at the Korean box office, with foreign films taking 9 out of 10 places in this past weekend’s chart. And the only Korean film only made it to 9th place. Ouch.

Box office gross from Korea Pop Wars

Attendance figures from Twitch.

- Prince Caspian seems to be staying at the Japanese box office charts for the long run, losing only 16.2% of its opening weekend gross this weekend. Aibou is in it even longer, continuing to lose only single-digit percentage (9.5% this week). Meanwhile, Cyborg She’s opening of 178 million yen. I guess The Bucket List is a favorite among adult audiences, making enough money to surpass 27 Dresses for 6th place in the gross ranking and losing only 16.4 of business (though 27 Dresses ranked higher on the attendance chart). Kenji Uchida’s After School also played strongly in the second weekend, losing only 11.7% of business on the same amount of screens. Oh, and Shoot ‘Em Up opened at 16th place.

-  I seemed to have forgotten to report the Japanese drama ratings for last week. Everything seems to be floating in the weeks leading to the finales. Only two dramas - New Investigator Mariko and Shichinin no Onna Bengoshi - hit their season high with 14.2 and 11.4, respectively. Last Friends got a big boost again up to 18.8% after two weeks of slipping ratings. CHANGE and Gokusen risk falling down below 20% (it actually finally happened to CHANGE this week, but more on that next week), although Gokusen rose slightly in the ratings for its latest episode. And Ryoteki Na Kanojo (My Sassy Girl) is the only drama to hit a season-low this week. And to think the producers expected a 20% rating for this.

Japanese drama sypnoses at Tokyograph

- Finally, an American remake of the hit Death Note films has been announced. Though no word whether they’ll try to cram both films into one.

-  The bus stop ads for Lawrence Lau’s City Without Baseball has been changed after one person complained to the bus company about the upper male nudity in the poster. The film’s co-director has snapped back, complaining that Hong Kong is becoming increasingly conservative. I guess one person can make a difference in this world after all.

- It’s trailers time! Twitch has uploaded an extended trailer for the first installment of the comic adaptation 20th Century Boys. Also, Nippon Cinema has a short trailer for the live-action version of Grave of the Butterflies.

- Fans of Weezer and/or BoA, you now have a reason to pick up the Japanese version of Weezer’s latest album.

- What was meant to be a promotional event for a drink by American group The Black Eyed Peas is now a charity concert for the Sichuan earthquake fundraising efforts. Good for them.

- Grady Hendrix over at Kaiju Shakedown covers the messy situation going on between Raymond Wong and Wong Kar-wai over the title for their Yip “master of Bruce Lee” Man movie. Sorry, Mr. Wong, I’m putting my bet on Wong Kar-Wai to make the better movie anyway.

-  Japanese pop star/Nana-in-real-life Mika Nakashima is forming a band with a comedienne trio. No word on the comical or musical value of the product.

- Warner Bros. continues to expand its presence in Asia with a new deal to make an animated film about birds in India.

- Rinko Kikuchi would like to expand outside her cultural zone and play….a half-Japanese role.

The Golden Rock - June 2nd, 2008 Edition

- It was a crowded weekend at the Hong Kong box office, but none of the many newcomers could beat Indiana Jones. The Steven Spielberg adventure film made another HK$1.9 million from 80 screens for a 11-day total of HK$21.54 million. With Narnia and Sex and the City coming next weekend, it’s going to be a pretty steep climb to that HK$30 million mark. Out of the 5 newcomers, Penelope sprinted to 2nd place, making HK$306,000 from 19 screens for a 4-day weekend total of HK$1.12 million. It’s also the only newcomer that passed the HK$1 million mark over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the Japanese film Shaolin Girl is right behind Penelope, but it didn’t get much of a boost over the weekend, making only HK$224,000 from 27 screens and a 4-day weekend total of HK$890,000. Behind that is Derek Kwok’s The Moss, with only HK$171,000 from 30 screens and a 4-day total of HK$650,000, putting on par with The Pye-Dog. The Richard Gere-led The Hunting Party made HK$73,000 from 6 screens and made HK$250,000 over 4 days. Academy Award-winner The Counterfeiters was on 3 screens and made HK$38,000 for a HK$120,000 4-day total. Lastly, the French film The Story of Richard O. was on the top ten on opening day, but didn’t make it on the top 10 on Sunday.

- The Japanese box office attendance figures didn’t give much surprise, with Narnia and Aibou retaining their top spots. Korean director Kwak Jae-Young’s Japanese debut Cyborg She (aka My Girlfriend is a Cyborg) made it to 3rd place, while Hollywood films 21 and 27 Dresses debut at 5th and 6th place, respectively. More when the numbers are out.

-  You can now watch Japanese television live over the internet, using this completely legal and reliable software. I’ve already used it for a day, and it works fairly well. No, it’s not spam, it’s a completely legitimate recommendation.

-  Sega is launching a major game project for the Nintendo DS, with both comic and animation adaptations coming before the game’s actual launch.

Japundit recommends an interesting-looking little independent film. That video clip made me laugh quite a bit.

- The Osamu Tezuka comic MW is coming to the big screen, and Hiroshi Tamaki (Chiaki-sama!) is taking the lead role. Wait, directed by another television director?

- The stage performance troupe Takarazuka is celebrating their 95th anniversary by taking on a stage adaptation of the Bae Yong-Joon drama The Legend (that’s the new English name for his latest one). Man, I wouldn’t want to try and become the Japanese version of Yon-sama.

 
 
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