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Archive for July 1st, 2008

The Golden Rock - July 1st, 2008 Edition.

Or otherwise known as the weekly number crunching edition.

- The end of the academic year in Hong Kong schools and two major blockbuster openings add up to a very crowded weekend at the Hong Kong box office. On 64 screens (a majority of them showing the Cantonese-dubbed version), Kung Fu Panda won the weekend. Opening on a Saturday (instead of the usual Thursday), the Hollywood animated film made HK$3.41 million for a 2-day total of HK$6.47 million. The other huge film was the action film Wanted, which opened on a Friday. From 47 screens, it made HK$2.49 million on Sunday for a 3-day total of HK$7.37 million. While it seems like Kung Fu Panda won by a stretch, their per-screen average are close enough to indicate that the audience are fairly split evenly between the two films. With a public holiday today, the two films will easily surpass the HK$10 million mark.

It was also a pretty busy weekend for the limited releases. The French film Ensemble (starring Audrey Tautou, who has become quite popular in Hong Kong after Amelie) made HK$84,000 from 4 screens on Sunday for a 4-day total of HK$260,000. The Las Vegas-themed 21 continues it strong run, making HK$51,000 from 3 screens on Sunday with a 11-day total of HK$520,000.

With the major blockbusters, the holdover films obviously lost out of plenty of audience. The Chronicles of Narnia probably managed to retain its Christian audience after losing its family audience to Kung Fu Panda, with a HK$409,000 take from 30 screens on Sunday. After 25 days, the fantasy epic has made HK$24.55 million, with HK$25 million a certainty. Johnnie To’s Sparrow lost its adult audience (and plenty of screens/showings) to Wanted, making only HK$245,000 from 30 screens (most of them with a reduced number of showings a day) and a 11-day total of HK$4.92 million. It’ll do better than Triangle and way better than Linger, though.

- The cat’s out of the bag now: the Hana Yori Dango film version is a major hit at the Japanese box office, making over 1 billion yen from 400 screens in the first two days alone. According to Eiga Consultant, this is 99% of the opening weekend gross of Hero the Movie, and its approximately 805,000 admissions (thanks, JG!) is actually 107% of Hero’s opening weekend as well. Higher admission figures and lower box office means that the film’s audience is either skewing younger (kids and student discounted tickets) or much of the audience bought discounted advance tickets. Also, it’s worth noting that the audience is 91% female, which is  very surprisingly, even though the gimmick of the film is a young girl loved and adored by 4 handsome rich guys. Anyway, such youth-oriented, idols-driven blockbuster are word-of-mouth-proof, and with the school holidays coming up, it’ll probably hit Hero’s 8 billion yen take, or at least fairly close to it.

One of the many achievements Hana Yori Dango will be remembered for is its ability to unseat Indiana Jones after it only spent one weekend at the top. The adventure film reportedly dropped by 57%, but that’s only because Box Office Mojo based this on the Paramount-reported opening weekend number, which included the sneak previews. In reality, the film only lost about 30% of its audience from the previous weekend if you calculate it with the 847 million yen I reported last week. After two weekends, it has already made over 2.5 billion yen, and will top both The Magic Hour and The Chronicles of Narnia by now already.

The biggest disappointment goes to Stephen Chow, whose CJ7 opened on 190 screens with a 2-day take of only 34 million yen. This is after Kung Fu Hustle opened in 2005 with 307 million yen during the New Years holiday. Also, Paul Haggis’ In the Valley of Elah opens just one place below CJ7, but it also opened on far less screens and features a far less appealing subject.

Elsewhere, The Magic Hour still performing strongly with only 22% less audience for its 4th weekend. Even though Narnia reported only a 33% drop, there were only two people at the Thursday screening I attended last week, and it will struggle to even match half the take of the first film. Kwak Jae-Young’s Cyborg She will drop out of the top 10 by next weekend, and nowhere near the 1 billion yen mark, which must be somewhat of a disappointment for its distributor. But it must have Panasian appeal…right?

- Maybe not, because Kwak’s latest Korean film opened this past weekend all the way down at 8th place. The North Korean refugee-themed Crossing also fail to attract the audiences at 4th place and a not-very-good per-screen average. The Public Enemy Returns also lost its first place throne to Wanted, though it has already acculmulated 2.7 million admission.

More over at Korea Pop Wars.

- It’s Japanese drama ratings time! Many of the remaining Spring 2008 drama wrapped up this past week. The highest-rated final episode was of course Gokusen, which wrapped up its third season with 23.6% rating and a season average of 22.6%. This doesn’t quite reach the heights of the season premiere, which saw a 26.4% rating, and the second season’s 27.8% season average. However, it’s still the highest-rated drama of the season, unless Kimura Takuya’s CHANGE catches up in a major way. However, it’s 7th episode only saw a 20.9 rating, and its 20.9 season average means the final two episodes will have to attract major ratings in order to surpass Gokusen.

Meanwhile, Osen managed to rebound from its season low 9th episode for a 10.1%-rated finale and a season average of 9.1%. Zettai Kareshi ends with a 13.6% rating, which is higher than its premiere episode, and saw a season average of 13.2%. Ryoteki Na Kanojo (My Sassy Girl) wrapped up with just 7.2%, or a little more than half the ratings it got for its premiere, and only second-to-last lowest rated drama on the major networks.

- Meanwhile, Tokyograph has put up their preview for the Summer 2008 Japanese dramas. Much credit to their hard work.

-  Japanese media conglomerate Kadokawa has invested into a Japanese academy that will train professionals for different fields within animation. This is the first time the media company has directly invested into training talent.

- Twitch has a trailer for Kallang Roar, which may be Singapore’s first sports biopic.

- The Japanese best-seller Sono Hi no Mae ni is coming to the big screen. About a woman with terminal illness aimed to live her life to the fullest, it doesn’t sound very interesting, let alone original.

- Johnnie To’s Sparrow continues its global film festivals tour and will head next to open the Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival.

- The Mainichi Daily News has an article about American TV network ABC’s new game show/xenophobic disaster I Survived a Japanese Game Show. The producers actually have the idea half right, until this quote: “In Japan, it’s not like that — it’s shock for shock’s sake. If they feel bad, who cares?” Leave it to the Simpsons to get the idea right: “In America, they reward you for your intelligence. Here, we punish you for your ignorance.”

Oh, and Tokyomango has actually seen the show and says it makes her “want to barf”.

- After its vocalist had to take leave for throat surgery, the Nakanomori Band has annouced that it will split up, with its members going their separate ways.

- Natural City director Min Byung-chun is one of the eight people named by the Korean government to join the KOFIC. Copyright © 2002-2018 Ross Chen