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The Golden Rock - July 20th, 2008 Edition

- We might as well call it the Ponyo on a Cliff weekend here at the blog: Ponyo on the Cliff opened nationwide on a record-breaking 481 screens yesterday (the most ever for a Japanese film). As of opening day, they already recorded that attendance is at 83% of Spirited Away, which stands as the top Japanese moneymaker with 30.4 billion yen. Some are expecting a mega-hit of that magnitude already.

Wait, does that 83% means it’s already 83% of Spirited Away’s opening day, or is that 83% of Spirited Away’s attendance in the same time period? I think it’s the former.

It’s a busy weekend for Japanese kids, as Fuji TV are not hesitiating to push their latest Pokemon film against the Ghibli juggernaut. Fuji TV took the opportunity on opening day to announced that this is the 6th consecutive Pokemon film to sell over 1 million advance tickets, and that they will submit the record to Guinness as “The Film With the Highest Advanced Ticket Sale”. With attendance at 106% of the previous film, they’re expecting it to be the second consecutive Pokemon film to make over 5 billion yen., despite competition from Ghibli and the upcoming Kung Fu Panda.

- It’s Taiwanese music charts time! Christine Fan’s latest compilation album debut at the first place, finally dethroning Jam Hsiao’s album after 4 weeks at the top. Gospel music group Joshua Band saw a 3rd place debut, just on top of Korean boy band Super Junior - Happy. The Lollipop boys from the Channel V talent show split into two groups and release their own single. Fans have obviously chosen their favorite, putting one group at 5th place and leaving the other at 8th.

- Viz Media, who has brought some excellent Japanese films to North America, will be entering the production world and will take advantage of their large catalog of Japanese comics.

- Two recent award-winning actors are working together in Adrift in Tokyo’s Satoshi Miki’s latest film.

- Also, shooting is under way for the new Andrew Lau film, which stars Andy Lau and Shu Qi. The dance film also stars Ella Koon, Denise Ho, and Lam Ka Wah, and is slated to be released at the end of the year or beginning of next year.

- I also grabbed a shot of the possible poster for Alan Mak/Felix Chong’s Lady Cop and Papa Crook (thanks to Tim Youngs for the heads up!). Starring Eason Chan and Sammi Cheng, the film opens on September 11th.


- Jason Gray reports on the premiere of Yoji Yamada’s latest work, a filmed stage performance of a Kabuki play and marks the first time one with a major film director in charge.

- TV Tokyo will be making their first daytime drama, adapting a radio drama that was later adapted into comic form. Currently, TV Tokyo shows dubbed Korean dramas during that time slot. I guess that tradition is coming to an end.

- Japan Times has an article on actress Aoi Miyazaki, who is currently starring in the NHK historical drama Atsuhime, and will next be seen on the big screen in Children in the Dark, about child prostitution in Southest Asia.

- Ahead of the Olympics, China is tightening even further by banning artists and performers that “threaten national soverignty”, meaning that any artist who even said one bad word about China will not be able to perform there. Apparently, there’s no official list, but some of these people may be Bjork, Steven Spielberg, and Sharon Stone. Saying that China is improving on human rights is like saying getting stabbed by the sharp end of a broken cue stick is an improvement over getting stabbed by a sword.

- Somewhat off-topic, but being a big fan of Hot Fuzz, I feel obliged to report it. The film only made it to the shores of Japan because over 2300 people reportedly signed a petition to bring the film to the big screen. Thankfully, it paid off, as the film attracted 3865 admissions from 4 screens during its opening weekend two weeks ago, making 5.72 million yen. I wish it all the success and all the word-of-mouth it can get.

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