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Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

The Golden Rock - September 17th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Japanese Oricon charts time! Namie Amuro’s hit compilation album has finally been bumped off the top of the charts….by another compilation album. This time, it’s Ayumi Hamasaki’s latest compilation, which marks the 14th #1 album in the pop diva’s career. Meanwhile, Amuro’s album, still the best-selling album of 2008 so far, is now down at 5th place.

On the singles chart, Mr. Children manages to hang on to their first place for the second week in a row, despite new releases by Ai Otsuka and Glay.

More from Tokyograph.

- The Hong Kong Films Blog looks at the miraculous cinema run for Kelvin Tong’s Rule #1 in Hong Kong. Released two weeks ago, the film could only secure 7 screens, at least 2 of which only played the film at 11:45 pm, and only after the film won two Best Actor Awards at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival. However, the audiences kept coming thanks to strong word-of-mouth, and not only did one of the two 11:45pm-only theater added an afternoon screening, another theater also joined in to screen the film. Rule #1 will now go into its third week, still with only a limited amount of screenings. But for a film that started with only a show a day and never got onto the top 10 to continue playing for a third week is pretty amazing for Hong Kong cinema these days.

- Kaiju Shakedown looks at the two finished Herman Yau films that will probably come out this year. He’s probably calling Rebellion the more interesting film because he doesn’t know that the Chinese title for True Women For Sale roughly translates to “I Don’t Sell My Body, I Sell My Uterus”. Honestly, I’m surprised that the studio kept the title.

- The Japanese media has been reporting that the critically-acclaimed Japanese film Departures won three awards at China’s Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival, including Best Film, Best Actor, and Best Director. However, the only English-language report and the only “complete” awards list report that Feng Xiaogang’s The Assembly won Best Film at the Hundred Flowers Award and has no mention of Departures winning anything at the festival.  So what the hell is going on? Overzealous Japanese media or indifferent Chinese media?

- Under “who cares that this is getting made?” news today, the sequel for the 1997 comedy Beverly Hills Ninja will begin shooting in Korea next month, and will be the first major Hollywood film to do so. Presumably, Chris Farley, the star of the first film, will not be returning, since he passed away nearly 11 years ago. However, Red Cliff star Lin Chi Ling will be in it, which makes this all the more worthy of the blog. I guess.

- While most of the world has already seen Pixar’s Wall-E, the Tokyo International Film Festival will be giving it prestige status by making it its closing film this year…..screening it a full three months after its American release date and almost two months before it’ll be released theatrically in Japan.

In context, just 4 years ago, the TIFF managed to be the hold the world premiere of Kung Fu Hustle two months before its release date in the rest of Asia.

- The Japanese band GReeeeN, which has yet to make a public appearance because they’re all either aspiring or practicing dentists, will be collaborating with the band BACK-ON for a new unit called BAReeeeeeeeeeN. The 10 e’s is because it has 10 members, not because someone kept the finger on the e button.

- Kaiju Shakedown also has the trailer for the next likely hit Hollywood comedy, except it’s made in Japan.

The Golden Rock - July 26th, 2008 Edition

- Let’s do a little prediction to this weekend’s Hong Kong box office. On Thursday opening day, The Dark Knight continues its domination of Hong Kong theaters despite the arrival of Pixar’s Wall-E. On 74 screens, the comic book film made another HK$1.91 million for a 8-day total HK$26.05 million, and will have no problem passing the HK$30 million mark this weekend. Meanwhile, the Disney animated film made HK$1.14 million from 57 screens without any ticket price inflation and with most of the screens showing the dubbed Cantonese version. The new X-Files movie opened on 34 screens and made only HK$320,000, and should wrap the weekend up with around HK$1.5 million.

How Much Money has Red Cliff Made in Hong Kong?

According to Now.com, Red Cliff has made HK$21.14 million after 15 days.

Poor Red Cliff has become the casualty, as many Hong Kong theaters have reduced it to simply 2-4 shows a day in the small auditoriums. Even Broadway Cinemas, run by Edko, who co-distributed the film in Hong Kong, have reduced showings dramatically to make way for this weekend’s openers. However, a quick scan at online presales show that these few shows are all at least 80% capacity, which means on 36 screens, it may wrap up the weekend at around HK$23 million and may make its way towards HK$25 million by the time it’s involuntarily wiped out.

More on Monday when the numbers are out.

- The overall Japanese box office has taken a bit of a dip in the first half of 2008, with the big three distributors (Toho, Toei, Shochiku) taking 49% of the pie, the five major Hollywood studios taking roughly 36% of the pie, and the rest sharing roughly 12% of the pie. While the major distributors - both Japanese and American - took a fall in revenue, smaller distributors Gaga and Showgate actually saw an increase in revenue. Too bad Gaga still lost money.

- A much welcomed Okaeri to the Japan film news site Hoga Central. When the blog was still at Blogger and just starting out, Hoga Central was one of the first sites to link to me. Good to see ya back.

- Lovehkfilm fans are gonna go nuts over this. Ekin Cheng and Shawn Yue have both taken the Best Actor Award at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival for the Singaporean/Hong Kong film Rule No. 1.

(via Hong Kong Film blog)

Meanwhile, prizes for the most promising projects at the festival has also been given out.

- Media Asia sees UK-based film distributor Tartan fall, and decides to take back all the movies Tartan bought the distribution rights for.

- Imagine this conversation:

Record Company Executive: “So, Hamasaki-san, what was your last release?”

Ayumi Hamasaki: “Oh, it was a remix album. My 6th.”

Record Company Executive: “Yeah, and we split that into two full-price albums. Here’s your royalty check, by the way.”

Ayumi Hamasaki: “Oh, thank you. I still haven’t cashed in the check for my album from earlier in the year.”

Record Company Executive: “Take your time with that. We’re still getting together the check for your last single. Splitting that into four different covers really helped the sales.”

Ayumi Hamasaki: “I’ll bet!”

Record Company Executive: “So when was the last time you released a compilation?”

Ayumi Hamasaki: “Just last March. We even split that into two full-priced albums too. The money from that bought me a new make-up artist. My 5th.”

Record Company Executive: “Well, your new album can’t be ready yet, right? So we think it’s time you release a new compilation album.”

Ayumi Hamasaki: “Already?! I only have one album’s worth of new songs.”

Record Company Executive: “Oh, it’s OK. We’ll just do the B’z thing and include all of your singles in it, and make it one 3-disc album to seem like a huge saving!”

Ayumi Hamasaki: “Really? Only the price of one album?”

Record Company Executive: “Oh, we’ll make two different covers for it, of course.”

Ayumi Hamasaki: “I’m in.”

- Twitch’s X looks at why people aren’t so hard on the fact that one film is taking over 45% of total box office in Korea.

- There’s a ton of new posts at Ryuganji, but this one caught my eye the most: Personal recent favorite Haruka Ayase will be starring in a film called Oppai Bare, and I’ll let you read for yourself what that translates to. Ayase only really caught my eye with her cute-as-corn-syrup performance in the TV drama Hotaru no Hikari, so I had no idea about her model past.

Just to add, the film is written by Be With You/Space Travelers screenwriter Yoshikazu Okada. He also recently wrote the ratings flop drama Muri Na Renai.

The Golden Rock - July 23rd, 2008 Edition

It’s either a really slow news day, or it’s been a long day. Here we go:

How Much Money has Red Cliff Made in Hong Kong?

According to now.com, Red Cliff has made HK$20.36 million after 13 days.

- Johnnie To/Wai Ka Fai’s Mad Detective opened on one screen in America. With a total of 8 shows over the weekend, the film made only USD$2,682, which means each show only averaged USD$335.25. An average ticket cost from USD$8.50 to USD$11.50, which should tell you how many people went to see it. Even though it’s also playing through video-on-demand, it’s still pretty painful to report that number.

- Cyzo (Thanks to Ryuganji for the link) reveals the top 10 grossing films in Japan for the first half of 2008, which is any film that opened from December 2007 to May 2008.

1) Partners the Movie (Aibou) - 4.4 billion yen
2) I Am Legend - 4.3 billion yen
3) The Golden Compass - 3.5 billion yen
4) Doraemon - 3.37 billion yen
5) A Tale of Mari and the Three Puppies - 3.14 billion yen
6) The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - 3 billion yen
7) Enchanted - 2.9 billion yen
8) National Treasure 2 - 2.6 billion yen
9) Detective Conan - 2.42 billion yen
10) Earth - 2.4 billion yen.

That’s 6 foreign films and 4 Japanese films, only one of which is live-action. Of course, we still have The Magic Hour and Hana Yori Dango to add to that second half 2008 list.

-It’s Japanese Oricon charts time! The Korean boy band TVXQ sets a record for foreign artists with their third #1 single (and probably another record for the longest song title ever). Yui Aragaki’s first single makes a 2nd place debut (surprising, considering this is how she sings). Kimaguren knocks GReeeN!!! off the top spot at the album chart with their latest album.

More at Tokyograph

- After Japan named its favorite robotic cat as its animated ambassador, Korea has unleashed their own robot as a “goodwill delegate” for refugees.

- After Dragonball, 20th Century Fox is apparently in the process of turning another Japanese animation into a live-action film.

- In the continuing series of ridiculous product lines for pachinko machines (refer to my Japan reports), director Hiroyuki Nakano has remade Kurosawa’s Seven Samurais for a pachinko machine. It even co-stars Sonny Chiba and featuring a soundtrack of Rolling Stone songs.  I have to say, Paint it Black sounds pretty good with samurai on horses.

- Last Friends villain Ryo Nishikido has found his next drama role, this time presumably the good guy with Johnny’s mate Kazunari Ninomiya for an adaptation of another popular novel.

- Ryuhei Kitamura has announced that he will be remaking his classic film Versus for America and that it will be “insane”, which means more of the same with better makeup?

- Not liking Ponyo is like wanting to hurt little puppies, and it looks like there are plenty of people who will want to hurt little puppies.

The Golden Rock - July 21st, 2008 Edition

Japan is on a national holiday today, so no box office or drama ratings for now. That shouldn’t stop us from looking at numbers elsewhere.

- The Dark Knight exceeded my personal expectations at the Hong Kong box office. Playing on over 80 screens, the comic book movie made HK$16.44 million over 4 days, including HK$4.76 million on Sunday. Apparently, the “less shows a day” effect didn’t quite hurt in the end because of inflated ticket prices. This already exceeds the total take of the first film in Hong Kong, and with good word-of-mouth, this is likely to be the highest-grossing foreign film of the year.

Before it hits that mark, Kung Fu Panda continues its brief win at the highest-grossing foreign film so far. After 23 days, the animated comedy still managed to make HK$579,000 on Sunday from 37 screens, and a total of HK$28.99 million. Space Chimps didn’t even put much of a dent in business, making HK$740,000 after 4 days.

How Much Money Has Red Cliff Made in Hong Kong?

As of July 20th, Red Cliff has made HK$19.16 million after 11 days.

Red Cliff was probably most affected by The Dark Knight’s opening, because it lost almost 20 screens, mainly at multiplexes that had to turn these screens over to Batman. In these smaller screens, John Woo’s historical epic remained packed, making HK$1.35 million from 39 screens, which means HK$25 million is a viable goal, though HK$30 million will be a bit of a reach.

Ann Hui’s The Way We Are is showing in one theater, who is only giving the film one to two shows a day. With two shows on Sunday, it managed to make HK$12,571, which indicates at least a near sell-out for both shows if average ticket price was HK$50. After 3 days (about 5 showings), Ann Hui’s drama has made roughly HK$30,000.

HK$7.8=USD$1

- In Korea, distributor CJ Entertainment is estimating that Kim Jee-Woon’s The Good, the Bad, and the Weird attracted roughly 2.2 million admissions over its first 4 days, which would make it the best opening this year for a Korean film. I believe this already exceeds the total admission for Kim’s previous film, the film noir A Bittersweet Life.

Korean Herald writes about the film’s English-subtitled screenings in one theater in Seoul, and foreigners use it as an opportunity to gripe about the lack of English subtitles at the theater. They should be lucky they get English subtitles on DVDs.

- Derek Elley reviews John Woo’s Red Cliff from Korea, which means he saw the 131-minute cut version instead of the 140-minute one. He also notes that the Japanese version will be cut as well, although I haven’t read any confirmation about that, especially since the first mass media screening in Japan doesn’t happen until August 1st.

- Meanwhile, other press are picking up on the Ponyo on a Cliff By the Sea’s opening day numbers. Jason Gray translates the previously linked report and writes that the studio’s “83% of Spirited Away” figure is actually an estimate for the film’s ENTIRE run, which means that the rough figure doesn’t mean all that much.

Variety also points out that since Spirited Away opened on 150 less screens, Ponyo may actually be doing worse. However, since there’s no solid numbers, no one can really make any solid numbers out of these statistics, espeically since Saturday and Sunday night numbers will probably be pretty strong because of the holiday on Monday.

- The Japanese variety comedy show Gakkou E Ikou MAX, which is responsible for those clips of Japanese kids speaking to Hollywood celebrities in English, is coming to an end after a 11-year run due to declining ratings.

- Twitch has a link to the first footage from Wilson Yip’s Ip Man, which shows some on-the-set stuff featuring a Donnie Yen with short hair and him throwing some punches.  Meanwhile, Wong Kar-Wai is busy at the Carina Lau-Tony Leung wedding. Really.

- Kaiju Shakedown has the first official poster for the live-action Dragonball movie. I don’t know….

- Tadanobu Asano is slated to star in Kankuro Kudo’s adaptation of his own award-winning play, with a commercial director making his feature film debut.

- Nippon Cinema has the first teaser for Lala Pipo, the sex comedy written by Memories of Matsuko’s Tetsuya Nakashima. I’m surprised it’s already gotten an R-18 rating already. Are these self-imposed, or is the film really done that early?

- Just as the New York Asian Film Festival  wraps up, the KOFIC brings the New York Korean Film Festival to New York City starting August 22nd with films such as Forever the Moment and Open City.

- Congratulations to Kiyoshi Kuroawa, whose Tokyo Sonata won the Best Film Prize at Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival. This marks the second major festival prize for the family drama, including the Grad Prix Prize at Cannes.

-  Korea and China are working to together to produce an animated series called…what the hell is that name?

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.

img_0234.JPG

- 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.

The Golden Rock - July 16th, 2008 Edition

Today we’re starting a new feature called “How much money is Red Cliff making in Hong Kong?” Why, you ask? Because we’re into fanning the hype around here.

According to Now.com, as of Tuesday, July 15th, John Woo’s Red Cliff has made:

HK$13.52 million after 6 days

In comparison, the dance-unintentional-howler Kung Fu Hip Hop (also the only other Chinese-language film playing in Hong Kong right now. No, I don’t count Kung Fu Panda) has made HK$80,000 after 6 days, and already lost 4 of its 13 screens on Monday.

- Time to report on what we really do here at Lovehkfilm. Boss Kozo has three reviews, including mega-super-duper moneymaker Red Cliff, Yoji Yamada’s Kabei - Our Mother, and the Western film Children of Huang Shi, which co-stars Chow Yun Fat in a supporting role. Yours truly turns in reviews of the wrestling comedy Gachi Boy - Wrestling with a Memory and the independent award-winning comedy Bare-Assed Japan.

Hollywood Reporter’s Ray Bennett also turns in a review for the Singaporean film The Photograph.

- As reported before, John Woo’s Red Cliff topped the Korean box office. It’s scored the highest opening ever for a Chinese film, and distributor Showbox (who cut the film by 9 minutes) is aiming at 3 million admissions. However, that depends on how The Good, The Bad, and The Weird will do next week.

More from Korea Pop Wars.

Meanwhile, The Good, the Bad, and the Weird has sold its American rights to IFC, who will be rolling the film out in a limited release early next year. No word on whether this will be the Korean cut or the cut that Kim said will include more references to classic Western flicks.  If i live in America, this would be exciting news indeed.

- For some reason, Box Office Mojo isn’t updating their Japanese box office numbers, which means I’m left in the cold for the second weekend in a row for number crunching. Thankfully, Mr. Texas over at Eiga Consultant is reporting the opening weekend gross for Gegege no Kitaro 2. Even though the last film went up against Spiderman 3 in its second weekend, the first film also opened a week before Golden Week, which boosted the film’s second weekend take, and it’s a luxury that the sequel didn’t get. The yokai fantasy film made 230 million yen from 313 screens, and it’s only 73% of the first film’s opening.  Mr. Texas contributes the comparatively lower opening to its seemingly darker tone, though I doubt that there’s an audience conflict with Hana Yori Dango (except for young WaT fans?).

Meanwhile, Ryuganji looks at the relative success of the Japanese newsroom drama Climber’s High, which is aiming for a 1.5-2 billion yen, and is a much-needed hit for all involved.

To no one’s surprise, major Japanese distributor Toho takes the top spot as the top Japanese studio for the first half of 2008, with 13 films passing the 1 billion yen mark.

- Gaga should also be slightly relieved that Climber’s High will probably make its money back, because they wouldn’t have to add it to the approximately USD$18.8 million losses they are forecasting from content alone.

- It’s Japanese Oricon charts time! Girl trio group Perfume gets their first #1 single, which is also the first #1 single for a technopop track. Meanwhile, Thelma Aoyama’s follow-up single to her mega-hit Soba ni Iru yo could garner only a 6th place debut. As for the album chart, Orange Range’s latest debuts as expected at first place, while the week’s only other new entry debuts all the way down at 9th place.

More at Tokyograph

- The Kimura Takuya drama CHANGE managed to gain one victory at the end of the Spring 2008 season. While it did not beat Gokusen for the top-rated drama of the season, it got the highest rating for any single episode all season with a 27.4% rating, and it even reached as high as 31.2% during its second half. Reportedly, the finale included a 22-minute speech by Kimutaku the Prime Minister, which sounds like a pretty ballsy move for a TV drama, and will likely be the most long-winded monologue ever recorded in a Japanese TV drama, and there are tons of those.

-  Universal is breathing a sigh of relief now, as The Mummy 3 has been officially cleared by Chinese censors after changes that, according to producer Bill Kong, were supposed “so minor that they scarcely amounted to a cut”, hinting that it may’ve simply cut some shots to make it suitable for all audiences. The film is expected to be released in China after the Olympics to increase its commercial potential.

- Hong Kong broadcaster TVB has signed a deal with Walt Disney to stream some of Disney’s American content on the TVB website free of charge 12 hours after their television broadcast in Hong Kong. Such shows may also include dramas from the Disney-owned ABC network such as Lost and Desperate Housewives. This, however, is not likely to prevent people from downloading shows within hours of their broadcast in America.

Ryuganji has more on director Akira Ogata’s first film since the 80s, which will begin shooting this month.

- (via Twitch) The Star Malaysia talks to John Woo about Red Cliff, in which he admits that he modeled some of his past action heroes after Three Kingdoms character Zhao Zilong.

-  Kaiju Shakedown reveals that when not making his “shit, piss, fart” comedies, Wong Jing actually produces some quality films. One of them is Ann Hui’s latest The Way We Are.

- A Japanese novel about a kid who bikes to search for his long-lost mother is coming to the big screen.

- Meanwhile, chalk one up for China, as a Chinese author has become the first winner of the prestigious Akutagawa Prize that is not a native speaker of Japanese.  The Akutagawa Prize is the top literary prize in Japan.

The Golden Rock - July 14th, 2008 Edition

- I have no idea where the Hong Kong Film blog get their Hong Kong box office stats from, but that’s who we’re going with today. John Woo’s Red Cliff continued to perform extremely well over the weekend, making HK$3.14 million from 57 screens (didn’t it open on 60?) for a 4-day weekend total of HK$10.69 million. I don’t remember a Chinese film performing this well since CJ7, which made HK$15 million from over 100 screens during its opening weekend during Chinese New Years. With somewhat positive word-of-mouth around the city (some are complaining about the unintentional hilarity, some are complaining about the two-part format), it has a good chance at hitting HK$40 million, despite competition from numerous Hollywood films. I don’t know how the complaint about less shows is relevant, as people will just show up some other time if they can’t get into certain showings. But of course, the endless barrage of Hollywood blockbuster means theaters will have to take something off their screens.

The other opener, the animated film Keroro 3, continues to do well with the kids audience, making HK$850,000 from 30 screens for a 4-day total of HK$2.95 million. It apparently didn’t take too much away from Kung Fu Panda, which still managed to make HK$1.25 million from 50 screens for a current 16-day total of HK$25.8 million, and heading straight to beat Enchanted as the highest-grossing foreign film this year. Hancock didn’t do all that badly in its second weekend, either, with HK$1.52 million from 43 screens with a 11-day total of HK$19.62 million. Wanted has passed the HK$20 million mark after 19 days, making 420,000 from 33 screens, though those screens are only giving the film two to three shows a day.

Kung Fu Hip-hop managed to stay on 13 screens, but it made only HK$17,000 for a 4-day total of HK$60,000. I’ll still be catching this…for some reason.

- Red Cliff has made a total of over USD$25 million in its opening weekend all over Asia, including over 800,000 admissions in Korea and over 100 million RMB from China. Remember the film will need to make roughly USD$160 million to even recoup its cost (much of it will have to come from foreign sales).

- And the Japanese attendance figures for this weekend just came in. Hana Yori Dango Final (which has now passed the 3 million viewer mark, which means it’s passed 3.6 billion yen) and Indiana Jones again take the top 2 spots, with Gegege No Kitaro 2 debuted at 3rd place. Climber’s High dropped slightly to 4th place, and the new Anpan Man movie saw a 6th place opening. Speed Racer slowly fades to obscurity at 7th place, and Ponyo will probably wipe the other weaker performers from the multiplexes this weekend. I hope Box Office Mojo will be updating some numbers soon.

Meanwhile, Eiga Consultant revealed that Speed Racer a similar fate in Japan as it has around the world. On 450 screens (some dubbed, some subbed), the overlooked racing film made only 105 million yen. Actually, Japanese audiences have reacted quite well to both subbed and dubbed versions of the film, so it may stick around a little longer.

- It’s Japanese drama ratings time! Remaining Spring 2008 drama CHANGE performed very well ahead of its final episode with a 22.3% rating. However, the finale will have to score over 35% for its final episode to beat Gokusen in season average, which means this will be the first Kimura Takuya drama to not take the top spot that season since 1997’s Gift. Meanwhile, Rookie was apparently not on the air this past weekend, and Hachi-One Diver stayed around its average rating with a 8.5% for its second-to-last episode.

As for the current Summer 2008 season,  Monday night drama Ando Natsu (at a rare Monday 8pm time slot) premiered with a 11.6% rating. Detective drama Shibatora premiered with 13%. Seigi no Mikata got started with a 13.2 rating, Yottsu no Uso started with 11.8% rating, and Yasuko to Kenji saw a 12.3% rating for its premiere. For ongoing dramas, Monster Parents failed to hold onto its audience with a drop to 11.6% in its second week. The same went for last week’s ratings winner Code Blue, which dropped down to a 16% rating after a spectacular 21% premiere. The biggest drop went to the lottery drama Loto 6 de 3 Oku 2 Senmanen Ateta Otoko with ex-GTO Takashi Sorimachi, which lost almost half its audience with a 6.8% rating for its second episode. Tomorrow saw a bit of a drop as well, with a 13.9% second episode after its debut saw a 16.8% rating.

All Japanese drama sypnosis can be found at Tokyograph.

- The people behind the Shanghai International Film Festival and the Shanghai World Expo will be setting up a database of young talents around the world.

- Mark Russell over at Korea Pop Wars gives his mini-review of Kim Jee-Woon’s The Good, The Bad, and the Weird. He also compares the Cannes and Korean versions of the film.

- Hiroyuki Ikeuchi joined the cast of Wilson Yip-Donnie Yen’s Yip Man. In the film, he plays a Japanese soldier who has a showdown with the Yenster himself.

In other casting news, Hiroshi Tamaki will star in another one of those Japanese nationalistic war film, playing a submarine captain during World War II.

- Japanese distributor Movie Eye has announced their release schedule for the rest of 2008 and 2009, one of which includes Nightmare Detective II, which has been pushed to 2009.

- Wanted to post this yesterday: Million Dollar Girl with Yu Aoi will be heading abroad for a festival screening before opening in Japan. Also, there are apparently rumors of Aoi’s behavior on set her TV drama Osen.

- Twitch has a teaser for the Japanese horror flick End Call. What the hell is that all about?

- Some new Hong Kong trailers out there. First is the Stephy underwear flick La Lingerie, then it’s the Charlene Choi starrer Butterfly Lovers, directed by Jingle Ma.

- A Japanese television documentary show that follows celebrities doing homestay abroad is coming to an end, as producers have decided that the show has fulfilled its purpose.

- New York Asian Film Festival co-organizer Brian Naas posts his thoughts about the festival, as well as reveal the results of the audience award, which went (deservedly) to Fine Totally Fine.

The Golden Rock - July 13th, 2008 Edition

- And more reviews are rolling in for John Woo’s Red Cliff. Both reviews are from Twitch contributors, first from Singapore-based Stefan, then one from The Visitor.

Meanwhile, head honcho Todd Brown posts a review of Kenta Fukasaku’s X-Cross.

-Another Japanese comic with fish is heading to the big screen, this time apparently with some professional fishing action enhanced by cgi.

- And here’s another story about Danny Glover wanting to bridge the gap between Japan and American with The Harimaya Bridge, though this article provides a lot more information about the writer-director.

- Western director Jennifer Lynch has signed on to direct an India-based horror film that will be shot simultaenously in Hindi and English.

- The New York Asian Film Festival has announced its jury awards, with Shinji Aoyama’s Sad Vacation surprisingly taking the Grand Prize.  The audience awards will be announced this week.

- The Daily Yomiuri looks at the upcoming Tokyo Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival.

- Nippon Cinema links us to more clips from the upcoming cell phone novel adaptation Akai Ito.

- The blog Toronto J-Film Pow-wow has a short write-up by Friend of Golden Rock Jason Gray about what Japanese film got him hooked.

- Japan Times looks at the Japanese government’s slow progress in promoting the media arts of Japanese culture both abroad and locally.

- Model-turned-Japanese pop star Leah Dizon will be launching her first nationwide tour. The biggest shock is that she actually wrote the lyrics for 10 songs in her latest album. Since she’s still trying to learn Japanese, I assume that they’ll be in English, right?

- Wrapping the weekend up with Hong Kong film news (this being Lovehkfilm), the Hong Kong newspapers suddenly all decided to spill information about the new Alan Mak-Felix Chong film starring Eason Chan and Sammi Cheng. Retitled “Big Investigation” (translated, of course), it’s supposed to be a comedy about a mob boss who needs detective Sammi Cheng to help bring back his son.

Here’s the Hong Kong Film blog coverage.

The Golden Rock - July 9th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Japanese Oricon charts time! GReeeN!!! rules the album charts for the second week in a row, fending off newcomers Ellegarden and Shiina Ringo (debuting at 2nd and 4th place, respectively). Meanwhile, YUI’s latest takes the top spot at the singles chart in its first week.

More over at Tokyograph.

- Not surprisingly, Kung Fu Panda has now made 135 million yuan in China, making it the highest-grossing animated film in China ever.

- Ryuganji translate an editorial that puts into simple numbers why TV drama adaptations will continue in Japanese cinema as long as just a fraction of its audience goes to see the films.

- Grady Hendrix of Kaiju Shakedown writes about Asian actors participation in the latest Batman flick, including thespian/photo-addict Edison Chen’s one line in the film.

- Under “casting news” today, Jun Matsumoto will be starring in a drama special that is part of Nippon TV’s annual charity program. Matsumoto, hot off the success of Hana Yori Dango Final, is one of the two hosts of the 24-hour program.

Meanwhile, Takako Matsu will be starring alongside Tananobu Asano in a new film based on a story by Osamu Daza. Actually, I don’t believe this is Matsu’s first starring role, since she did star in April Story, which runs just barely over feature film running time of 60 minutes.

Lastly, Hideaki Ito will be playing the villain in the troubled Yoichi Sai production The Legend of Kamui. Wait a minute, Ekin Cheng is in it too!

- Major Japanese film distributor Shochiku has finally started its own Youtube channel for their own trailers. My Youtube source got shut down recently, but trailers are not hard to come by if one searches harder for them anyway. They’re at least on official website (with the exception of Ponyo and many Hong Kong films, of course).

- Speaking of trailers, Nippon Cinema has the full-length trailer for Tetsuya Nakashima’s Paco and the Magic Picture Book, and I’d say it makes the film look a lot more promising than its teasers did.

-  China will be the shooting location for a new film that will be shot using the innovative 4k digital technology, which holds 4 times the data of a usual digital movie. Of course, the word “dragon” is required to be in the title.

-The poor 400 orphan films that lost their home when UK distributor Tartan went under 2 weeks ago have found a new home with a new distributor, who will continue to buy films with the Tartan name attached.

The Golden Rock - July 3rd, 2008 Edition

Heading off to Tokyo one last time tomorrow, and heading back to Hong Kong on Sunday, so this will probably be the last entry until Monday.

- Japan’s Emobile has pulled their latest ad, which features their mascot, a monkey, at the podium of a crowded rally for change, which is meant to resemble the Barack Obama campaign. Of course, Americans believe that they’re the center of the world and think that the Japanese actually know about way to insult an African American, one of which is to compare them to monkeys. If Americans are that culturally sensitive, there wouldn’t Rush Hour movies, Kung Fu Panda, and I Survived a Japanese Game Show. Then again, if Japanese are that culturally sensitive, one of the comedians on a variety show wouldn’t have called Bobby Ologun “Jero” and “Billy” (as in Billy Blank).

- According to Apple Daily, Stephen Chow is teaming up with a Taiwanese film company to bring back Journey to the West (which he explored in the Chinese Odyssey films). According to the Hong Kong Film blog, Chow wanted to take the monk role, but was pressured by the financiers to take on the Monkey King role once more. The way the blog spins this story is that Chow is suffering from the critical bashing from CJ7 because he appeased the Mainland censors too much, and now needs to dig back out old material to please his audience and his financiers again. No word on whether he’ll be directing or just acting like he did with the previous films.

- Kaiju Shakedown clears up that the so-called Warlords DVD from yesterday’s post is not the Jet Li-Andy Lau-Peter Chan Warlords.

- Twitch has a 5-minute-plus promo clip from Mamoru Oshii’s Sky Crawlers.

They also have that 9-minute promo clip for John Woo’s Red Cliff that was shown at Cannes. The Oriental Daily asked stars what they thought of the film at the premiere, and they apparently all liked it. Then again, what with saying the trouble one can get in from saying the wrong thing and this being Oriental Daily, take it with a grain of salt.

- Yesterday I reported that Taiwan may lift their ban of Mainland performers, and now Chinese broadcasting organization Phoenix Broadcasting has applied again for landing rights on the island after Mainland media was banned from the island in 2005.

- Jason Gray points out that the official website for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata has been updated with a classy new trailer. The trailer is also on Youtube if you want a slightly larger version.

- Variety’s Derek Elley has a review of Help, which is being touted as China’s first all-out horror film.

See you all back from Hong Kong on Monday.

 
 
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