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Archive for the ‘casting’ Category

The Golden Rock - September 28th, 2008 Edition

I don’t try to pretend that I know everything about every Asian country’s film industry. One of the industries that I don’t know so much about is Thailand’s, which is why I’ve added a new blog to the blogroll to fill the void. Wisekwai’s Thai Film Journal is an oft-updated blog that has excellent information about that Thai film industry that often doesn’t get reported here, mostly because of a lack of knowledge on my part. This is one of resources that I will be linking more to the future, but for the most comprehensive English-language resources on the Thai film industry, this is a blog worth checking out daily.

- Five films entered Hong Kong box office charts on Thursday opening day, with four of them major wide releases. Connected, director Benny Chan’s Hong Kong remake of the Hollywood film Cellular, opened on top with HK$546,000 from 40 screens, and should easily pass the HK$3 million mark by the end of the weekend. Depending on word-of-mouth, the action thriller should end up with over HK$10 million, and may even have a chance at matching Invisible Target’s HK$13 million+ take. It’ll make all its money back in China anyway.

The Japanese comic adaptation 20th Century Boys opened on 32 screens with less showings because of its 142-minute running (but saw a ticket price inflation to make up for it. It ended up making HK$371,000, and saw a lower per-screen average than Connected. It might hit the HK$2 million mark by the end of the weekend, and it definitely won’t do as well as the Death Note films, which were also produced by NTV in Japan. Hollywood thriller Eagle Eye didn’t do that well, either, with only HK$360,000 from 38 screens on opening day.

Quite appropriately named is The Disaster Movie. With a gross of HK$90,000 from 21 screens, the result is no less than a disaster. Not doing so well either is the Korean blockbuster thriller The Chaser, which made just HK$16,000 from 5 screens on opening day. More on Monday when the weekend numbers are out.

- The Chinese film industry continues to expand this year, with Chinese films’ grosses for the first eight months of the year up 31% from the same time period last year. The shocker: Kung Fu Dunk is one of the three films that make up 40% of the total gross for local films. I guess word-of-mouth doesn’t have as big of an effect as one might think.

- Under “Bangkok International Film Festival” news today, Wise Kwai looks at the festival so far, including why head juror Eric Khoo had to leave the festival early. Meanwhile, Brian over at Asian Cinema - While on the Road has short reviews of the films he’s seen so far.

- Also, Taiwan’s Golden Horse Festival has just unveiled two new non-competition sections, which will bring high-profile films such as Clint Eastwood’s latest Changeling and Masayuki Suo’s I Just Didn’t Do It to the festival in November. If time allows, The Golden Rock will once again live-blog the awards as it’s playing on TV come December 6th.

- It’s reviews time! Japan Time’s Mark Schilling gives a rave for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata, which I’ll be watching at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival. On the other hand, The Daily Yomiuri’s Ikuko Kitagawa doesn’t seem to like “the pregnant 11-year old movie” Kodomo no Kodomo so much.

- Grady Hendrix at Kaiju Shakedown rounds up all the wacky happenings in the world of Asian cinema this week.

- EEG has finally jumped on damage control over the delay of Derek Yee’s The Shinjuku Incident, which is said to feature Jackie Chan in his first purely dramatic role. The film was supposed to be released this month, but rumors have been going around that China’s censorship authority is keeping the film in limbo, resulting in its delay. Instead, EEG says that it’s still in post-production and won’t be ready until the first quarter of 2009. I expect them to push this out for Lunar New Year, a popular time slot for Jackie Chan films. At least in Hong Kong.

- Chinese 5th Generation director Tian Zhuangzhuang slightly bored me with his last film The Go Master. Now, he’s upping the good-looking people factor for the guys by casting Maggie Q for his new period action film. Didn’t he learn anything from watching Three Kingdoms?

- Nippon Cinema is back with the full-length trailer for Swing Girls director Shinobu Yaguchi’s latest film Happy Flight. I trust the actual film to be better than the trailer.

This week’s Televiews column on the Daily Yomiuri looks at long-running reality shows departing the airwaves on Japanese TV.

- According to the Hong Kong Film Blog (who got their information from today’s Oriental Daily - not always the most trustworthy source of news), Emperor Motion Pictures may be asking Louis Koo, Barbie Hsu, and director Benny Chan to reunite for a romantic comedy after the success of Connected. Maybe she’ll be less annoying in a romantic comedy lead than as a damsel in distress.

The Golden Rock - September 13th, 2008 Edition

- It’s reviews time again! Lovehkfilm just got updated with some new reviews. From Our Boss Kozo is the review for the Ekin-Shawn Yue two-fer Rule No. 1 and a review for Lam “fat dude in Shaolin Soccer” Chi Chung’s The Luckiest Man, which I thankfully missed out on. From A Man Called Sanjuro™ is a review for the Shaw Bros. martial arts film The New One-Armed Swordsman and the review for the Singaporean blockbuster 881. And from yours truly is a review for the Japanese talky flick Best Wishes for Tomorrow. And here’s an article from Japan Times on the film that should be an interesting companion to the review. I also just found this column written by the film’s co-writer about the film’s main character.From Variety’s Dennis Harvey are two reviews for recent Japanese films. First is Hirokazu Kore-eda’s family drama Still Walking, then it’s Ryosuke Hashiguchi’s excellent All Around Us

.- Sean Penn’s Into the Wild opened this past weekend in Japan on a limited 26 screens. While it made a less-than-impressive 13.73 million, Eiga Consultant reports that it actually played to sold-out shows at the three Tokyo screens, and that each of the screen actually attracted a different demographic.

-  It’s trailers time! This time both clips are from Twitch. First is the trailer for Kim Ki Duk’s latest film Sad Dream, which stars Jo Odagir speaking in his native Japanese instead of having no lines like Chang Chen in Breath. Then there’s a Mandarin-dubbed trailer for Wu Jing’s co-directorial debut Legendary Assassin, which features several Gold Label stars such as Alex “I used to swim at the Olympics” Fong and a cameo by Ronald Cheng because head honcho Paco Wong produced it.

- Japanese drama Code Blue just wrapped up this week with an OK-19.5% rating, which solidfies its spot as the top-rated drama of the Summer 2008 season. Guess what that means? A special one-off episode during New Years!

- Hollywood’s Focus Features have signed up to co-produce Park Chan Wook’s latest film along with its Korean producer. And since Focus Features is actually a division of Universal, this means that Universal is in on it too. It’s the first time a Korean film is being made with Hollywood money, although last year CJ Entertainment co-produced the American film August Rush.

- Kenichi “L” Matsuyama looks to be going into his indie film mode, signing up for a new film with an “ultra” cool name.

- This week’s Televiews column on The Daily Yomiuri goes into the wrapping up of Summer 2008 dramas and a possible Japanese remake of Winter Sonata starring the son of ex-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

- The management of Japanese idols group AKB48 has a real good reason to be pissed: The latest single, which isn’t even finished yet, has already been leaked on the internet ahead of its October release date.

- Hoga Central has an interview with Kaori Momoi and Takashi Miike to coincide with the release of Sukuyaki Western Django in the United States.

- The 2nd annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards is looking at a wider competition this year, as it has received double the amount of submissions compared to last year.

The Golden Rock - September 5th, 2008 Edition

- It’s looking like it’ll be a rather quiet weekend at the Hong Kong box office. The Pang Brothers’ self-remake of Bangkok Dangerous has a first-place opening on opening day. However, it only made HK$307,000 from 34 screens, which means it’ll likely make somewhere in the region of only HK$2 million over the weekend. That’s actually very good, since only 2 out of 5 opening films made it to the top ten on opening day. The other film is the Hollywood thriller The Strangers, which made just HK$60,000 from 15 screens. More when the numbers come out on Monday.

- Despite the delay, The Mummy 3 has opened huge in China, making USD$2 million on opening day. That number is similar to the opening for The Forbidden Kingdom and The Warlords, both of which has gone on to be blockbusters. The opening is also Universal’s best opening day in China. The Hollywood adventure film will end up being profitable thanks to international gross alone, as it has even yet to make USD$100 million in the States.

- Under “the latest way to make Shakespeare spin in his grave” news today, Avex and Kansai TV will collaborate on producing a drama that will consist of several modern versions of Shakespeare’s plays, and all of them will star the idol group AAA.

- It’s trailers time! Nippon Cinema has the trailer for Seven Nights, the latest by The Mourning Forest director Naomi Kawase. Twitch has a trailer for My Dear Enemy, Korean director Lee Yoon Gi’s follow-up to his much-admired Ad Lib Night. This time, he even has award-winning actress Jeon Do Yeon along for the ride. Twitch also has the trailer for Choi Ho’s Go Go 70s, which looks at the music of that turbulent period in contempoary Korean history.

- With the Venice Film Festival wrapping up tomorrow, The Hollywood Reporter looks at a competition happening within the competition films.

- Kaiju Shakedown looks at an American-produced movie that was shot in Hong Kong and didn’t feature a dude in a bat. It does feature zombies, though.

- Lastly, the Associated Press’s Min Lee writes about Taiwansese-American musician Joanna Wang’s success in Asia, which has led to a sales figure 220,000 copies in Asia. Her album was even on the top 10 of the international charts in HMV Japan.

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 22nd, 2008 Edition

- Japanese cinema attendance figures are in. As expected, Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea takes the top spot, with the latest Pokemon movie right behind. As a result, everything gets bumped down by two places, except for One Million Yen Girl, which managed to debut at 10th place. I’d say more when the numbers come out, but I have no idea when that will be.

Jason Gray does have the 3-day holiday weekend numbers for Ponyo. With 1.57 billion yen, the take is actually 96.6% of Spirited Away’s 3-day holiday weekend take. And anyone who wants to rain on Ghibli’s parade should know that Ponyo’s admission was actually 101.6% of Spirited Away’s opening weekend, although that’s also attributed to the larger screen count.

-  Meanwhile, Korean box office figures are also in. As I reported several times already, The Good, the Bad, and the Weird opened huge and is now the third biggest Korean film debut in history (why, oh, why couldn’t it beat D-War?!). Also, now Song Kang Ho is in two of the top three biggest openings in Korean film history as well.

More at Korea Pop Wars

- It’s Japanese drama ratings time. The Spring 2008 drama season has officially wrapped up. As mentioned before, CHANGE managed a huge finale rating of 27.4% for a season average of 21.7%. Meanwhile, Fuji’s Saturday 11pm drama Hachi-One Diver wrapped with just an 8.3% rating, averaging an 8.4% rating for the season. This is the lowest-rated drama at that time slot since Fuji began it a year ago.  The only show left is Rookies, which will wrap this Saturday with a 2-hour episode, even though TBS initially announced that they were not going by a typical season schedule for it.

Most of the Summer 2008 season dramas have started, with Gakkou ja Oshierarenai premiering last week with a 9.9% rating. Meanwhile, Monster Parents has rebounded to a 13% for its 3rd episode, Seigi no Mikata dropped slightly to a 10.1%, Maou continues to drop with a 9.2% for its third episode, Tomorrow also drops slightly to a 13.5%, and detective drama Shibatora also drops slightly to a 12.2%

Code Blue stayed the course with a 16% rating for the second week in a row, Yasuko to Kenji actually saw an increase to 13.1% for its second episode, and the well-received Yottsu no Uso saw a small drop to 10.6%.

How Much Money has Red Cliff Made in Hong Kong?

According to now.com, Red Cliff has made HK$19.71 million after 12 days. 20 million, here we come!

Variety reports that despite the impact  other major summer films had on Red Cliff’s second weekend around Asia, it has now made USD$45 million, which means the two films combined should earn the investors most of their money back.

- Kou Shibasaki and Masaharu Fukuyama will be teaming up again in the studio for their second music collaboration, this time for the film version of their hit drama Galileo.  I hope it’s better than their first song together.

- Don Brown over at Ryuganji reviews the action film Chameleon, starring Tatsuya Fujiwara.

-  With the movie business losing money, Korean film companies are turning to the stage, turning films into musicals in the new musical boom of Korea.

- Tomoworo Taguchi will be making his second Jun Miura adaptation, and Lily Franky shows that he has the acting bug with his second starring role after All Around Us.

-Ryuganji also looks more at Satoshi Miki’s latest, although both videos embedded on the site have been taken down already.

- Disney has acquired their first Bollywood film for North American release, even though it will go straight to video.

- A theater in Beijing has become the first in the world using a laser projector. The technology has not been installed in theaters in American and other countries because of safety regulations, which explain why China managed to take the first step.

- In a further proof to show that Smap is everywhere in Japanese pop culture, the boy band will be singing the theme song for one major network’s Olympic coverage. One of the members will also be a caster for that channel’s coverage for the third Olympic in a row.

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 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 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 - June 25th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Japanese Oricon charts time! This week, Johnny’s Tegomass scored the top-ranking single, while GReeeN! is still at 2nd place. Also, Korean boy group SS501 managed a 4th place debut, with the DOZHI-T’s single now poised to be the new R&B long-term hit of the year.

On the albums chart, B’z sells a ton of its latest compilation for a top spot debut, while Bump of Chicken (that name still doesn’t make sense to me) has a second place debut with its latest B-side collection.

More at Tokyograph.

- The Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival has announced the lineup for its latest edition, which will include Kelvin Tong’s Rule No. 1 (Ekin Cheng and Shawn Yue teams up!) and the 2008 thriller hit The Chaser.

- Instead of going from one site to another for new Japanese trailers original found on Youtube anyway, I’ve found one of the major sources - the cinemanian channel on Youtube. So from now on, I’ll mostly be linking new Japanese film trailers to them, unless there’s something not found there.

With that said, there’s a teaser already up for Akai Ito, the film-drama adaptation of a successful cell phone novel.

- There’s also a teaser for Ryoo Seung-Wan’s Dachimawa Lee, which shows absolutely nothing from the actual film.

- Speaking of Youtube, the Washington Post writes about Japanese internet video counterpart Nico Nico Douga, which display user comments in the form of floating comments across the screen. In addition to that annoying feature, the excessive otaku content makes it a site I have an account for, but don’t access so much.

- Despite Hong Kong’s government’s promises to help the ailing movie industry, not every department is apparently so willing to help out when the time comes. Hong Kong Film blog reports that the new Stephy Tang comedy about underwear could not film a scene involving Stephy running in the middle of hanging underwear at their planned site because Hong Kong’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department invoked a regulation banning hanging clothing to stop the filming at the park. They also stated that the production cannot use “illegal means to embarrass the government”, whatever the hell that means.

I’ve run into the LSCD personally in our school’s productions, and their policy of requiring any production (even a zero budget student one) to buy a third-party insurance of HKD$3 million in order to even apply to film at their parks is definitely one of the major pains of low-budget film productions in Hong Kong. That’s why I’m not particularly surprised that this would happen to even a major film production.

- Japanese singer misono, aka Koda Kumi’s sister, is appearing in the previously mentioned Japan-US co-production The Harimiya Bridge, about a man going to Japan to investigate his son’s death. Misono was on a variety show last week where she had to stand at Shibuya Crossing and wait for people to recognize her. Only three people walked up to talk to her within 30 minutes, while her competitors saw 25-70 in the same time range.

- China Star, a major film investor in Hong Kong cinema(including many Milky Way films), is reducing their stakes in film production. This follows news last week that major investors were backing out of their commitment to Universe Entertainment.

- With the Hana Yori Dango film opening this weekend, another popular “Hana” is coming back in the spotlight. Comic Hanazakari no Kimitachi He will return for a special one-shot issue next month in comic form.

- Universal Music has signed up as Disney Music’s distributor in the Asian region, except for Japan, where they can presumably do their own distribution.

- The new teaser poster for Patrick Kong’s first film after his “Stephy-Alex ‘The Swimmer’ Fong Trilogy” is now in Hong Kong, and the text looks to suggest that it’ll be a romantic thriller. I can’t even see that damn English title. Anyway, the text on the poster roughly translate to this:

“After Marriage With a Fool, Love is Not All Around, L For Love L For Lies, a new shocking romance.

(insert big-texted title here)

A Partick Kong Film

Love turns into poison, in love with revenge
This Summer, love turns into fear”

Oh, dear.

Yukie Nakama will be the second ever female lead for the yearly TV Tokyo New Year period drama, which apparently runs every year for 10 straight hours on January 2nd.

- Japanese novelist Junichi Watanab, whose works has been turned into films such as Lost Paradise and Love Without End, is suing a Chinese publishing company for publishing translated versions of his works without buying the copyright for all of them. He should be glad the company even bothered to buy one in the first place.

- A Beijing hotel has taken back its offer to pay foreign journalists for positive stories after the actual offer became an international news story. Too bad, I would’ve taken them up on the offer.

 
 
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