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Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

The Golden Rock - February 17th, 2009 Edition

- We may just permanently go with the Hong Kong Filmart numbers for the Hong Kong box office. In the last week, Yes Man easily took the top spot in its first 4 days, making HK$4.2 million from 34 screens (including previews). HK$10 million is likely, but not sure if it’ll go much past that. Bryan Singer’s Valkerie couldn’t attract the Valentine’s Day crowd, making HK$2.8 million from 38 screens over 4 days. It’s not bad in terms of day-to-day average, but it’s not likely to get past the HK$7 million mark. It’s better than Lions for Lambs, but Tom Cruise has done far better before.

Sam Mendes’ Revolutionary Road did fairly well in its 14-screen psuedo-limited release, making HK$1.16 million over 4 days, though I wonder how it’ll do once all those other love movies hit Hong Kong theaters. One of those love movies, Patrick Kong’s Love Connected, did very well during its two days of preview showings over the weekend, making HK$926,000 from 37 screens. Could this be Patrick Kong’s return after two duds?

One romance that didn’t do so well is Ivy Ho’s Claustrophobia. From 12 screens, it made HK$574,000 over 4 days, with it making barely over HK$10,000 per screen each day.

-With the holiday weekend, there’s no Japan numbers up at Box Office Mojo yet, so we’ll have to do with the cinema attendence figure for now. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has ensured its long-run success by overtaking 20th Century Boys II for the top spot in its second weekend. Kankuro Kudo’s Shonen Merikensack had to do with a 3rd place opening with about 214 million yen.  It’s nowhere near the opening of the similar-themed Detroit Metal City, but it is 171% of the opening of another Aoi Miyazaki’s starrer Heavenly Forest. It is now aiming for a 1.5 billion yen take, which has to be somewhat underwhelming after Miyazaki’s very popular drama starring role in NHK’s Atsuhime.

Meanwhile, the Keanu Reeves starrer Street Kings (renamed Fake City in Japan) opened at 9th place, which is fair since it wasn’t a major release anyway.

- Feng Xiaogang, Chen Kaige, Ge You, and even Andy Lau has been recruited for a new film, except they will all be actors this time around. Why such a big cast, you ask? Because it’s the PRC’s 60th anniversary extravaganza!

- Speaking of nationalism, Peter Chan will be joining the director of said extravaganza film to form a production company with Polybona, also known as the “entertainment business arm of the Chinese army”. They plan to make 15 films in the next three years. I hope at least one of them will be Peter Chan’s.

- The insane 4-hour epic that is Sion Sono’s Love Exposure managed to win two awards at the Berlin Film Festival. I’m crossing my fingers that it’ll be at the Hong Kong International Film Festival this year.

- The controversial Japanese film Children in the Dark will finally have a screening in Bangkok when it screens at the Foreign Correspondant Club in Bangkok. The film, about child prostitution in Thailand, was pulled from the Bangkok International Film Festival last year after it was deemed inappropriate.

- Meanwhile, straight from Derek Yee’s mouth is why his new film The Shinjuku Incident won’t be in Chinese cinemas.

- Usually, only Japanese commercial television stations would bring their drama series to the big screen. But now, even NHK is joining the cinema trend, with a spin-off of their successful finance drama Vulture.

- In more TV-related news, Smap’s Masahiro Nakai (the one who always sings off-key) will be starring in his first Fuji TV Monday 9pm slot drama for the first time since 1998. The Fuji Monday 9pm slot is known as the strongest drama timeslot on Japanese TV, although its victory has not been consistent lately because of shows like Innocent Love (Voice is the current Winter 2009 leader, though). Even Monday 9pm staple Kimura Takuya’s Change lost out in average ratings to Gokusen.

-  Sad news: The house that apparently inspired Hayao Miyazaki when he did Totoro has burned down.And another piece of my childhood goes away.

The Golden Rock - January 12th, 2009 Edition

Happy new year again, all! Back from a trip over break, and now back in Hong Kong ready for a new year of Golden Rock blogging. News will be a bit light, as I’m trying to ease back into the blogging routine. Good thing today was a holiday in Japan, so box office and drama ratings stats will be coming in slowly.

- Ip Man leads an amazing 4th weekend at the Hong Kong box office. On Sunday, Wilson Yip’s action/biopic took in another HK$619,000 from 38 screens for a 25-day total of HK$23.91 million. HK$25 million should be no problem, though I think Red Cliff should take away momentum that 30 million is not going to be possible. In a bit of a surprise, Milkyway’s PTU spin-off film Tactical Unit - Comrade in Arms nearly won the weekend with HK$614,900 from 32 screens for a 4-day weekend total of HK$2.28 million, and it may end up wrapping up with about HK$5 million, which would exceed PTU’s original theatrical gross.

The weekend’s other wide opener, Australia, couldn’t score any blockbuster number due to a limited amount of showings and multiplex putting it on their smaller screens. With a ticket price inflation due to length, the epic romance made HK$584,000 from 32 screens for a total of HK$2.49 million from 4 days of wide release and several preview showings over the holidays.

Meanwhile, most of the New Year day openers have suffered steep drops. Alan Mak/Felix Chong’s Lady Cop and Papa Crook, which is one of the most blatant example of Chinese censorship interference of Hong Kong cinema, made only HK$387,000 from 39 screens and has made HK$6.51 million after 11 days. Tony Jaa’s Ong Bak 2 suffered an even worse fate, making only HK$159,000 from 35 screens (many of those playing a reduced number of showings) and has made only HK$4.93 million after 11 days, certainly a bit underwhelming considering Tom Yom Goong made distributor Edko over HK$10 million.

The only film from New Year’s day that’s still doing well is Forever Enthralled. Despite the Hong Kong press making up stories about underwhelming box office, it’s actually doing fairly decent business for a film that was released only on 11 screens with limited showings. On Sunday, the Chen Kaige film made HK$171,000 from 11 screens for a 11-day total of HK$2.26 million. That’s an average of HK$205,000 per day from 11 screens, and anything that can still average a HK$15,000+ per-screen daily is definitely not flopping.

Other box office totals: Madagascar 2 - HK$17.92 million after 24 days. Twilight - HK$16.41 million after 24 day. Suspect X - 11.94 million after 19 days. Bedtime Stories - HK$8.97 million after 18 days.

- Variety’s Derek Elley sends in a fairly positive review of John Woo’s Red Cliff, Part II. He calls the two movies combined “one of the great Chinese costume epics of all time”. Part II better be damn good enough to earn that title in my book.

-  Who didn’t expect this to happen? The Japanese comedy-drama Departures was the big winner at another Japanese film awards, this time the Kinema  Junpo Awards. The complete list of winners, including their top 10 domestic and foreign films, can be found here.

- They keep trying, but it won’t stop - major Chinese film producer Huayi Brothers is suing China’s top web portals for spreading illegal copies of their biggest films. Forget it, these days I’m being ridiculed for being a consumer of legit DVDs.

- Even though it’s not doing great business in Japan (roughly 650 million yen as of the weekend before last), Shochiku and Fuji TV are planning an Asia-wide release of their film-TV project Threads of Destiny. I don’t know how just releasing the film will work if the story is meant to be connected with the TV drama, which hasn’t been shown legally outside of Japan.

-Bless the good folks at Tokyograph for putting up their guide to the Winter 2009 Japanese dramas.

- Hong Kong director Derek Yee is now officially in the running for the Golden Rock of the Year after he admits that his latest film The Shinjuku Incident will give up the Mainland China market and go straight to Japan in March and Hong Kong in April because cutting the violence for a Mainland-approved “harmonious” version will just lead to disgruntled audience screaming “fraud!”. Good call, Mr. Yee and Emperor Films.

For those that don’t know, The Shinjuku Incident is the long-awaited Derek Yee film that features Jackie Chan in his first dramatic/non-action role.

- Danny Boyle, who just picked up a Golden Globe for Best Director, reveals that he’s been asked to direct a remake of Park Chan-wook’s Lady Vengeance. No word whether he said yes or no.

- Japanese actor Jo Odagiri’s first feature film as a director has been invited to the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The actor has been working on the film since it started shooting in the summer of 2006, and he finally completed the film two months ago.

The Golden Rock - December 14th, 2008 Edition

- It’s reviews time! From the legendary Boss Kozo are the reviews for Wu Jing’s directorial debut Legendary Assassin and the Zhou Xun-starring film Equation of Love and Death. Also, there are two reviews up for Tony Jaa’s Muay Thai epic Ong Bak 2, one from Wise Kwai and the other from Brian of Asian Cinema - While on the Road. Lastly, Japan Times’ Mark Schilling reviews Shinya Tsukamoto’s Nightmare Detective 2.

- Japanese film distributor Toho declares that 2008 is their biggest year ever, thanks to Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo On a Cliff by the Sea, the 7 billion yen-plus take of Hana Yori Dango Final, and other successful TV-to-silver-screen film adaptation.

- Chen Kaige’s Forever Enthralled, which had a pretty good opening weekend in China last week, is heading to this year’s Berlin Film Festival in competition. I’m sure it’ll be better received than The Promise already.

- A brand-new teaser for Takashi Miike’s Crows Zero II just popped up online. This one actually features footage from the film. After having a ton of blast with the first film, I say bring on the hyperactive high school beatdowns.

- The assistant director of the Olympic opening ceremony is taking John Woo’s Red Cliff and making it an opera for the stage. However, he hasn’t revealed how exactly he’ll pull it off yet.

- Under “Japanese cinema casting news” today, Etsushi Toyokawa and Hiroko Yakushimari will be starring in Isao Yukisada’s latest film. Yukisada was an assistant director for Shunji Iwai and directed Crying Out For Love in the Center of the World, one of Japan’s highest-grossing romantic melodrama ever.

Korean boy group TVXQ (or Tohoshinki in Japan) will be appearing in a performance and singing the theme song within the manga-based film Subaru, the new film from Hong Kong director Lee Chi-Ngai. Lee directed Lost and Found, starring Kelly Chan and Michael Wong, and last made Magic Kitchen, starring Sammi Cheng.

- This week’s Televiews column on the Daily Yomiuri looks at the upcoming historical dramas and other programs coming to Japanese TV this month before the end of the year musical extravaganza Kohaku Uta Gassen.

- Representing Asia at the CineMart market during the International Film Festival Rotterdam in January 2009 are Korea’s Gina Kim, Japan’s Nobuhiro Yamashita, and China’s Zhang Yuan.

- Ryuganji has the second part of his translation of a Japanese magazine article on the Japanese film business in the 21st century.

The Golden Rock - September 8th, 2008 Edition

- Guess who just won the weekend box office in Hong Kong again? For the 4th weekend in a row, Journey to the Center of the Earth takes the top spot, making HK$816,000 from 34 screens on Sunday (again, much of it from the higher-priced 3D showings) for a 25-day total of HK$30.92 million. Brendan Frasier is now the most bankable star in Hong Kong this year, with his two films making a total of HK$68 million and counting in Hong Kong.

This means that the Pang Brothers’ remake of Bangkok Dangerous got bumped down to second place, making almost HK$520,000 from 34 screens for a 4-day weekend total of just HK$1.85 million. The film will likely finish on par with the brothers’ recent efforts at around HK$5-6 million. The other only opener that made it to the top 10 is the horror film The Strangers, which made HK$103,000 from 15 screens for a 4-day weekend total of HK$390,000.  According to the Hong Kong Film blog, the three Hong Kong-based films - The Luckiest Man, A Decade of Love, and Rule #1 - made 4-day weekend totals of HK$96,000, HK$80,000, and HK$78,000 from 12, 11, and 5 screens, respectively. The award-winning Rule #1 can be said to be the most successful one, because it’s only play on 5 screens, and at least two of those screens only play the film once a day at 11:45pm.

As for holdovers, Rec barely hangs in there for its second weekend, making HK$295,000 from 28 screens on Sunday for a 11-day total of HK$4.85 million. Cyborg She is showing surprising legs in its third weekend, still making HK$204,000 from 16 screens for an 18-day total of HK$4.47 million. Not hanging in so well are Hana Yori Dango Final, which made just HK$76,000 from 14 screens (with a reduced amount of a screenings) for a 11-day total of HK$1.18 million, and Partick Kong’s Forgive and Forget, which made just HK$59,000 from 22 screens (also with reduced amount of screenings) for a 11-day total of HK$1.53 million.

- In Japan cinema attendance chart, 20th Century Boys have come back from behind for a boost to 1st place in its second weekend, with Ponyo taking 2nd place and Hancock dropping all the way to 3rd place. Sex and the City also got a boost up to 5th place, which shows that it’s got staying power, even if it’s only limited to the urban areas. Nim’s Island debuts at 6th place, while Goo Goo the Cat shows that cats are just not as popular as dogs in the cinema with an 8th place debut.

- In an amazing turn of events, the Taiwanese Academy Awards representative Cape No. 7 saw a boost of 77% in box office gross for its second weekend, and has thankfully now surpassed Kung Fu Dunk as the highest-grossing local film in Taiwan.

- That was quick: Some Summer 2008 dramas are already wrapping up their runs, though the drama ratings aren’t getting any better. First, Sono Otoko, Fukushocho ended with a barely above-average 11.9% rating for its last episode and a season average rating of 11.8%. That’s considerably lower than the 13.5% average of the first series. Yottsu no Uso takes an early ending with only 9 episodes, wrapping up with an above-average 9.6% rating for its final episode and a 9.3% season average. The Takashi Sorimachi-starring flop Loto 6 de 3 Oku 2 Senmanen Ateta Otoko ended up with only a 6.4% rating for its final episode and an embarrassing 6.5% season average. It’s about to be the flop of the season, because Koizora has boosted its season average to 6.4% because of a season-high 7.6% rating for this week’s episode.

Tomorrow wrapped up with an OK-14.1% rating final episode for a season average of 12.6%. Right now, it’s looking to be one of the better-performing dramas of the season, behind Taiyou to Umi no Kyoushitsu (14.1% rating for this week’s episode), Yasuko to Kenji (dropping to a 13% this week after a one-week hiatus), and Code Blue (down to a below-average 14.9% rating for its second-to-last episode). Getting close to the end of the season apparently isn’t energizing the ratings battle any, with only Koizora reaching its season high this week.

All drama information can be found at Tokyograph.

- With its screening at the Toronto Film Festival, the beatdown of the Yu Wai Lik’s Hong Kong co-production Plastic City continues. This time, it’s jury member Johnnie To’s turn to do the beating, quoted by Apple Daily: “I think director Yu Wai Lik has yet to finish making the film. Great cinematography cannot make up the film’s whole.”  He also said that he does not agree with the jury’s pick for Best Actor and the Golden Lion, saying that the Turkish film Milk and Russia’s Paper Soldiers should taken those awards, respectively.

Jury president Wim Wenders also lament that there’s a rule set by the festival that the Golden Lion-winning film cannot also win Best Actor, which explains why Mickey Rourke didn’t pick up Best Actor for The Wrestler, despite being the heavy favorite. When the Japanese press asked Wenders why Ponyo didn’t pick up any prizes, Wenders simply said that he lost sleep over Ponyo because he likes the film very much. He also said that in order to prove their love for Ponyo, the jury members will be singing the theme song for the rest of their lives.

Original story by Apple Daily.

- Variety also cover the snubbing of Asian films at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

- As for Plastic City, its sales company has confirmed that they will work with the filmmakers to recut the film after its screenings at Venice and Toronto. The company blames the rushed post-production process for the film’s bad word-of-mouth and urge potential buyers to wait for the new cut.

- In Toronto, Momoru Oshii’s The Sky Crawlers was acquired by Sony for distribution in North America, Latin America, Australia, and New Zealand. Strangely, Warner Bros. Japan was a major distributor of the film in its native Japan, although Sony actually acquired the rights directly from the film’s production company.

- Korean director Choi Dong Hoon has gotten a hell of a cast in hopes for a third consecutive hit after The Big Swindle and Tezza: The High Rollers. This time, he’ll bring a historical figure into modern times as a superhero from the past fighting supernatural figures.

- Perhaps not as exciting to some people is the official announcement of Utada Hikaru’s second English album, which is now slated for a seond half 2008 release. Actually, I’m kind of excited. But that’s only because I’m a fan that kind of liked her first English album.

- Some Japanese content makers have decided to embrace the internet video format, uploading their own content either on Youtube, or on their own company’s video site. Of course, I must point out that while GyaO allows foreign users to register, they actually do not allow computers from non-Japanese IP address to view their contents, which, for the lack of a better word, sucks.

- Twitch offers up approximately ten seconds from the upcoming animated film Gatchaman, produced by Hong Kong’s Imagi Studios.

- Lastly, Kaiju Shakedown reports that after the failed Azn Television in America, the other Asian-American network ImaginAsian is looking at layoffs after a new CEO took over.  This goes to show that mainstream America just doesn’t care.

The Golden Rock - September 6th, 2008 Edition

- It’s review time! With the Venice Film Festival wrapping up and the Toronto Film Festival just starting, the trade paper film critics are going to be very busy, which also means more review links popping up here on The Golden Rock. First from the Japan Times is Mark Schilling’s review of the award-winning drama Okuribito (or Departures).

From Variety is a trifecta of Japanese film reviews.  From Dennis Harvey is a review for Kenji Uchida’s After School and a review for Koki Mitani’s crowdpleasing The Magic Hour. From the mysterious “Variety Staff” is the review for Mamoru Oshii’s The Sky Crawlers.

From Hollywood Reporter’s Maggie Lee is a review of the wonderful All Around Us and also her take on Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Still Walking.

- Forget about the animation competition going on at Venice. Both Japanese animated films in competition are going home with prizes at the digital cinema competition.

- The Toronto Film Festival has barely started, and sales for Asian film are already starting. I don’t remember Toronto being acquisition-heavy festival, but we’ll keep track of things here.

- After last year’s pop song-inspired Signs of Love, TBS will produce a 3-part drama, with each part inspired by a Mariya Takeuchi song. As expected, the drama will be shown just after the release of her latest compilation album. What a coincidence!

Korean president Lee Myung Bak continues his promised deregulation of media by annoucing a series of proposals that will encourage more media congolmerate through the softening of ownership laws and an increase in the budget for cultural promotion, with the former a likely point of contention with naysayers.

- After Taiwan quickly chose its representative at the Oscars this year, Singapore has also made its choice, sending Eric Khoo’s My Magic to the Academy Awards after it represented the nation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

- This week’s Teleview column on the Daily Yomiuri takes a digression into CNN’s coverage of the Democratic and Republican Conventions (um….I don’t think Wolf Blitzer makes any editorial calls. His producer does.). But before that is a brief mention of Edo “GU~~~” Harumi’s 110km marathon at last weekend’s NTV 24-hour telethon.

- And just to show that anyone can make up a TV drama nowadays, TV Asahi is putting together a TV movie featuring three stories by three celebrities.

That’s it for the weekend! See you on Monday.

The Golden Rock - September 3rd, 2008 Edition

- Eiga Consultant reports more on the opening of 20th Century Boys. As previously reported, the film made 625 million yen from 310 screens, which is actually 114% of the opening for Always 2. This explains why Toho is expecting it to make 5 billion yen, but that depends on whether the comic adaptation attracts a demographic as wide as the family-friendly nostalgic tearjerker and has a similarly good word-of-mouth.

Mr. Texas reports that 57.5% of audiences ranged from age 16-29, which means this may not have the widespread appeal of Always, but he also reports that only 28.5% of the audience cites the comic as the primary reason for going to see the film, which means the film isn’t just attracting the comic’s fans.

- It’s Japanese Oricon charts time! Namie Amuro takes the album chart for the 5th week in a row with her latest compilation. It’s now the best-selling album of 2008, as well as the first female artist album to hold the charts for 5 weeks since Akina Nakamori did it with her 1983 compilation. Amuro’s holdis also attributed to a weak album market, which even saw the mix album by Exile’s DJ MAKIDAI score a number 3 debut.

Meanwhile, KinKi Kids score their 27th consecutive number one single, pushing L’Arc~en~Ciel’s latest single down to second place.

More from Tokyograph

- It’s reviews time! Variety’s Ronnie Sceib looks at the French film Inju: The Beast, which is loosely based on the work of Japanese author Edogawa Rampo. Meanwhile, Eddie Cockrell reviews the Japanese film Departures (or Okuribito), which won the top prize at the World Film Festival Montreal.

- The media apparently loves bad news, which would explain why Hong Kong’s Apple Daily is still covering the fallout from the bad reception for the Hong Kong co-production film Plastic City at the Venice Film Festival. Today’s report points out that while many films received bad reviews, Plastic City is leading the way with the lowest score for a competition film from the panel of 10 critics in the festival’s daily newsletter.  Ouch.

-  In Thailand, where a declaration of a state of emergency usually means the army would engage in a media crackdown, the media is breathing a sigh of relief that the army has chosen to not take sides.

- Looking beyond that, Kaiju Shakedown’s Grady Hendrix looks at similar things happening in different places around the world.

- The Future Film Festival, not taking place until next January, has already announced that they will have a tribute to Japanese horror master Nobuo Nakagawa, whom has been credited for one of the pioneers for Japanese horror.

-  Under “documentary” news today, Nippon Cinema writes about a new documentary that follows a Chinese school in Japan’s Yokohama, wherethe country’s biggest Chinatown is located. Also, Ryuganji writes about Hirozaku Kore-eda’s next film, which will be a documentary following musician Cocoo at her home Okinawa.

The Golden Rock - September 2nd, 2008 Edition

- It’s Korean box office time! Strangely, two of the top ten films this weekend are not supposed to open until this week, but preview screenings for them were counted in the box office gross this weekend anyway. One of them is the Korean period epic The Divine Weapon, which attracted 230,000 admissions from the two days of preview screenings alone. Meanwhile, The Dark Knight tops the chart for another week, while The Good, the Bad, and the Weird is officially the biggest film of the 2008 Summer.

More over at Korea Pop Wars.

-  (Via Jason Gray’s blog) Jason Gray writes on Screen Daily about the grosses of 20th Century Boys‘ and Hancock’s opening weekend. Actually, the reason why Hancock sits on the top of the box office chart is because Sony has taken the liberty of including last weekend’s preview screening grosses, which means 20th Century Boys probably won both weekend grosses and per-screen average (625 million yen from a surprisingly small 310 screens). Also, Toho now expects the first film to make over 5 billion yen, which certainly bodes well for parts II and III, considering all three films cost a total of 6 billion yen to make.

- It’s review time! From Twitch are reviews of 20th Century Boys, the Korean film A Man Who Was Superman, and Rian Johnson’s The Brothers Bloom, which is here because Rinko Kikuchi has a supporting role.

From Variety is Derek Elley’s review for the Chinese film Perfect Life, which was a surprise film at the Venice Film Festival.

- Speaking of the super-efficient Yukihiko Tsutsumi, Nippon Cinema has the latest clips for his November release Maroboshi no Yamataikoku.

- Under “awards” news today, two Japanese films have taken major prizes at the World Film Festival Montreal. Meanwhile, Taiwan has already picked Cape No. 7 to be its representative at the Academy Awards this year. Not much hope for their output for the next 3 months already?

- Hong kong director Pang Ho-Cheung goes to his second Asian film market of the year, joining 31 other directors to the Tokyo Project Gathering in late October to pitch his latest project.

- Korean studio Chungeorshm, who had a major hit with The Host, will next produce the big-budget action film 29 Years, which has a surprisingly heavy political and historical tone for a typical blockbuster.

The Golden Rock - September 1st, 2008 Edition

- Who would’ve thunk it? Journey to the Center of the Earth has topped the Hong Kong box office for the 3rd weekend in a row. On Sunday, it made HK$1.41 million from 34 screens for an 18-day total of HK$27.16 million. Much of this gross is attributed to the more expensive 3d screening, which makes Beowulf’s flop in Hong Kong a little perplexing. Maybe Brandan Fraser looks better in 3d? As expected, Rec got second place with HK$609,000 from 28 screens on Sunday, giving the film a 4-day weekend total of HK$2.39 million. The other film that enjoyed a significant boost over the weekend is the Hollywood romantic comedy Made of Honor. On 25 screens, it made HK$430,000 for a 4-day weekend total of HK$1.56 million.

On the other hand, Hana Yori Dango Final didn’t enjoy the boost from some theaters putting it on their bigger screens. In fact, it only earned HK$145,000 from 14 screens on Sunday, which is strange since the film made more from less screens on opening day. The Japanese drama-turned-film (which I still think is the worst Japanese film of the year so far) has a 4-day total of HK$680,000. Another film that didn’t do much better is Patrick Kong’s Forgive and Forget. From 34 screens, the horror-romance made only HK$170,000 on Sunday for a 4-day total of HK$980,000. The Edge of Love had more luck as a limited release, making HK$86,000 from 6 screens for a 4-day total of HK$340,000.

Still hanging in there is Cyborg She, which made a healthy HK$300,000 from 16 screens on Sunday for a 11-day total of HK$3.32 million, which makes HK$5 million within reach. The Dark Knight is already at HK$57.15 million after 46 days, and its IMAX shows are still doing fairly healthy business.

- In the Japan cinema attendance chart, Hancock and 20th Century Boys finally came together and knocked Ponyo off the top spot. Depending on the grosses, but the executives at NTV may not be so happy that the most expensive Japanese film ever made only managed a 2nd place debut, especially with two more films to go. Of course, the quoted 6 billion yen budget may just be spread across three films, which means with international presales, each film just needs to make over 2 billion yen to break even.

- It was a very very quiet week for Japanese drama ratings. Yasuko to Kenji didn’t show up this week because of NTV’s yearly 24-hour telethon. Instead, the Jun Matsumoto-starring drama that was shown during the telethon got a 25.6%. The ratings up and down was fairly boring, with only 33-pun Tantei reaching its season-low rating of 7.0. With the Olympics now over, Gonzo, Seigi no Mikata, Sono Otoko, Fushocho, Yottsu no Uso, and Code Blue all got a bit of a boost. Maybe things will pick up soon as the season reaches an end.

-  It’s reviews time! Variety’s Ronnie Schieb looks at Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea, while Derek Elley lets out some hate for Yu Lik Wai’s Plastic City.

In Venice, boos were heard at the screening for Plastic City, which was the only Hong Kong film in competition.  Reportedly, the hate comes from the faulty English subtitles and a general feeling of not knowing what the hell is going on. On the defense, director Yu Lik Wai answered that his film is a contempoary fable and that he gives his own effort 69 points because the best he can do is 70 points. On the other hand. Elley said to Apple Daily that out of a score of one to ten, he gives the film a negative 10.

- Under Japanese pop news today, after Speed came together for another reunion, the band Do As Infinity is now also reuniting. However, they don’t be releasing new work until next Spring.  Meanwhile, young female rocker YUI has announced that she will be taking a short break after her next single in oder to “refresh” herself. She’ll be back next year.

- Lastly, Yuya Yagira has released a statement, clearing up that his recent trip to the hospital was not from a suicide attempt. He had simply taken too much tranquilizer after a family argument and actually called for help himself.  He even left the hospital on the same day.

The Golden Rock - June 26th, 2008 Edition

Not a lot of news today:

- The Indian comglomerate Reliance’s investment for Hollywood studio Dreamworks has not been finalized yet, and may even just be used for the studio head as a bargaining chip in their negotiations with other studios. In other words, India is in Hollywood just yet.

- Another Japanese comic is being adapted for live-action film, although the idea sounds pretty interesting this time: a boy who washes the windows of apartments in an orbital ring around Saturn after Earth becomes uninhabitable.

- It’s reviews time! Variety’s Leslie Felperin has the first review for Christopher Doyle’s second directorial effort Warsaw Dark. Also, Variety’s Andrew Barker has a review of the documentary Hannari Geisha Modern.

- The hit Korean film The Host will have a sequel. However, instead of having Bong Joon-Ho direct again, the sequel will be a Chinese-Korean co-production with Crazy Stone director Ning Hao as director.  Also, being a Chinese co-production, the film will naturally be eliminated of the original film’s political content.

- Japanese boy band KAT-TUN member Tatsuya Ueda will have to prove that he actually has talent by not only directing his own 90-minute solo show, but he will also have to write and compose all the songs to be performed in the concert.

- Twitch has an interview with Tokyo Gore Police director Yoshihiro Nishimura.

- Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry said in a forum in Hong Kong that Japanese cinema should work more with its neighbors in Asia such as Hong Kong and China. It would be a good start if they make more original works instead of TV drama adaptation first, then actually put English subtitles on their DVDs.

- Han Cinema has the final trailer for Kim Jee-Woon’s The Good, The Bad, and the Weird. Holy. Shit.

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.

 
 
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