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Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

The Golden Rock - May 11th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Taiwanese music charts time! Soda Green’s live CD tops the G-Music Charts in its first week, taking up over 10% of total sales. Meanwhile, Korean boy band Super Junior’s latest debuts at 2nd place, taking over 5% of total sales. June Chu’s debut album arrive on the chart at 8th place with just under 1% of total sales. Korean pop singer Jang Nara’s Mandarin album could only muster a 13th place debut with 0.75% of sales, but she still did better than Japanese pop duo WaT, whose latest debuted all the way down at 18th place with just 0.53% of total sales.

- This week’s Teleview column is all about Change, the upcoming Kimura Takuya drama where he plays an elementary school teacher who becomes the Prime Minister of Japan. Sounds like a real winner.

- Ryuganji has translated another interesting piece from Sai Yoichi, turns out he wrote an even more scathing piece about the making of Soo before the interview that Ryuganji translated about a week and a half ago.

- It’s trailers time! Twitch brings us all three of them today. First, it’s another trailer for Tokyo Gore Police that’s still, well, gory.  Then it’s a trailer for God’s Puzzle, a teen love story that you would’ve never guessed it’s made by Takashi “Ichi The Killer” Miike.  Lastly, there’s a trailer for Ryuichi Hiroki’s Your Friends, which I missed at the Hong Kong International Film Festival and will not even open in Japan until end of June.

- Korean director Na Hong-Jin is already planning for his next film after his megahit thriller The Chaser. The Murderer will be about a man forced to become a murderer to overcome starvation. Any cannibalism involved?

- The controversial documentary Yasukuni has reached the Kansai area after a week of sold-out screenings in Tokyo. The theater in Tokyo has also extended the film’s run after it was only set to play it for a week.

- A new powerful documentary about the issue of forced comfort women premiered at the Jeonju Film Festival this past week and presents evidence that clearly prove the existence of such women even outside of Japan and Korea.

- JJ Sonny Chiba (or the artist formerly known as Sonny Chiba) will take once again take on 7-Color Mask, a TV series role that Chiba took on as his screen debut all the way back in the 60s. After the death of the original writer last month, Chiba has decided to fulfill the actor’s wish by producing and starring in the film version of the series.

- The San Sebastian Film Festival this year will include a retrospective of old black and white Japanese film noir from Japan.

- Jason Gray shows us some of the promotional material Japan is seeing for Hayao Miyazaki’s latest, which is nice since we overseas get damn near nothing to see on the internet.

- Oh, there’s a new post at the spin-off.

The Golden Rock - May 8th, 2008 Edition

- Finally got some Japanese box office numbers in, although it only covers Saturday and Sunday, which was the middle of the Golden Week holidays. As a result, most of the movies on the chart saw a rise from their previous weekend’s gross. For example, Shaolin Girl saw a 20% boost and has now grossed 715 million yen, despite a somewhat weak opening last weekend. But of course, the biggest boosts went to the kid-friendly films such as Conan (20.3%), Crayon Shin-Chan (27.7%), and The Spiderwick Chronicles (17.7%). However, the Masked Rider movie took a drop instead, losing 23.4% of business despite not losing any screens. Hollywood flick 10,000 B.C. also lost business, presumably because theaters put the more popular films on bigger screens and moved this to smaller ones.

- With its first hit in two years, Toei is now crossing their fingers on God’s Puzzle, Takashi Miike’s latest, to rebound them from what was their worst fiscal year in 20 years.

- Meanwhile, The Forbidden Kingdom has done solid business in China, making 150 million yuan since its release in late April already, partly thanks to the holiday last week.

- Things are not doing so well in Korea, where theaters saw April’s performance as the lowest monthly attendance figures since April 2003.

- However, local performance is not stopping them from taking their award-nominated films for a special showing in Japan.

- Earlier in the week, I mentioned that the Chinese distributor for the new Donnie fantasy film Painted Skin already estimated a final box office take simply based on screen counts. Now, the investors are so confident that not only did they already plan two sequels, they already assume they’re successful enough to raise the budget and get Zhang Ziyi for the second movie.

- The Asia Pacific Screen Awards, which had its first year in Australia last year, is now adding an academy, with all the nominees from last year’s awards being included with voting powers for this year’s awards.

-  There’s a short teaser for the omnibus movie Tokyo!, though it doesn’t really show anything from any of the three films, which will get their premiere at Cannes this year.

- A Spanish film buyer has bought their first Asian film, and…it’s Taiwanese torture porn?

-  Hollywood Reporter’s Maggie Lee turns in a review for Sylvia Chang’s Run Papa Run.

-  Chinese president Hu Jintao told Japanese reporters that his favorite Japanese TV drama is the popular 80s morning drama Oshin. It would’ve been great if he said anything with Kimura Takuya in it, but alas, that was not to be.

- My boy Jero has now joined the ranks of popular Japanese pop stars - he’ll be the spokesman for a new line of canned coffee.

The Golden Rock - April 27th, 2008 Edition

- It’s reviews time! From Japan Times is Mark Schilling’s take on Berlin Film Festival winner Park and Love Hotel. From the Daily Yomiuri’s Ikuko Kitagawa’s review of the Japanese blockbuster Shaolin Girl. Twitch’s Todd Brown delivers a review of Ryuichi Hiroki’s Your Friends, which hasn’t opened in its native Japan yet, if I’m not mistaken. Lastly, there’s Jason Gray’s pseudo-early review of the new Japanese film Flavor of Happiness, starring Miki Nakatani.

- State regulators in Singapore have imposed a fine on a TV network there for a broadcasting a home decorating show that reportedly “normalized and promoted a homosexual lifestyle”. Now, why aren’t there anyone protesting against Singapore?

- On the other hand, the Nobel Foundation dropped their official broadcaster in Sweden because their award ceremony was censored in China, which means the network didn’t follow the terms it had with the foundation when they drew up their agreement with the Chinese networks.

- Instead of risking downloading films in their own home, some Chinese people have been going to illegally-operated internet cafes to watch screening of movies that were downloaded illegally by the cafes. While Chinese producer Huayi Brothers have won a lawsuit against three of these cafes, I doubt that people will be scared into stop downloading. Hell, even film school students here download the movies they watch, which may be one of the most depressing things happening to the industry today.

-This week’s Televiews column on the Daily Yomiuri gives a big big thumbs down to the Japanese drama adaptation of the hit Korean romantic comedy My Sassy Girl. There are also short one-sentence reviews of current dramas as well.

- Grady has already linked one teaser this week (the new Tetsuya Nakashima film Paco and the Magic Book), and now he delivers one for the new Tsui Hark film Missing, which is a…….horror flick?! Could this be Tsui Hark’s Linger?

- Also, Jason Gray delivers a trailer for the abused-children-in-third-world-country drama Children of the Dark.

The Golden Rock - April 23rd, 2008 Edition

No, Gabriel, I’m not in Udine with Kozo. I’ve just been too busy to write

- And since I missed the Sunday box office on now.com, this week’s Hong Kong weekend box office report comes from the Hong Kong Film blog. Muay Thai action film Chocolate retained its lead with a boost, making HK$710,000 from 33 screens for a 4-day weekend total of HK$2.25 million. With The Forbidden Kingdom opening next week to fill the action gap, Chocolate may not have a chance in passing the HK$5 million mark. Meanwhile, Run Papa Run overtook Street Kings‘ 2nd place opening with HK$550,000 from 28 screens thanks to good word-of-mouth (but those last 10 damn minutes…). After 2 weekends, Sylvia Chang’s comedy-drama has made HK$5.34 million. Three Kingdoms is still in the game with HK$420,000 from 37 screens for an 18-day total of HK$16.28 million. This proves that yes, Hong Kong people will watching anything with Andy Lau. Lastly, the idols-filled Love is Elsewhere didn’t get that huge boost over the weekend with only HK$340,000 from 27 screens on Sunday for a weekend total of HK$1.26 million.

In foreign films, Street Kings did only OK with HK$542,000 from 29 screens and a weekend total of HK$1.81 million. Rambo has already made HK$3.14 million after 11 days, despite the category III rating and the lack of box office appeal for Stallone movies in Hong Kong. We Own the Night lost the “Hollywood cop dramas” battle hands-down with only HK$33,000 from 4 screens for a 4-day total of about HK$130,000.

- In Japanese box office attendance figures, the latest Conan the Detective film is at the top, as expected. Crayon Shin-Chan’s latest is right behind it, while Lions For Lambs opened at 4th place. The TV drama adaptation film Sushi Ouji (greenlit before the drama was even aired) opened only at 6th place, which must’ve been a disappointment to Warner Bros. Japan. More when the numbers come out.

- Not much excitement from the Korean box office, except that Three Kingdoms is inching slowly towards that one million admissions mark. Oh, hi, The Chaser, you’re still around. Good for you.

More at Korea Pop Wars.

- Time for Japanese drama ratings! The big news is the third installment of Gokusen premiering at 26.4%, which is almost a full point higher than the premiere of the last installment. Meanwhile, Last Friends recovered slightly from its disappointing premiere episode with a 15.9% rating. I think it has something to do with either Masami Nagasawa getting beat up, or Juri Ueno giving her a long peck on the lips. This week’s disappointing premiere is probably Ryoki teki na Kanojo, aka the Japanese drama remake of the Korean film My Sassy Girl. Despite the popularity of the original and starring popular SMAP member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, the comedy only scored a 13.5% rating in its prime Sunday night spot. Lastly, I predict this season’s freefall drama to be Muri Na Renai, which lost 30% of its audience in its second week. It was a little creepy to begin with anyway.

Info on this season’s Japanese dramas on Tokyograph

- The all-powerful State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television is planning to continue reforms through changes in the market. Hey, how about working on getting movies like Summer Palace and Lost in Beijing unbanned first?

- Apparently, Hong Kong pop duo Twins member Gillian “So naive, so foolish” Chung has been cut out of Chen Kaige’s latest film. Co-star Sun Honglei was quoted as saying that Ah Gil has not been in the right shape to work ever since “Sexy Photos Gate” broke. Don’t worry, we got a bit of Edison in this here post too.

- Jason Gray writes about the three possible Japanese candidates this year at the Cannes Film Festival, all of them I am now looking forward to immensely. I hope I can catch Kore-eda’s film when I’m in Japan in June and actually come out understanding at least a portion of it (with it being un-subtitled and all).

- Japanese film distributor Gaga Usen was slowly becoming one of the big boys with foreign acquisition such as Earth and The Golden Compass making some money in Japan. However, they weren’t enough to keep it alive, and now Gaga will no longer be involved in film production or distribution, presumably after they release their planned slate. No longer Gaga for Japanese films, indeed.

- (via Japan Probe) There’s a trailer out for the animated version of Winter Sonata. Can anyone confirm that Yon-Sama was actually say nice things, or did he just say “What the hell am I doing here again” for a minute and a half in Korean.

- Also, viz Ryuganji’s awesome news feed is the teaser trailer for Detroit Metal City, which looks………..metally?

- Argo, the distributor for the controversial Japanese documentary Yasukuni, has finally found 8 theaters nationwide that found some balls to show the film starting in early May.

- There’s a teaser out for mega-sized Japanese blockbuster 20th Century Boys, but it fulfills the definition of a teaser extremely well, as in it only teases.

- Under “the stupidest thing you will see on TV over the next 3 years” news today, Japanese TV stations may have a warning across the screens of their programs starting from July telling people that they are watching their programs in analog.

- If you want to make movies in Korea, be sure to watch out for CJ Entertainment head Kim Soo-Jung - he’s literally the most powerful man in the Korean film industry right now.

- There’s a second teaser out for the second Gegege no Kitaro film. They really are trying to sell this as more than the kids film the first installment was. I really hope that’s true, but it probably isn’t.

- Who would’ve thunk that the top-grossing Canadian-English film this month is a documentary about a dam in China without even a trailer as part of its advertising campaign?

- Japanese band B’z will be releasing two compilations albums this year to rip off their fans celebrate their 20th anniversary.

- Hey, I told you there will be Edison Chen in this entry.

The Golden Rock - March 14th, 2008 Edition

Happy White Day!

With no new news coming for the weekend, we’ll do mostly number crunching today.

- As expected in Hong Kong box office, Patrick Kong’s bitter “romantic” drama L For Love, L For Lies shot straight to the top of the box office on opening day. From 37 screens, it made HK$668,000 and will probably see close to HK$1 million per day over the weekend as the kids get out of school for the weekend. The weekend’s other wide opener, the Hollywood remake of the Japanese horror film One Missed Call, opened with only HK$111,000 from 17 screens.  As for limited openers, Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream opened on 9 screens with just HK$52,000. Expect this to get a small boost from the adult audience over the weekend.

- It’s Japanese music charts time! On the Oricon singles chart, Smap scores another number 1 single, making this their 42nd consecutive single to debut at the top ten, tying the record with Southern All Stars. Meanwhile, Asian Kung-Fu Generation’s latest album debut at the top on the album chart, while Every Little Thing and Hitoto Yo are down at second and third place. More details at Tokyograph.

As for the Billboard Japan Hot 100 charts, the rankings are a little different, as airplay managed to lift Ayaka’s single all the way to 2nd place. Radio play also helped the foreign single by Adele get on the top 100, as well as some songs that were not released as singles, such as Keisuke Kuwata’s latest.

- On the Taiwanese G-music chart, Aska Yang seems to never leave the top, especially when sales are this weak. He only had to take up 2.46% of total sales to get that spot, which also helped Joanna Wang’s album as well. However, Gary Chaw drops straight down 12th place, though another new edition of the CD will perk those sales right up. The weak sales also helped Yui Aragaki’s album, which actually took up a bigger share of the sales this week.

- Hong Kong director Pang Ho-Cheung, whom I consider one of my favorites, has directed a trailer for the latest installment of the Udine Far East Festival. Hollywood Reporter has the story, and Twitch has the link.

- It’s like repeating the same story again and again: Japanese total video sales was down by 3.7% in 2007. On the other hand, rental store sales have actually risen.

That’s it for today, y’all

The Golden Rock - March 9th, 2008 Edition

- There’s a very interesting feature on Japan Times this weekend, which transcribes a panel discussing the Japanese war trial film Ashita He No Yuigon (Best Wishes For Tomorrow)  featuring Japan Times critic Mark Schilling and the film’s co-writer.  With two other contributors, the four discuss the impact of another war film on the Japanese, the message, and about its intents were successful.

- Yesterday we mentioned Mika Nakashima making the cover of Rolling Stone Japan, and now Oscar-nominated actress Rinko Kikuchi is on the cover of the British i-D Magazine.  She is not the first Japanese actress to appear on the cover, though: Chiaki Kuriyama made the cover back in 2004 thanks to her role in Kill Bill.

- It’s reviews time! Twitch offers a review of Kelvin Tong’s Rule #1, starring Shawn Yue and Ekin Cheng in their first official screen collaboration (they had an unofficial partnership in Shamo. You’ll know what I mean).  Then Variety’s Ronnie Schieb offers a review of Makoto Shinkai’s Five Centimeter Per Second, which I almost immediately dismissed because he dismissed the song in the film before he even bothered to understand it. Japan Times’ Mark Schilling offers a review for Gachi Boy (Wrestling with a Memory), the latest from the director of Song of the Sun. There’s also an interview featuring the director, who apparently made his actors perform their own wrestling stunts.

- Wrestling With a Memory will have its Asian premiere at the Hong Kong International Festival, and I already have a ticket to one of its showings. Not sure to what it can be credited to, but the festival is seeing an incredible 40% surge in online ticket sales from last year. Then again, after hearing horror stories of the festival’s ticketing system last year, no wonder more people decided to buy it the year the system happens to work.

- Eiga Consultant also looked at the box office performance of Wrestling with a Memory’s opening weekend. From 284 screens, the wrestling comedy/drama made 67.87 million yen, which is only 55% of another Toho + Fuji teen comedy Check It Out Yo!

Meanwhile, The Golden Compass made 550 million yen from 667 screens, which is 70% of The Chronicles of Narnia. Considering that Narnia made 6.85 billion yen, will The Golden Compass make it to 5 billion yen? Also, the ratio of the box office take for the subtitled version to the dubbed version is 53:47, which supposedly means that the film is attracting people of all demographics (in film market jargon, we say “demographics,” not “age”). Also, in case you’re wondering why the Box Office Mojo reported gross is so high, that’s because they included last weekend’s preview screenings.

- I think this would qualify as self-promotion: The Foreign Film Importer-Distributor Association of Japan will be giving its top award to Gaga Communications, who imported hits such as Babel, Earth, and the current box office topper The Golden Compass.

- Under “yet another comic going to TV” news today, the comedy comic Tokyo Ghost Trip is getting the live-action treatment.

- It’s trailers time! First, there’s the Japanese teaser for John Woo’s Battle of Red Cliff, and it still just looks really expensive, but not much else. Next is the trailer for the Mainland Chinese film Pk.com.cn, which may be the weirdest trailer I’ve seen all year. Considering that it’s from the conservative Mainland (more later), that’s kind of a good thing.

- With the National People’s Congress happening in Beijing right now (an ironic title, by the way), the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television of China are restating their rules on what movies are OK and what movies are not. In simple words: Most movies are not OK, but simple peasant stories with subtle allegories of government dictatorship will probably be. Zhang Yimou, you’re not out of work yet!

- Speaking of a filmmaker not out of work in China, Twitch has an interview with Stephen Chow and the star of his latest film CJ7.

Hayao Miyazaki spoke about his latest film Ponyo on a Cliff this week, and reading him describing the film just makes me look incredibly forward to it already. It seems like it’ll be a return to simpler fantasy tales like Totoro.

Kaiju Shakedown looks at another one of Takashi Miike’s latest films, which producer Haruki Kadokawa says is based on a novel that he read while he was in prison. Prison may be a good place to find films to adapt, but I still wouldn’t want to go there.

- Jason Gray looks at the lineup for the upcoming Nippon Connection Festival in Frankfurt, Germany. Man, that’s one hell of a lineup.

The Golden Rock - March 4th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Japanese drama ratings time! Saito-san sees its season-low ratings, as well as One Point Gospel. The Negotiator wraps up with an OK-13.2 rating (not too far below its premiere’s 16.7 rating). Meanwhile, Honey and Clover’s freefall continues to 8.0 this past week, while Bara No Nai Hanaya managed to recover slightly with a 16.5 rating. Lost Time Life stays steady, Edison No Haha saw a pretty good boost, and Sasaki Fusai No Jingi Naki Tatakai’s ratings increase didn’t last longer than a week.

- This news was first found at Eiga Consultant. The 2005 German documentary Our Daily Bread broke attendance record during its 4-month run at one Tokyo theater. Both reports contribute the film’s success to concerns about food safety for Chinese-made food, but there’s also Japan’s tendencies to put wrong expiry dates and screws in food that added to the concern.

- Meanwhile, the controversial Bollywood epic Jodhaa Akbar has now surpassed the 1 billion rupee mark at the box office. Meanwhile, courts overturned the Madhya Pradesh government’s ban, while violent protests interrupt screenings and screenings are still blocked in some regions.

In case you want to know what the hoopla is all about, Hollywood Reporter has a review.

- Under “Edison Chen’s career freefall” news today, his latest Hong Kong film Sniper has now been pushed back to May from a planned March 29th release date. However, distributor Media Asia states that it’s because the Mainland Chinese authorities has yet to approved the film, which is necessary for all co-productions (this also means the cops win by default at the end of the film).

On a side note, distributors in Taiwan for Pang Ho-Cheung’s Trivial Matters has decided to add in the advertising that this film is Edison Chen’s final film before he announced his retirement from showbiz. This is inaccurate, since he still has Sniper and possibly Stephen Fung’s Jump.

-Poor China: The EU and the United States are always bullying the poor authoritarian country. First it was over intellectual property, and now the two political giants are going to the WTO over China’s block of foreign media agencies. China granted the Xinhua News Agency with sole discretion on giving out media license to foreign organizations, which apparently blocks out other news agencies such as Reuters and Bloomberg.

- Chinese TV and film writers, inspired by their American counterparts, met up to talk about how to protect the copyrights of their intellectual property. The thing is, unlike Hollywood writers, they’re not even looking for more money: They just want their rights protected and their work respected.

- I missed out on this a few days ago when it was on Nippon Cinema: There’s a teaser out for the sequel to the kiddie-oriented live-action adaptation of Gegege No Kitaro. It seems like they’re aiming for a more serious film this time around, but trailers have been deceptive before, so I’m being extremely cautious about this one.

-  Not only will the upcoming Japanese epic sci-fi trilogy 20th Century Boys be Japan’s highest-budgeted film ever at 6 billion yen, it’s now been announced that the film will feature a cast of 300 people. In other words, expect to see a lot of “policeman #_” when the credits come up.

- I never knew that Takashi Kitano has his own awards show, AND he gives awards to his own movies there!

- With actions being taken to help the industry and a reversal of the ban on Indian films, will Pakistani cinema slowly flourish?

-  Twitch has a link to an interview with former Ghibli studio head Suzuki Toshio, who talks a bit about Hayao Miyazaki’s upcoming Ponyo on a Cliff.

-  Believe it or not, Maggie Cheung has not appeared in a film since 2004, and she says she’s actually quite OK with that.

The Golden Rock - February 24th, 2008 Edition

- It’s reviews time! From Berlin (I guess it was a market screening) is Variety’s Derek Elley’s review of Chung Siu-Tung’s Empress and the Warriors, starring Kelly Chen, Leon Lai, and Donnie Yen (DONNNNIIIIEEEEE!!!). Wait, did that just say Donnie Yen emphasizes character over martial artistry? THIS I have to see.

- This week on the Daily Yomiuri’s Televiews column, Wm Penn writes about the upcoming Spring season the networks already have in store for us since Winter isn’t working out so well for them.

- According to director/actor Stephen Fung, the future of his Stephen Chow-produced dance film Jump is actually still up in the air (no pun intended, really!). Colombia Pictures wants scenes of star Edison Chen removed, but Fung is now insisting that his part stays in since Chen has apologized for his actions and that he gave an excellent performance in the film. So is it going to be Fung vs. Hollywood? Will Stephen Chow join in the fray, or will he just step back until the dust settles?

- Under “potential new crappy horror franchise” news today, there will be a sequel to the Japanese horror film Kuchisake-Onna, also known as The Slit-Mouthed Woman. Actually, it’ll be a prequel of sorts, which doesn’t matter since it’s all the same to people these days.

- Under “they already made a crappy version of this” news today, there will be another Street Fighter film made, and the only reason to care is because legendary martial arts star Cheng Pei Pei will be in it. Still, this one can’t even get someone with the same caliber as Jean-Claude Van Damme, AND it’ll be directed by the director of masterpieces such as Romeo Must Die and Exit Wound. How good can this possibly get?

Japan has finally found its best-selling single, and it isn’t even on CD! The 1975 children’s song “Oyoge! Taiyaki-kun” sold 4.5 million copies when it was first released, and Guinness managed to find out that it’s actually the best-selling song ever in Japan. With renewed popularity, it will finally be released on CD next month.

-  Shochiku, one of the major distributors of Japan, has announced its slate of 16 films for 2008-2009, and they are aiming for a total of 20 billion yen in box office gross. On the other hand, major rival Toho will be aiming for 60 billion yen. Burn!

- Twitch has a trailer for the Korean gangster film A Destiny, which looks like plenty of homoerotic macho gangster action goodness. Look at those abs!

- Japan-born cinematographer Tetsuo Nagata has won his second Cesar Award for his work in the film La Vie En Rose, the biopic about singer Edith Piaf. That award is French, by the way.

- Japanese movie critic Yoshio Tsuchiya shares his thoughts about late director Kon Ichikawa with the Daily Yomiuri. It’s an excellent piece about an excellent director.

The Golden Rock - February 19th, 2008 Edition

We’re kind of busy this week at The Golden Rock, but let’s do some number crunching anyway:

- Sad news from Hong Kong this morning: Actress and television personality Lydia Shum (better known as Fei Fei in Hong Kong) passed away at the age of 62. Fei Jei has been in poor health in recent years, and last appeared during local network TVB’s anniversary show in a surprise appearance.

Report from Variety

- Here’s an update on the box office for Lunar New Year films in Hong Kong (in order of release date), as of January 17th:

CJ7 - 18 days, HK$48.73 million

Sweeney Todd - 18 days, HK$8.28 million

L - Change the WorLd - 11 days (including previews), HK$7.25 million

Kung Fu Dunk - 11 days, HK$8.1 million

Enchanted - 11 days, HK$22.32 million

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (from 3 screens) - 11 days, HK$640,000

CJ7 is losing its momentum now, and it probably won’t make it to match Kung Fu Hustle’s take. Kung Fu Dunk is also slowing down considerably, and won’t get to HK$10 million, making it the flop of the season as the first Jay Chou film to not hit HK$10 million. Meanwhile, L will probably surpass Kung Fu Dunk in total take by the weekend, but I doubt that it’ll match the success of the two Death Note films. Nevertheless, it might have a chance for HK$10 million, which is a great take for a Japanese film. Enchanted is still topping the box office, so I think HK$30 million is not entirely unrealistic.

Meanwhile, the Hollywood sci-fi film Jumper made HK$6.13 million over 4 days from 38 screens. and Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood made HK$230,000 over 4 days from just 3 screens.

- No Japanese box office numbers yet. The audience attendance figures indicate that L took the top spot for a second weekend in a row (though I’m more interested to know how much business it lost), and the medical mystery The Glorious Team Batista also stayed at second place. It may surprise some, but Elizabeth: The Golden Age managed a 3rd place opening. However, that’s because the first film was a fairly big hit in Japan, taking over 1.5 billion yen back in 1999. Lastly, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium opened at 5th place.

-My mistake: The British documentary Earth may be the highest-grossing documentary in Japan in the last ten years after crossing the 2 billion yen-mark, but Kon Ichikawa’s Tokyo Olympiad will remain the all-time champion in attendance figures. With inflation, the 1964 documentary would’ve made 8.5 billion yen with today’s ticket prices.

- In Japanese drama ratings, this season’s ratings are so depressing that I don’t even feel like reporting them anymore. But here they are anyway: Honey and Clover, Saito-San, The Negotiator, and Sasaki Fusai No Jingi Naki Tatakai all hit their lowest ratings with 8.6%, 13.0%, 12.7%, and a measly 8.9, respectively.

In better news, Lost Time Life managed to rebound to a season-high 12.3% rating, and Mirai Koushi Meguru bounced back in a big way with a 10.5% rating.

- Kimutaku is back on Japanese TV drama! This time, Kimura Takuya play an elementary school teacher who somehow ends up becoming Japan’s Prime Minister. With not much positive support for the current Japanese government, I’m sure a fantasy world where a Smap member becomes their head honcho would be a nice change.

- I might’ve reported this before: Spring 2007’s hit drama Proposal Daisakusen is getting a special episode, and it’s now scheduled to air on March 25th (I think this is the news part).

- I was supposed to report on this a long time ago: Tokyo Tower was the big winner of the Japan Academy Awards, but it didn’t repeat the pattern of films in the past that were nominated in almost all the categories by winning only five awards. However, those awards were best supporting actor, best actress, best director, best screenplay, and best picture, so I don’t think the team is sad over it.

Meanwhile, Always 2 only won two awards: best actor and best sound recording. I Just Didn’t Do It won only won 3 awards, including best supporting actress, best art direction, and best film editing, which must’ve been disappointing to some, considering that it’s been sweeping the other awards.

Full list of winners here

- While only two Asian films in competition title won at Berlin (Wang Ziaoshuai for In Love We Trust and Reza Najie for the Iranian film The Song of Sparrows), Japanese film won many other awards at the festival. Those awards include United Red Army winning several awards, and Izuru Kamasaka winning Best First Feature for Park and Love Hotel.

All the details are at Jason Gray’s blog.

- Considering its controversial censorship system, it’s surprising that not one, but two films that deal with homosexuality managed to win major awards at Thailand’s Subhanahongsa Awards.

- It’s reviews time! Or rather, it’s time for a compilation of reviews for Johnnie To’s Sparrow, which got a far better reception in Europe than from English-speaking critics.

The Golden Rock - February 14th, 2008 Edition

Apologies for taking an impromptu holiday from the blog. Like the rest of Hong Kong, the New Years holiday has taken a toll on this blogger. At least he’s now well-rested.

- First, legendary Japanese director Kon Ichikawa, whose career spanned 62 years and 76 films, passed away at 92 years old of pneumonia. He was still working up to last year on an installment in the omnibus film Ten Nights of Dreams. Jason Gray has an article he wrote for Screen International on his blog.

- A quick catch-up on the Hong Kong New Years box office. Here are the Lunar New Year films and how they’re doing as of yesterday (2/13). These are in order of their release dates:

CJ7 - 14 days, HK$44.6 million

Sweeney Todd - 14 days, HK$7.88 million

Enchanted - 7 days, HK$16.09 million (this has overtaken CJ7 as the number 1 film in these few days)

Kung Fu Dunk - 7 days, HK$6.78 million

L - Change the WorLd - 5 days (plus 3 days of previews), HK$5.29 million.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (this opened on New Year’s Day on 3 screens) - 7 days, HK$430,000

The good news is that the Lunar New Year films are doing fairly well this year (even a category III musical can make almost 8 million), the better news is that not everyone ended up buying into Kung Fu Dunk, and the bad news is that it’s one of the two only Chinese films in a holiday most celebrated by Chinese people.

- Three of these films are also playing in Japan, and I’ve already reported on how well Sweeney Todd is doing there (1.67 billion yen and counting). As for L, it had a phenomenal opening during the holiday weekend, making 572 million yen from 388 screens. While this is 140% of the first Death Note film’s opening, Mr. Texas of Eiga Consultant reminds us that it was also 75% of the second Death Note film’s opening. This opening might have been helped by the fact that NTV, the film’s backing TV network, showed the two films beforehand.

However, don’t count out the medical mystery Team Batista No Eiko, which also had a strong opening weekend with 264 million yen from 284 screens. Not so lucky is the Japanese film Kids, which opened fairly weak to begin with and lost 42% of its business in its second weekend. Oh, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly also made an impressive 7.46 million yen from just 5 screens (that’s a roughly US$13,000 per-screen average). Not doing so well in limited release is Lust, Caution, which has only made 79.5 million yen after 2 weeks from 77 screens (that’s a roughly US$2,300 per-screen average each week).

With 1.78 billion yen and counting after 5 weekends (that would be a typo in Variety), the documentary Earth is now the highest-grossing documentary ever in Japan.

- Kung Fu Dunk and L also opened in Taiwan, and both had fairly strong openings. However, nothing came close to beating CJ7’s major invasion of Asia.

- It’s reviews time! From Berlin are: Derek Elley’s review of Johnnie To’s latest Sparrow, which sounds like it’s Yesterday Once More meets Throwdown.  From Variety’s Russell Edwards is a review of Yoji Yamada’s domestic hit Kabei - Our Mother. Hollywood Reporter’s Maggie Lee chimes in with her own review as well. Derek Elley also has a review of Night and Day, the latest from South Korean director Hong Sang-Soo.

- It’s also trailers time! Everything’s from Kaiju Shakedown today - a teaser for Cyborg She, the first Japanese film from My Sassy Girl director Kwak Jae-Young. I can imagine him on set telling his make-up people, “Just make the guy look like Cha Tae-Hyun!” Also, there’s a Spanish-dubbed trailer for the Pang Brother’s self-remake of Bangkok Dangerous. Yes, it looks pretty terrible, though it may just be the Spanish. Also, there’s the trailers for the indie Japanese ensemble comedy Hey Japanese! (The full name is far too long) and for Koki Mitani’s latest The Magic Hour, which looks surprisingly visually appealing.

That’s it for now, y’all.  Not completely caught up, but we’re getting there.

 
 
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