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Archive for the ‘games’ Category

The Golden Rock - June 2nd, 2008 Edition

- It was a crowded weekend at the Hong Kong box office, but none of the many newcomers could beat Indiana Jones. The Steven Spielberg adventure film made another HK$1.9 million from 80 screens for a 11-day total of HK$21.54 million. With Narnia and Sex and the City coming next weekend, it’s going to be a pretty steep climb to that HK$30 million mark. Out of the 5 newcomers, Penelope sprinted to 2nd place, making HK$306,000 from 19 screens for a 4-day weekend total of HK$1.12 million. It’s also the only newcomer that passed the HK$1 million mark over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the Japanese film Shaolin Girl is right behind Penelope, but it didn’t get much of a boost over the weekend, making only HK$224,000 from 27 screens and a 4-day weekend total of HK$890,000. Behind that is Derek Kwok’s The Moss, with only HK$171,000 from 30 screens and a 4-day total of HK$650,000, putting on par with The Pye-Dog. The Richard Gere-led The Hunting Party made HK$73,000 from 6 screens and made HK$250,000 over 4 days. Academy Award-winner The Counterfeiters was on 3 screens and made HK$38,000 for a HK$120,000 4-day total. Lastly, the French film The Story of Richard O. was on the top ten on opening day, but didn’t make it on the top 10 on Sunday.

- The Japanese box office attendance figures didn’t give much surprise, with Narnia and Aibou retaining their top spots. Korean director Kwak Jae-Young’s Japanese debut Cyborg She (aka My Girlfriend is a Cyborg) made it to 3rd place, while Hollywood films 21 and 27 Dresses debut at 5th and 6th place, respectively. More when the numbers are out.

-  You can now watch Japanese television live over the internet, using this completely legal and reliable software. I’ve already used it for a day, and it works fairly well. No, it’s not spam, it’s a completely legitimate recommendation.

-  Sega is launching a major game project for the Nintendo DS, with both comic and animation adaptations coming before the game’s actual launch.

Japundit recommends an interesting-looking little independent film. That video clip made me laugh quite a bit.

- The Osamu Tezuka comic MW is coming to the big screen, and Hiroshi Tamaki (Chiaki-sama!) is taking the lead role. Wait, directed by another television director?

- The stage performance troupe Takarazuka is celebrating their 95th anniversary by taking on a stage adaptation of the Bae Yong-Joon drama The Legend (that’s the new English name for his latest one). Man, I wouldn’t want to try and become the Japanese version of Yon-sama.

The Golden Rock - May 19th, 2008 Edition

- With no major opener this past weekend, Hong Kong box office was fairly quiet this past weekend. The apocalyptic thriller Doomsday performed the best, making HK$330,000 from 23 screens on Sunday for a 4-day weekend total of HK$1.25 million, despite being slapped with the category-III rating. Of course, Iron Man ruled for the third weekend in a row, making HK$724,000 from 41 screens on Sunday. After 19 days, the superhero film has already made HK$19.62 million. However, with Indiana Jones coming this week, it’s not likely to surpass the HK$25 million mark.

Meanwhile, What Happens in Vegas seemed to have been fueled by strong word-of-mouth, retaining much of its business for a second-place finish. On Sunday, the romantic comedy made HK$507,000 from 29 screens for a 11-day total of HK$4.97 million. As counter-programming, it may have a solid chance of hitting HK$10 million. On the other hand, Speed Racer suffered a far worse fate, making only HK$145,000 from 37 screens, and it has only made a depressing HK$2.53 million after 11 days.

Be Kind, Rewind did a lot better over the weekend, making HK$221,000 from just 11 screens for a 4-day total of HK$710,000. Hong Kong continues to prove their love for dog movies with A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies, which made another HK$317,000 from 24 screens for a 18-day total of HK$6.65 million. Too bad only one screen in Hong Kong (I think) is playing the original Japanese version. The dark comedy/horror film Teeth also did OK, making HK$128,000 from 8 screens for a 4-day total of HK$500,000.

- In Japanese cinema attendance figures, only Charlie Wilson’s War hit the top 10, debuting at 3rd place. This bumps everything below it down by at least one place, including The Last Princess, Shaolin Girl, and Crayon Chin-chan dropped from 6th place all the way to 9th. However, The Mist and The Sand Chronicles remain unaffected, staying at 7th and 8th place, respectively. More when the numbers are out.

- It’s Japanese drama ratings time! As I reported on Tuesday, Kimura Takuya’s much-anticipated drama CHANGE started a little disappointingly with just a 23.9% rating. Meanwhile, Muri Na Renai finally found its way up, getting a 6.9% rating after the season-low 6.2% in the previous week. The same applied for Ryoteki Na Kanojo (aka My Sassy Girl), which went up to 8.0% for this week’s episode after last week’s season-low 7% rating. In fact, only Kimi Hannin Janai yo ne is the only drama that reached a new season low this week.

Meanwhile, comic adaptation Rookies have recovered from its disappointing opening and scored a season-high rating of 16.4% rating this week. Hachi One Diver also recovered quite well, scoring a 11% rating for this week’s episode. Gokusen, Osen, Puzzle, and Hokaben all recovered slightly, scoring 25.3%, 9.5%, 10.2%, and 7.8%, respectively. Lastly, Last Friends is still doing well with a 17.2% rating for this week’s after scoring a season-high 19.9% last week.

-  While Hayao Miyasaki’s Ponyo on a Cliff is poised to take the top spot in this year Japan box office, Mark Schilling over at Variety also looks at a few other movies that may hit it big at the Japanese box office this summer. Believe it or not, Speed Racer is one of them.

- In light of last week’s earthquake in China, the government has set a three days’ mourning period, effective stopping all “public recreational activities” for three days, including variety shows and even cinema screenings. Hong Kong is also suspending the nightly laser show at Victoria Harbor, which sucks if you’re a tourist and you’re only in Hong Kong for these three days.

- Since I found it, I’ve already watched it 4 times: It’s the trailer for Kim Ji-Woon’s The Good, The Bad, The Weird. Am I overzealous of thinking already that this can either be the most spectacular success or the most spectacular failure of 2008 Korean cinema? Anyway, time to pull out that A Bittersweet Life DVD again.

Note: The link from Kaiju Shakedown is already down. You can catch it here, before it gets deleted.

- It’s reviews time! Variety’s Derek Elley has two reviews from Cannes: First his not-positive-but-not-negative review of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata, then his somewhat positive review of Jia Zhangke’s 24 City.

Also, Midnight Eye has been updating quite a bit, including reviews of Fine Totally Fine and Tokyo Sonata, so keeping checking that front page.

- With the Ashes of Time Redux cut having premiered at Cannes already, Grady Hendrix looks at what are some of the already known facts about it. Also, Oriental Daily already covered the premiere today, and reported not seeing much changes except for the new score and some color correction.

-Veteran Japanese pop group Southern All Stars (the originator of many hit Cantopop songs in the 80s and the 90s) are announcing an indefinite hiatus to start after their 30th anniversary concert.

- While Toshiba and Gaga Usen are closing shop as film distributors in Japan, a new distributor backed by record label Avex has popped up, and it will concentrate on directors rather than stars. “Cast and script quality are not enough,” the label’s new head says. Ouch.

- I didn’t see this coming: Actress Manami Konishi’s first single, the theme song for the Takeshi Kaneshiro-starrer Accuracy of Death, has hit the number 1 spot in Taiwan ahead of the film’s opening. Is it for the film, or is Konishi really that popular in Taiwan?

- Beast Cops was on TV this morning, and I was wondering what has happened to Gordon Chan? After finishing the latest Donnie Yen star vehicle Painted Skin, the Hong Kong director will be directing the film version of the classic video game King of Fighters. Worse of all, he’s now known in the West only as the director of The Medallion. How far the greats have fallen.

- Death Note star Kenichi Matsuyama has won the Grand Prize of the first annual Eigakan Taisho, which gathered 6,000 votes for Japan’s favorite actor or actress. Good for him, now his non-Death Note films just have to do better.

The Golden Rock - May 16th, 2008 Edition

With Cannes underway, I’m trying to stay away from one acquisition news after another, though there are naturally always interesting things going on throughout the festival.

- On that note, a Hong Kong distributor has picked up the controversial Japanese documentary Yasukuni for international sales, and is currently being screened at the Cannes market.

- I’m sure this will open up more and more studies about youths today - A survey reports that 95% of Japanese fifth graders own a game console. Even more humorous is that the variety show London Hearts has been voted as the show parents don’t want their kids watching for the 5th year in a row.

- I reported earlier that ex-Morning Musume member Ai Kago will be in a Hong Kong film, and now it’s been revealed that the film co-stars Vanness Wu and Sammo Hung. Put in Daniel Lee, and you’ve got a trifecta.

- The Cannes market again attracted attention to Bollywood, whose studios have been branching at markets such as this.

- Poor Koda Kumi just can’t catch a break - the pop star recently returned to work on her concert tour after a suspension for making insensitive comments on the radio, but now she’s no longer as the spokeswoman for Kirin, who decided not to renew the contract. She will now replaced by Kyoko Fukada.

The Golden Rock - April 17th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Oricon charts time! As expected, Ayumi Hamasaki’s latest single tops the singles chart in its debut week, but only beating out the male group Shuchishin by only about 5,000 copies in sales (in fact, the Billboard 100 Japan tells the opposite story; more in a bit). Zard (aka Japan’s Tupac) sees her latest release debut at 3rd place. Meanwhile, YUI’s latest album debuts at first place on the album chart, while Hideaki Tokunaga’s box set debuts at 6th place.

More over at Tokyograph.

On the Billboard 100 Japan, Shuchishin takes the top spot purely based on sales alone, which would make it probably a rare occurrence in which the Billboard sales chart is in discrepancy with the Oricon sales chart. The Billboard 100 also count foreign singles (thanks to the radio airplay chart), so foreign acts such as The Hoosiers and Leona Lewis found themselves on the top 10 of the Billboard 100.

- Japan Zone introduces the next wannabe big R&B female singer in Japan, and she is Miho Fukuhara. But watching her video, she only seems like this year’s version of Ayaka more than her own thing.

- Twitch has a 5-minute preview of Tran Ahn Hung’s international thriller I Come With the Rain. I’m really surprised how good it looks and how much my expectation just shot up for this movie.

- I think I just found new plans tomorrow: Bandai just opened their first Asian game center in Hong Kong that will feature games that have not been released outside of Japan.

- This might get messy: A Korean production company signed a deal with a Japanese production company to make a live-action adaptation of the Japanese comic Captain Harlock. However, the comic’s creator has come out saying that he did not approve the film even though he knows about it. So what now? Lawsuits? Boycotts?

- It’s reviews time! Both from Hollywood Reporter today. First, Stephen Farber has his review of Forbidden Kingdom, which he claims “won’t enthrall anyone over 16.” Oh dear.

Then, Maggie Lee offers her review of Peter Chan’s award-winning The Warlords, though with a reported running time of 110 minutes, I suspect that it’s the non-director-approved international cut that Chan mentioned several months ago. Caution: it’s the cut that will be playing at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

- I only link this because I’m a fan: Japundit has a link to a very good interview with my favorite author Haruki Murakami.

- Japanese documentary filmmaker Tatsuya Mori writes an editorial in the Asahi Shimbun about the dangers of self-censorship, especially with the recent controversy about the documentary Yasukuni.

The Golden Rock - January 10th, 2008 Edition

A fairly short entry today, since this blogger is still recovering from the trauma that was Johnnie To’s Linger.

- Though To’s latest Linger is not likely to see any festival play, another seemingly finished film of his (I say seemingly because he’s been shooting the damn thing for years), Sparrow, will be heading to the competition section of the Berlin Film Festival. Another Asian film heading there is Yoji Yamada’s latest Kabei. The festival will run from February 7th to the 17th, and this blog will of course follow any news from the festival.

-  Apparently there are at least a million people who aren’t creeped out by Japanese singer/songwriter Hideaki Tokunaga’s covers of pop songs by female artists: his latest cover album has now sold more than 1 million copies.

- Variety’s Derek Elley reviews the twisty Korean thriller 7 Days, starring Lost’s Kim Yun-Jin.

- Japanese film magazine Kimema Junpo has announced their list of the top 10 films of 2007. To no one’s surprise, films like Soredemo Boku wa Yattenai (”I Just Didn’t Do It) and Sad Vacation are on the list, but one inclusion that did surprise me is the quiet comedy-drama Shaberedomo Shaberedomo, which I reviewed here. I thought Sakuran is a more accomplished film (Despite its weakness in storytelling), but I guess they’re a conservative bunch.

It was also good to see Zodiac and Babel on the foreign films list as well.

-  Strong sales for both the Nintendo DS and the Wii (thanks to the Wii Fit) has helped sent video game sales to a record high in 2007. The way this keeps going, I might have to buy a DS myself.

The Golden Rock - December 2nd, 2007 Edition

- Let’s wrap up the week with some Japanese box office figure. Earlier in the week, we reported the disappointing opening of the Japanese blockbuster film Midnight Eagle in its native Japan. Now we can put it into comparison - According to Eiga Consultant, the 185 million yen opening is only 62% of Takao Ozawa’s previous film Life: Tears in Heaven (domestic total: 1.6 billion yen) and only 69% of Yuko Takeuchi’s previous film Closed Note (domestic total: 1 billion yen).

The film was also a day-and-date release in the United States. On two screens (one in New York and one in San Francisco), the aspiring blockbuster opened all the way down at 88th place with US$2,543. That’s just a per-screen average of $1,271. 12 shows over 3 days=a total of 24 shows nationwide. That means each show made just roughly $106 dollars. Still, considering it didn’t get enough of the promotional push it needed, it’s a good starting point.

- Meanwhil, Yon-sama seems to be doing much better in Japan. Bae Yong-Joon’s latest drama The Four Guardian Gods of the King is set to be shown digitally in Japanese theaters with one episode playing 3-6 days a week. Sold in sets, the drama has already sold 1047 sets of the 24,000-yen set tickets. I know the numbers don’t quite add up, but it still prove the power of a Korean guy in glasses has over Japanese housewives these days…

- According to Jason Gray, another major trend from a foreign country in Japan now is the trend of French filmmakers going to Japan to make their films. Jason even has a term for it: Nouvelle Tsunami.

- From this weekend’s opening of the Tsubaki Sanjuro remake, another trend in Japanese film seems to be filmmakers remaking classic films almost shot-by-shot under the guise that it would attract attention on the originals. Kon Ichikawa did it, Nobuhiko Obayashi did it. Hell, even Yasujiro Ozu remade his own film back it the day. Does that make it OK?

- Guess which Hong Kong director is going back into the well of used ideas? According to Ming Pao, Stephen Chow announced that he will be making not one, but two movies based on the Journey to the West story that he and Jeff Lau used for the Chinese Odyssey films. The article, which I will not be translating word-for-word, says that like the earlier films, he’ll be making a two-part film that is now possible thanks to the ability of computer graphics. He also said that he will be sticking closer to the source material, unlike the Chinese Odyssey films, which were only loosely based on it. One reason that he’s going back to Journey to the West again is that the Chinese Odyssey films were considered his breakthrough work in Mainland China, where they thought the comedy in his earlier films did not translate well to Mandarin.

Like the columnist points out, when is Chow going back to movies WITHOUT computer graphics?

- It just opened in Japan this weekend, but Kenta Fukasaku’s latest XX (X-Cross) is already set to getting a Hollywood remake. The last film to accomplish the feat of getting a remake before it opened is the Korean thriller Seven Days, starring Lost star Kim Yun-Jin.

- With the Simpsons movie opening in Japan next weekend, it’d be good for Japanese fans to know that their voices were heard, and that the original TV voice dubbing cast, instead of the usual celebrity voices, will be back on the film’s Japanese DVD. Somehow this reminds me of the episode where Burns got 4 actors, including Michael Caine, to impersonate the Simpsons for Bart.

- The Daily Yomiuri has a feature of The Rebirth, the latest film by arthouse director Masahiro Kobayashi that features almost no dialogue. Actually, I’m quite intrigued.

- Japan Times also has a feature on the Japanese online film festival Con-Can, which recently wrapped up its latest edition.

- the Hong Kong Films blog reveals that next year’s big Lunar New Year movie Kung Fu Dunk may not be the most original film of the year. Hell, they can’t even seem to design original production stills. Is anyone that is not a Jay Chou fan seriously looking forward to this movie?

- This week’s Televiews column on the Daily Yomiuri recommends the only two dramas still worth catching on Japanese TV this season.

- Meanwhile, Japanese public broadcaster NHK will be cutting back on their jidaigeki (period dramas) and use the free time slot to gear to those young-uns. But wait, isn’t Japan’s population getting older, not younger?

- Looks like EMI Japan looks to turn into a Johnny’s-sized company by expanding themselves into a management firm that will be taking care of all aspects of an artist’s career. However, it doesn’t seem like all of EMI Japan’s current artists will be joining the firm.

- Under “good for them” news today, Seagull Diner director Naoko Ogigami’s latest Megane will be heading to the Sundance World Cinema Competition next February.

Under “what the hell were they smoking” news today, Kenneth Bi’s The Drummer is also entering that category. It’s not even an independent film, people!

The full list of competition films at Sundance.

- Just for kicks, here’s an infomercial for the total Chinese rip-off that is the Vii.

The Golden Rock - November 21st, 2007 Edition

- This week on the Oricon charts - the new badly named Johnny’s boy band Hey! Say! Jump! debuts at number 1 with their very first single, which is also similarly badly named (A pop boy band singing a song named “Ultra Music Power” is like Tom Cruise talking about psychology - neither has any business to talk/sing about it). Meanwhile, KinKi Kids’ latest album debuts at number 1 for a Johnny’s two-fer on the Oricon. Also, voice actress Nana Mizuki scores the highest debut album for a voice actress.

More details at Tokyograph

- Despite the military crackdown and the tortures, the Korean embassy in the capital city of Myanmar is still planning to hold a Korean film festival in the city featuring films such as Taeguki, Welcome to Dongmakgol, and The Host. Yes, movies about miltary occupations or such undertones will surely get the people in the mood to forget their current situation.

- I reported on Monday that Saw 4’s opening weekend gross in Japan is about on par with the rest of the series. Specifically, Eiga Consultant reports that on par means it’s at 92% of the previous film’s opening. However, they also pointed out that this is the first time opening on additional screens led to a decrease in opening gross.

- Variety Asia has a feature on the power of the Oscars on the Chinese audience.

This year, China’s official submission is The Knot, but I’m sure the people know that Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution has the most chance of getting into the race, with some American magazines naming star Tang Wei as a front-runner to get a best actress nomination, if not at categories such as adapted screenplay, music, and cinematography.

dscn2085.JPG

- According to Twitch, the first teaser for Stephen Chow’s A Hope will be on several Yahoo Asia sites, though it may just be for a limited period of time. I’m hoping to catch it when I get home tomorrow night, but I’m really not expecting to see much in the teaser.

- What does a Japanese rock band have to do to be inducted into the Hollywood Rock Walk? Sell 70 million copies of singles and albums combined, just like B’z did.

- With digital singles selling better than ever, even the Japanese diva herself Ayumi Hamasaki will be releasing her latest single in digital form only, even though she will shoot a MTV and a cover jacket. Her record company even said that its results may determine how they release her singles in the future.

- The Father of the Playstation Ken Kutaragi will be honored at the Interactive Achievement Awards, despite the fact that he had to resign from Sony due to the disappointing sales of Playstation 3.

- The Japanese group Fumido will be releasing a single next month that was actually ready to go a year ago - except they had to wait for a year for the MTV to be completed, because it’ll be made up of one year’s worth of pictures from a married couple’s life.

The Golden Rock - August 21st, 2007 Edition

A really slow news day today, so this entry is mercifully shorter than usual.

- The Japanese box office numbers show that the weekend match-up between Ocean’s 13 and Harry Potter was much closer than I thought. Despite Ocean’s 37 % drop (in comparison to Potter’s 27%), the difference between the two films were only a little more than 2 million yen. Nevertheless, Ocean benefited from the holiday week, with 1.75 billion yen already in the bank. Plus, both these films are released by Warner Bros., so they win either way.

Like everywhere else it played, Ratatouille is holding on based on word-of-mouth, losing only 7% of its business from last weekend. The biggest drop again goes to the latest Naruto movie. Meanwhile, Isao Yukisada’s latest Into the Faraway Sky failed to attract audiences based on Yukisada’s name alone, making only 26 million yen from 121 screens.

The only opening that made it to the top 10 is Fumihiko Sori’s animated film Vexville. On 181 screens, the film only made 42 million yen. That’s only 66% of Fumihiko’s producing effort Appleseed’s opening. However, the film has been sold to 129 countries for distribution, so I’m sure these guys will make their money back.

- A bit outdated, but Stephen Chow’s latest is no longer called A Hope, but CJ7, which would be a more literal translation from the film’s Chinese name, which i have no idea how to type in pinyin.
- Aya Ueto is going to be playing her first role as a mother in the fall Fuji TV drama Wild Mama. Apparently she will be a stepmom that argues with a lot of people. How does that make good TV again?

- In an effort to make you look more forward to the awards and not concentrate on its redundancy, the Asia Pacific Film Awards (to take place in Australia, not Asia) has just completed a complementary program featuring interviews with a lot of big-name Asian directors. Well, at least big names to me, alright?

- Any amateur game developers now have a new goal to reach - a win at the Amateur Division of the Japan Game Awards.

- Major South Korean entertainment firm Sidus (and I say major because I see its logo quite often) is penetrating the US market by buying a slice of Asian-American-targeted cable network Imaginasian TV. This means expect more Korean entertainment on American cable television, and that ain’t bad.

See? mercifully short.

The Golden Rock - August 21st, 2007 Edition

A really slow news day today, so this entry is mercifully shorter than usual.

- The Japanese box office numbers show that the weekend match-up between Ocean’s 13 and Harry Potter was much closer than I thought. Despite Ocean’s 37 % drop (in comparison to Potter’s 27%), the difference between the two films were only a little more than 2 million yen. Nevertheless, Ocean benefited from the holiday week, with 1.75 billion yen already in the bank. Plus, both these films are released by Warner Bros., so they win either way.

Like everywhere else it played, Ratatouille is holding on based on word-of-mouth, losing only 7% of its business from last weekend. The biggest drop again goes to the latest Naruto movie. Meanwhile, Isao Yukisada’s latest Into the Faraway Sky failed to attract audiences based on Yukisada’s name alone, making only 26 million yen from 121 screens.

The only opening that made it to the top 10 is Fumihiko Sori’s animated film Vexville. On 181 screens, the film only made 42 million yen. That’s only 66% of Fumihiko’s producing effort Appleseed’s opening. However, the film has been sold to 129 countries for distribution, so I’m sure these guys will make their money back.

- A bit outdated, but Stephen Chow’s latest is no longer called A Hope, but CJ7, which would be a more literal translation from the film’s Chinese name, which i have no idea how to type in pinyin.
- Aya Ueto is going to be playing her first role as a mother in the fall Fuji TV drama Wild Mama. Apparently she will be a stepmom that argues with a lot of people. How does that make good TV again?

- In an effort to make you look more forward to the awards and not concentrate on its redundancy, the Asia Pacific Film Awards (to take place in Australia, not Asia) has just completed a complementary program featuring interviews with a lot of big-name Asian directors. Well, at least big names to me, alright?

- Any amateur game developers now have a new goal to reach - a win at the Amateur Division of the Japan Game Awards.

- Major South Korean entertainment firm Sidus (and I say major because I see its logo quite often) is penetrating the US market by buying a slice of Asian-American-targeted cable network Imaginasian TV. This means expect more Korean entertainment on American cable television, and that ain’t bad.

See? mercifully short.

 
 
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