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Archive for the ‘Hollywood’ Category

The Golden Rock - September 5th, 2008 Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Rock - August 30th, 2008 Edition

- Very sudden news out of Japan yesterday. Young Japanese award-winning actor Yuya Yagira was rushed to the hospital yesterday after an apparent suicide attempt involving lots of pills. Yagira bursted onto the Japanese film scene by becoming the youngest winner of the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for Nobody Knows.

- It’s reviews time! Variety’s Jordan Mintzer has the first review of the Pang Brothers’ self-remake of Bangkok Dangerous, starring Nicholas Cage and his bad hair. From Venice are reviews of Takeshi Kitano’s Achilles and the Tortoise, first from Variety critic Derek Elley, then from Hollywood Reporter’s Ray Bennett. From Japan Times is Mark Schilling’s review of Toshio Lee’s Detroit Metal City, starring Kenichi Matsuyama. Also from Derek Elley is the review for Kelvin Tong’s Rule #1, which earned Ekin Cheng and Shawn Yue surely their first Best Actor awards.

- Meanwhile, the Pangs talk to the Hollywood Reporter, telling them that they actually prefer the Hollywood way of systematic filmmaking as opposed to the quick improvisational style of Hong Kong films.

- Jason Gray reports from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s appearance at the Foreign Correspondants’ Club of Japan for his award-winning film Tokyo Sonata.

- Nippon Cinema has the first trailer for the Takeshi Kaneshiro starring vehicle K-20. Turns out he’s not the villain - he’s just accused of being one. Looks like some old-fashioned adventure fun.

- Major Japanese network TBS will be offering pay-per-view office through their broadband TV service. The first major offering will be TBS’ latest film, which will be available online even before the film hits theaters.

- Users of iTunes China can rejoices, as the music downloading program has been unblocked by the Chinese authorities. The Songs for Tibet album, however, is now missing, and netizens are getting all irate, screaming for more boycotting and banning.

-I missed out on reporting the Tony Jaa-Ong Bak 2 mess because of work, but now I can finally get a mention in: Tony Jaa has returned to the film, but only as an actor. Word is that Jaa’s mentor and Born to Fight director Panna Rittikrai will be taking over the director’s chair to finish the film.

- This week’s Televiews column looks at Japan’s coverage of the Olympics. With incompetent interviewers and unbearable media pressure on athletes, it sounds like Japan didn’t do all that much better than Hong Kong television’s immature and one-sided coverage.

The Golden Rock - August 28th, 2008 Edition

- While we keep waiting for Box Office Mojo to update their Japan numbers, Mr. Texas at Eiga Consultant looks at the opening for the Sex and the City movie in Japan. On 286 screens, the film adaptation made roughly 190 million yen. The opening is 85% of the opening weekend gross of distributor Gaga’s female-oriented A Moment to Remember in 2005. Considering the fact the Korean film came out during the peak of the Korean wave, saw very good word-of-mouth, and didn’t require knowledge of any source material, it’s not likely that Sex and the City will hit anywhere near A Moment to Remember’s 3 billion yen gross. Also, Mr. Texas reports that the film only did well in urban areas like Tokyo, which doesn’t spell well for the New York gals in long-term gross.

- Tokyo News Reporter looks at why Japan hasn’t warmed up to The Dark Knight, resulting in a much lower box office gross than expected, despite fairly good response from those that have seen it. Remember this is the same country that made Hana Yori Dango Final a hit, which would explain the whole thing about audiences liking their action films light and fluffy.

- With the Olympics ending, people in China are heading back to the cinemas, propelling the grosses for The Incredible Hulk to over 24 million yuan already, far surpassing the gross of Ang Lee’s take on the green monster. Of course, there are now more screens and more audiences in China. Add that with the promise of more action, it’s no surprise that the new Incredible Hulk would do so much better.

- The Chinese film Survival Song by director Yu Guangyi has picked up the top prize at the 2nd Cinema Digital Seoul Festival. Another Chinese film, The Little Moth, picked up the audience prize.

- Celine Dion will hit the movie theme song world again with a contribution for director Yukihiko Tsutsumi’s latest film. When the hell did Tsutsumi find time to make another film when he’s busy with the 20th Century Boys trilogy?!

- Under “not a bad idea” news today: Hollywood studio Paramount has commissioned a Singapore-based animation house to produce mobile comics to promote their upcoming films. No idea how much the comics themselves will relate to the films and how much carriers will be charging for these content.

-In John Woo’s continuing spiral into old-age sentimentality, he now announces that he wants to make a sports film with Chinese gold medalists Guo Jingjing and Liu Xiang. Of course, then his producer Terence Chang turns around and says “um…really?” When did the director of Hard Boiled and The Killer turned into…this?

- Associated Press’ Min Lee looks at Connected, the Hong Kong remake of the Hollywood film Cellular. Benny Chan continues to show off that he’s doing it better than Hollywood, but it’s that kind of ego-stroking that gets me worried.

- (via Japan News Junkies) NHK has announced that they are launching a 24-hour network that will broadcast English-language programming from Japan to all over the world via satellite. However, NHK already has a similar network called NHK World that I currently get for free here in Hong Kong, so what exactly are they talking about?

Also, Nippon Television has announced that they will be one of the network’s investors, but no word on whether they’ll provide any content.

The Golden Rock - August 26th, 2008 Edition

- It’s reviews time! First from Boss Kozo (working a bit of overtime because I couldn’t find time to attend the film festival) are reviews of the omnibus film A Decade of Love, the Taiwan-Japan co-production Tea Fight (I hate Vic Chou for being able to do that with Erika Toda), and the animation hit Evangelion:1.0 You Are (Not) Alone. From a man called Sanjuro are reviews of the Korean sci-fi film Yesterday and the classic martial arts film The One-Armed Swordsman.

From Variety are two reviews by Derek Elley, one for Kwak Jae-Young’s Cyborg She (which I saw today but wasn’t fully satisfied with) and the Japanese omnibus flick Eat and Run: 6 Beautiful Grifters.

- Nippon Cinema has a trailer for a little psuedo-autobiographical indie film named Umeda Yuko no Kokuhaku, the feature film debut of a 19-year old Tokyo Visual Arts College graduate. It certainly looks less film school and more confident than a usual post-school film.

- Guess which is more important to the Chinese government: Supressing freedom of speech, or supressing illegal downloads?

- Marvel Entertainment is reportedly working with Japanese animation house Madhouse for four separate series that will reimagine Marvel superheroes for the Japanese market. No word on which heroes will be part of said reimagining.

- This counts as The Golden Rock news because Michelle Yeoh is in the movie. Too bad this is an interview in which Babylon AD’s director pretty much calls his own film complete shit.

- Under “he’s that famous?!” news today, Bae Yong-Joon (known as Yon-Sama in Japan) will be opening the second branch of his own restaurant in Tokyo after the first one has been deemed a success.

The Golden Rock - July 27th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Taiwanese music charts time! On the G-Music General Chart this week, Jam Hsiao takes the top stop again as Christine Fan’s compilation slips down to 3rd place. Wilber Pan’s latest compilation couldn’t beat the talent show contestant, debuting at 2nd place withjust under 5% of total sales.

- More on the awards at Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival - Local hit thriller The Chaser picks up three awards, including the festival’s top prize. Meanwhile, Japanese gore film Tokyo Gore Police and Korean horror film Hansen and Gretel. As mentioned in yesterday’s entry, Ekin Cheng and Shawn Yue shared the Best Actor Award.

- Also, the Pia Film Festival, which showcases feature films by new talents, has wrapped up in Japan, and Jason Gray writes a short report about the films at the festival. I managed to review two of last year’s major winners in the past year, and I hope I’ll have the chance to catch a few of this year’s Pia winning films as well.

- It’s reviews time! From Japan Times we have a review of Ryoichi Hiroki’s Your Friends from Mark Schilling and a review of the controversial Summer Palace from Giovanni Fazio. From Hollywood Reporter we have Maggie Lee’s reviews of the Singaporean film 18 Grams of Love, the Japanese gore flick Tokyo Gore Police, and the Thai film Dream Team.

- And this week’s Televiews column on the Daily Yomiuri looks at the excessive amount of comedians on Japanese TV and a bunch of made-for-TV movies just before the Olympics.

- The baseball drama Rookies wrapped up last night. But with its impressively steady ratings and positive word-of-mouth, do you really expect TBS to simply let it go away? Of course not!

- Another non-surprise is the police drama Aibou being brought back again for a 7th season. The film version of the drama was the top-grossing film in Japan for the first half of 2008, and its spinoff film is coming next year. With 6 seasons that run 6 months at a time, this is one show I will never have the time to catch up on.

- With The Forbidden Kingdom opening this weekend in Japan, the Daily Yomiuri speaks to director Rob Minkoff about the challenge of working with both Jet Li and Jackie Chan. I wonder how he feels about both stars essentially not being very proud of the film.

- Twitch looks at the Korean independent action film Spare, which looks to offer some hardcore action captured on DV.

- Following in the footsteps of Warner Bros. and Sony, Hollywood studio Paramount will be creating their own worldwide distribution/production division and work on distributing films in Asia themselves. They’re already working with producer Taka Ichise (The Ring films) on a remake of Ghost. Wait, which Ghost?

The Golden Rock - July 23rd, 2008 Edition

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

How Much Money has Red Cliff Made in Hong Kong?

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

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

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

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

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

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

More at Tokyograph

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Rock - July 11th, 2008 Edition

- And it was a huge opening day for John Woo’s Red Cliff here at the Hong Kong box office. Despite a running time of 140 minutes (which means less shows, despite an inflated ticket price), the historical epic made HK$2 million from 60 screens, and newspapers are even reporting sold-out shows in the afternoon. Shows will likely be added over the weekend, and it’ll also likely hit the HK$10 million mark by the end of the weekend.

For kids who don’t care about the Three Kingdoms, Japanese animated film Keroro did fairly well also, opening on 30 screens for an opening day take of HK$776,000, and will also see a fair boost in business over the weekend, as kids films often do. It will also take away a chunk of audience for Kung Fu Panda, which made HK$569,000 from 54 screens on its 13th day of release. More on Monday.

Variety also looks at Red Cliff’s openings in other Asian countries.

- Japan Times’ Mark Schilling has posted what must be the first English-language review of Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea.

- It first broke on Ryuganji, and now it’s pretty much everywhere: Japanese detective drama Aibou, whose film adapatation is the biggest hit for the first half of 2008, will be going the Bayside Shakedown route already with a spinoff film for one of its supporting characters.

- The latest Mummy film, shot and set in China as one of the highest-profile Chinese co-productions to date, is reportedly having its release held up by Chinese censorship authories, even though they shot with an approved script.

Saving more news for the weekend entries. See you then.

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The Golden Rock - July 9th, 2008 Edition

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

More over at Tokyograph.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Rock - July 8th, 2008 Edition

- As expected, Hancock topped the Korean box office, as Hollywood films dominate for another weekend. However, Public Enemy Returns is reaching the 3 million admissions mark, though Crossing isn’t making much of a dent.

More at Korea Pop Wars

- Korea is not the only place where local films are suffering at the box office, as Bollywood is also posting a loss of about USD$37.5 million for the first 6 months of 2008.

- The controversy surrounding the “Waiwai” column on the English version of the Manichi Daily News website continues. Apparently, the newspaper is caving to those obsessed Japanese netizens by not only punishing those involved with the column, which translates Japanese tabloid magazine articles to English, but also carrying a thorough investigation into the column. I did read Waiwai, and I enjoyed reading it as trashy fun. While those responsible should’ve made it more clear about its sensational nature, isn’t it becoming a bit of a witch hunt now?

- With Kung Fu Panda now a major hit in China, Chinese filmmakers are asking why they can’t make that same type of film in their own country. Somewhat surprisingly, they get blame the government and live to tell about it.

- Danny Glover made a public appearance in Tokyo to talk about his latest film, the Japan-American co-production The Harimaya Bridge. He said that he hopes the film will bridge Japanese and American prejudices. I assume that means for America, they should get rid of stuff like I Survived a Japanese Game Show. As for Japan, they should probably not do something like this:

img_0189.JPG

Yes, those are two Japanese actors doing Driving Miss Daisy in full make-up.

- It’s reviews time! First up is Variety’s Derek Elley’s very positive review for the Chinese comedy Two Stupid Eggs. He obviously liked it more than I did.  Hollywood Reporter has a few new reviews for some Bollywood flicks, but the one I’m most interested in is Lisa Tsering’s review for the sci-fi epic Love Story 2050.

- The life of Japanese boxer Daisuke Naito, which include being bullied at school and a period of isolation at home, will be turned into a TV movie. It will be shown at the end of the month.

- Jang Dong-Gun will supposedly be starring in Korean director Lee Myung-Se’s next film. However, the report may be talking about the documentary Earth, which is the shortened film version of the TV documentary Planet Earth. In Japan, the film was narrated by Ken Watanabe, and it was definitely not directed by Lee Myung-Se.

Correction: Turns out maybe the report, seems to be badly translated, is reporting that Jang will be narrating Earth after starring in Lee’s latest film M. Maybe.

- A Brazilian telenovela (the South American version of a soap opera) will be shooting in Indonesia. Wait, do they mean the whole thing?

- Another Japanese drama is going to the big screen. However, unlike your usual adaptations, this drama was shown on TV after midnight because it features nudity. No word on whether said gratuitous nudity will be translated to the big screen as well.

- Some netizens have pointed out that parts of the poster for John Woo’s Red Cliff resemble the poster for the Hollywood film 300. Who’s surprised that an Asian film would rip off Hollywood designs, and who’s surprised that there will be people complaining about it? I don’t see any hands raised.

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.

 
 
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