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Archive for the ‘media’ Category

The Golden Rock - September 9th, 2008 Edition

- Kaiju Shakedown’s Grady Hendrix writes a report from the Toronto Film Festival about the screening of Wong Kar Wai’s Ashes of Time Redux and the changes made from the original film.

- Hong Kong is getting another IMAX theater, this time at the far more convenient tourist-friendly neighborhood of Tsim Sha Tsui. The extra-large screen will be part of a 900-seat/5-screen theater that will also include two “premium” screens. Here’s hoping the other two auditoriums will be 200-seat+ large auditoriums.

Originally found on the Hong Kong Film Blog as well.

- The Warner Bros. lawsuit against an Indian studio over the kids film “Hari Puttar” has started, and funny enough, the judge subtly suggests that 20th Century Fox should be suing because it looks more like a rip-off of Home Alone, a charge that the studio has denied because it features musical sequences and animated sequences.

- Under “movies that will open film festivals” news today, Woody Allen’s latest will be opening the always troubled Bangkok Film Festival this year. Meanwhile, the Kazakhstani film The Gifts to Stalin will be opening this year’s Pusan Film Festival.

- Major Asian music presence EMI has decided to shut down its operations in several Southeast Asian territories, including Hong Kong. The affected areas will see their operations turned over to Warner Bros. In Hong Kong, EMI was once home to Gold Label and Denise “HOCC” Ho. On the other hand, Taiwan, where EMI has a fairly huge operation, is not one of the affected areas.

- Bae Yong Joon (aka Yon-sama) is looking at starring in a new drama next year, and his management company is seizing the chance to make money by taking on production duties themselves.

- At the ongoing Asia Media Summit, despite Asia looking at continuing growth, increasing costs and the post-Olympic hangover period mayput a stall on growth. On the other hand, it’s looking like India still has the potential to be the next big thing. Of course, China is still looking to be to be huge, especially in internet media, but a lack of transparency continues to dampen things.

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 - 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 - July 17th, 2008 Edition

How much money has Red Cliff made in Hong Kong?

According to now.com, Red Cliff has made HK$14.67 million after 7 days.

- The results for the Nikkan Sport Drama Grand Prix for the Spring 2008 season has been announced, and CHANGE barely beat Last Friends to win the Best Drama prize, although the drama hadn’t ended when the voting began. Kimura Takuya also took home Best Actor, beating Rookie’s Ryuta Sato. Around 40’s Yuki Amami won Best Actress, and Last Friends didn’t go home empty-handed, thanks to supporting acting awards for Ryu Nishikido and Juri Ueno.

- In addition to 1949, John Woo will be revealing another upcoming project at the upcoming ComicCon in the United States, a comic adaptation about King Arthur and his knights as gunslingers in the 19th century Pacific Northwest.

- Twitch reveals that there’s a possibility of a Jewel in the Palace film to be directed by none other than Zhang Yimou.

- As usual, Disney will be bringing over Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film Ponyo on a Cliff By the Sea to America, and this time Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy will be responsible for putting the American version together.

- An advanced screening has already been held for Ping Pong director Fumihiko Sori’s Ichi, starring young actress Haruka Ayase (currently selling Panasonic SD cards on Japanese trains) as the famous blind swordswoman character. Nippon Cinema reveals the character has actually undergone some major changes, including her occupation.

- Johnnie To has signed up as a jury member under president Wim Wenders at the upcoming Venice Film Festival.

- Twitch has an interview with famous Japanese animation director Satoshi Kon.

- With Japan going into full digital bradcasting in 3 years, a government authority is trying to crack down on the amount of infomercials shown on these digital channels.

The Golden Rock - July 12th, 2008 Edition

- It’s reviews time yet again, as Hollywood Reporter’s Maggie Lee has sent in her review of John Woo’s Red Cliff.

- Shiina Ringo has written Japanese band Tokio’s latest single, which will be used for the theme song of a drama this season.  Again, reporting this because I’m a fan.

- Hey, celebrity dancing shows and idol contest, the Chinese government says you can come back now because we’re all done with our collective, state-mandated mourning! They also say you should all be positive because the Olympics are coming!

- This week’s Teleview columns on the Daily Yomiuri looks at I Survived a Japanese Game Show and also some of the dramas this season.

- Instead of Youtube, Japanese public broadcaster NHK will be uploading their content onto video site Joost. I assume that the NHK fee men will not be coming up to your door and ask for subscription fees.

- Finally there’s a trailer for Ryu Seung Wan’s Dachimawa Lee that actually shows something from the movie. Looks like a fun period action romp from here.

- Heads up for those in Hong Kong that the summer edition of the Hong Kong International Film Festival, aka Summer Pops, has revealed their program. Sadly, most of the films either were simply films that pulled from the festival in March or films that already have release set in Hong Kong. I’ll still go, though.

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 - July 3rd, 2008 Edition

Heading off to Tokyo one last time tomorrow, and heading back to Hong Kong on Sunday, so this will probably be the last entry until Monday.

- Japan’s Emobile has pulled their latest ad, which features their mascot, a monkey, at the podium of a crowded rally for change, which is meant to resemble the Barack Obama campaign. Of course, Americans believe that they’re the center of the world and think that the Japanese actually know about way to insult an African American, one of which is to compare them to monkeys. If Americans are that culturally sensitive, there wouldn’t Rush Hour movies, Kung Fu Panda, and I Survived a Japanese Game Show. Then again, if Japanese are that culturally sensitive, one of the comedians on a variety show wouldn’t have called Bobby Ologun “Jero” and “Billy” (as in Billy Blank).

- According to Apple Daily, Stephen Chow is teaming up with a Taiwanese film company to bring back Journey to the West (which he explored in the Chinese Odyssey films). According to the Hong Kong Film blog, Chow wanted to take the monk role, but was pressured by the financiers to take on the Monkey King role once more. The way the blog spins this story is that Chow is suffering from the critical bashing from CJ7 because he appeased the Mainland censors too much, and now needs to dig back out old material to please his audience and his financiers again. No word on whether he’ll be directing or just acting like he did with the previous films.

- Kaiju Shakedown clears up that the so-called Warlords DVD from yesterday’s post is not the Jet Li-Andy Lau-Peter Chan Warlords.

- Twitch has a 5-minute-plus promo clip from Mamoru Oshii’s Sky Crawlers.

They also have that 9-minute promo clip for John Woo’s Red Cliff that was shown at Cannes. The Oriental Daily asked stars what they thought of the film at the premiere, and they apparently all liked it. Then again, what with saying the trouble one can get in from saying the wrong thing and this being Oriental Daily, take it with a grain of salt.

- Yesterday I reported that Taiwan may lift their ban of Mainland performers, and now Chinese broadcasting organization Phoenix Broadcasting has applied again for landing rights on the island after Mainland media was banned from the island in 2005.

- Jason Gray points out that the official website for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata has been updated with a classy new trailer. The trailer is also on Youtube if you want a slightly larger version.

- Variety’s Derek Elley has a review of Help, which is being touted as China’s first all-out horror film.

See you all back from Hong Kong on Monday.

The Golden Rock - June 25th, 2008 Edition

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

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

More at Tokyograph.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(insert big-texted title here)

A Partick Kong Film

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

Oh, dear.

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

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

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

The Golden Rock - June 24th, 2008 Edition

Catching up on weekend number crunching:

- Time for Japanese box office. As expected, Paramount included last week’s sneak preview numbers to boost their opening weekend figures for Indiana Jones. After deducting the 597 million yen figure reported by Eiga Consultant last week, the actual opening weekend number is actually roughly USD$7,890,000, or 847 million yen from 789 screens. Meanwhile, The Magic Hour continues to do well, losing only 12% of business and now passed the 2 billion yen mark. Aibou continues to have similar holding power, losing only 13.7% of business and is now past the 4 billion yen mark at the box office. In fact, nothing on the top 10 dropped by more than 26% at the box office this weekend, making for quite a healthy weekend in Japan.

In the battle of the two family-friendly films, the music-themed August Rush did much better with a 3rd place debut, thanks to the shameless advertisement, which literally asks potential audience to “please cry”. The other film, the Japanese-language The Witch of the West is Dead, debut all the way down at 6th place, and was actually on less screens to begin with.

- Finally some good news from Korean cinema, as The Public Enemy Returns rocketed to the top of South Korean box office with 1.6 million, outdoing Hollywood challengers Get Smart and 21.

More at Korea Pop Wars

- Despite some nonsensical complaints against it, Hollywood’s Kung Fu Panda reached the earthquake-strickened Sichuan Prefecture in China and is expected to do quite well. In fact, it already made about 10 million RMB this past weekend. The fact that the performance artist who complained against the film includes panda images in his work just says so much about his motives anyway.

- It’s Japanese TV drama ratings time! As previously mentioned, this season’s bona-fide hit Last Friends scored a season-high 22.8% rating for its last episode, after a tough start at the beginning of the season. The much talked-about drama has cliched a third-place finish with an average rating of 17.7%. That leaves Gokusen and CHANGE fighting out for first and second place. With Gokusen’s ratings still hovering below 20% this week (a slight rebound to 18.1%, actually), CHANGE may have a chance as it nears its climax these several weeks. Right now, Gokusen has an average of 22.5% (mostly likely to go up with its finale this week), and CHANGE has an average of 21.2%, which means CHANGE is still within reachable distance to a ratings victory this season.

In other ending dramas, Muri Na Renai rebounded with a 7.7% for its final episode, the third season of Keishichou Sousa Ikka 9 Gakari ends with a season-high 15.4%, Around 40 ends with a 15.1%, and Hokaben ends with an 8.9%. More next week, when many of the remaining dramas wrap up.

- Good news for Hins Cheung, and depressing news for Hong Kong music, as Hin Cheung’s first compilation album became the best-selling album in Hong Kong for the first half of 2008 with only 50,000 copies sold. In fact, the top selling Hong Kong albums are either concerts (Andy Lau, Eason Chan), compilations (Joey Yung, Hins Cheung), or cover albums (Alan Tam). The only original album on the chart is Taiwanese artist Joanna Wang’s debut album, which sold a measly 20,000 copies. This proves the problem in Hong Kong that illegal downloading is so prevalent that an artist’s popularity far precedes their sales figures. Just think: Denise Ho sold out all 7 of her concerts in 2006-2007, which adds up to over 70,000 people. However, her compilation sold only 20,000 copies so far.

Here’s the translated list of the top 10 best-selling albums in Hong Kong from January to May 2008, from this picture on Hong Kong’s Ming Pao:

Hins Cheung’s my 1st Best Collection
Andy Lau’s Wonderful World concert
Eason Chan’s Moving On Stage 1 concert
Love 07 compilation
Joey Yung’s Like Joey compilation
Beyond’s 25th Anniversary compilation
Alan Tam’s The Best Sound Ever Reborn
This is Classical Music compilation
Joanna Wang’s Start From Here
Denise Ho’s Goo Music Collection

-  (via Ryuganji)Ghibli World has a write-up on the latest trailer for Hayao Miyazaki’s latest Ponyo On a Cliff By the Sea, (that’s the official title on the poster), though it followed Ghibli’s policy of providing no video content for the internet. I saw the trailer yesterday, and it looks like a return to simplicity for the master.

- Just as Japan is finished being swept up by promotional wave for The Magic Hour, TBS is now filling their screen with Hana Yori Dango all day just ahead of the film version’s opening this Saturday. After their major promotional event at the Budokan, now it’s a one-hour special on TV just before opening day.

- Despite Japan’s aggressive policy to push people to get into digital broadcasting (the previously-mentioned “analog” screen text will begin next month), a survey reveals that only about 43% of all Japanese TV-watching households are digital-ready.

- The Chinese government has enacted a law requiring all media to give the government’s emergency response efforts free publicity, part of a larger law that requires more efficient emergency reporting during large-scale disasters.

- What kind of TV actually otdoes Japan is doing low-brow reality shows? America’s ABC, for actually putting the words “holy sushi” in the ad for a xenophoblic show like “I Survived a Japanese Game Show”.

- Twitch has an interview with director Ryo Iwamatsu, whose latest film premiered at the New York Asian Film Festival.

- After the surprise success of Dai Nipponjin, comedian/director/actor Hitoshi Matsumoto is reportedly already polishing the script for his follow-up film, while a possible sequel for Dai Nipponjin is also being discussed.

The Golden Rock - June 20th, 2008 Edition

Will be away for the weekend again, so here we go with the news for the weekend:

- A surprising turnout at the opening day Hong Kong box office, as Johnnie To’s Sparrow managed to beat out all the major competition to take the top spot on its first day. From a modest 30 screens, the caper film made HK$527,000, and is poised to take the weekend if it sees a boost in adult audiences over the weekend. However, Narnia and The Incredible Hulk are breathing down its neck not too far back, with HK$460,000 and HK$410,000 each and looking to take up the younger audiences over the weekend.

As for the other opening films, Hollywood parody flick Superhero Movie is down at 4th place with HK$373,000 from 22 screens, and City Without Baseball only made HK$40,000 from 8 screens, despite the citywide blanket promotion and its multiple appearances in the news. Lastly, Las Vegas caper film 21 made HK$35,000 from 2 screens. More on Monday or Tuesday when the weekend numbers are out.

- Universe did the distribution for Sparrow, and news has come out that its major shareholder is apparently trying to exit the company and sell its share to another firm. No word on whether this will affect for their ongoing productions, which include the Pang Brothers’ Storm Riders sequel.

-  I literally read about this at three different places in the last 24 hours, along with coverage on daytime entertainment news yesterday. So I’ll just let them do all the talking: I’m talking about respected Japanese director Koji Yakusho making his directorial debut that’s now filming and looking for a release next year:

(in order of discovery)

Tokyograph report.

Jason Gray report

Variety Asia report.

I can’t tell if this will be serious like Tokyo Sonata or quirky like Dog in a Sidecar yet. Either way, I assume that Yakusho has picked up enough from all the directors he’s worked with to do fairly well with his debut. I hope.

- I wrote a half-paragraph review of The Magic Hour because I don’t want to give a full review of a film I only understood 60% of. So here’s a review from Japan Times’ Mark Schilling, someone who did understand the whole movie.

- China has issued the first set of licenses for over 200 sites to share streaming video over the internet, but failed to include some of the country’s biggest sites on that list.

- As the world slowly moves from analog to digital television broadcasting, the ASEAN (Association of Southeastern Asian Nation) has come together to set a unified standards for the member nations’ own transition.

- The Daily Yomiuri looks at the Chinese film The Western Trunk Line, a film about a rural village just after the end of the Cultural Revolution that picked up the Special Jury Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

- The Southern All Stars managed to cram in one more high-profile single before their hiatus, which will be featured in the latest line of a cosmetics commercial.

- This week’s Televiews Column on the Daily Yomiuri covers observations on mainstream Japanese media and how they cover recent breaking news such as the Akihabara killer and the major earthquake last week. I agree - I really don’t want to know anymore about how quickly this crazy bastard managed to slice down people, and I don’t want to see anymore cameras shoved into greiving families’ faces.

- Jason Gray also covers the latest news on Takeshi Kitano’s new film with the release of the poster. Kitano as a painter? He so crazy.

 
 
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