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Archive for the ‘music’ Category

The Golden Rock - September 21st, 2008 Edition

Since I took the weekend off, this is an extra-packed edition of The Golden Rock

- The big news this weekend is the announcement of the new Green Hornet movie. Sony Pictures, who co-produced Kung Fu Hustle and CJ7, has signed Stephen Chow to star in the film along with Seth Rogen. He will also make his English-language directorial debut with the film, which now has a release date of June 25th, 2010. Supposedly, this will come after Chow finishes up Kung Fu Hustle 2, a news that just came out of nowhere for this blogger.

- Back to the usual box office news. The critically acclaimed Japanese drama Departures opened last weekend at 5th place in the attendance charts, but both the positive reviews and holiday weekend opening date helped it scored a surprisingly high opening. On 220 screens, the dramedy made 348 million yen over the 3-day weekend. Even though the distributor expected it to appeal to an older audience, the demographic was wider than expected. With the surprising opening, Shochiku has now adjusted their expected gross of 2 billion yen to 3 billion yen.

-Despite the usual netizen complaints, The Mummy 3 has now passed the 100 million yuan mark at the Chinese box office after only 2 weeks. Of course, Variety points out that it’s still no Red Cliff.

- It’s reviews time! From Japan Times’ Mark Schilling is the review for the controversial and potentially disturbing Kodomo no Kodomo. Fortunately he says it’s not all that disturbing. From the Daily Yomiuri’s Christph Mark is a review for Takeshi Kitano’s Achilles and the Tortoise.

- CNN recently compiled a list of the best Asian films, which not only included classics such as Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru and King Hu’s  A Touch of Zen, but also recent films such as The Host, In the Mood for Love, and (somewhat head-scratching) Infernal Affairs.

- Under “Asian film festivals” news today, the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival has announced its extensive list of 75 films, which will include the Taiwanese hit Cape no.7, Koki Mitani’s The Magic Hour, the omnibus film Tokyo!, Herman Yau’s True Women for Sale, and Ivy Ho’s Clustrophobia. Needless to say, I’m going to quite a few of them.

As previously mentioned, the Tokyo International Film Festival also announced its lineup. In addition to closing film Wall-E, it will also feature Clustrophobia (Asian premiere) and 3 other premieres. Astonishingly, the programmers also decided to include the Korean commercial blockbuster/cheesy nightmare D-War in the lineup as well.

With only a few days to go, organizers at the Bangkok International Film Festival decided to pull Junji Sakamoto’s Children of the Dark from its lineup after sponsors argued the film “does not fit in Thai society”, even though it was a co-production between a Japanese and a Thai production company.

- This week’s Televiews column on the Daily Yomiuri looks at the latest NHK daily morning drama. The timeslot has been going through a gradual descent in the ratings, and NHK has brought back the stars of the highest-rated morning drama in the last 11 years in a hope for a repeat.

-  Han Cinema has a feature on award-winning actress Jeon Do Yeon, whose first post-Cannes film was released in Korean theatres over the weekend.

- Shiina Ringo (or her record company) just keep on celebrating her 10th year with EMI: A set of her remastered albums, as well as extra goodies, will be released in November after releasing a set of B-sides and concert DVD earlier in the year. My wallet is already screaming out in pain.

-  The Daily Yomiuri has a feature on Japanese singer-lyricist-composer Suga Shikao, whose new album was recently released.

- Lastly, we are sad to announce the sudden death of Japanese director Jun Ichkawa, who was the first director to take on Haruki Murakami for the big screen with Tony Takitani. He was 59.

The Golden Rock - September 17th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Japanese Oricon charts time! Namie Amuro’s hit compilation album has finally been bumped off the top of the charts….by another compilation album. This time, it’s Ayumi Hamasaki’s latest compilation, which marks the 14th #1 album in the pop diva’s career. Meanwhile, Amuro’s album, still the best-selling album of 2008 so far, is now down at 5th place.

On the singles chart, Mr. Children manages to hang on to their first place for the second week in a row, despite new releases by Ai Otsuka and Glay.

More from Tokyograph.

- The Hong Kong Films Blog looks at the miraculous cinema run for Kelvin Tong’s Rule #1 in Hong Kong. Released two weeks ago, the film could only secure 7 screens, at least 2 of which only played the film at 11:45 pm, and only after the film won two Best Actor Awards at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival. However, the audiences kept coming thanks to strong word-of-mouth, and not only did one of the two 11:45pm-only theater added an afternoon screening, another theater also joined in to screen the film. Rule #1 will now go into its third week, still with only a limited amount of screenings. But for a film that started with only a show a day and never got onto the top 10 to continue playing for a third week is pretty amazing for Hong Kong cinema these days.

- Kaiju Shakedown looks at the two finished Herman Yau films that will probably come out this year. He’s probably calling Rebellion the more interesting film because he doesn’t know that the Chinese title for True Women For Sale roughly translates to “I Don’t Sell My Body, I Sell My Uterus”. Honestly, I’m surprised that the studio kept the title.

- The Japanese media has been reporting that the critically-acclaimed Japanese film Departures won three awards at China’s Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival, including Best Film, Best Actor, and Best Director. However, the only English-language report and the only “complete” awards list report that Feng Xiaogang’s The Assembly won Best Film at the Hundred Flowers Award and has no mention of Departures winning anything at the festival.  So what the hell is going on? Overzealous Japanese media or indifferent Chinese media?

- Under “who cares that this is getting made?” news today, the sequel for the 1997 comedy Beverly Hills Ninja will begin shooting in Korea next month, and will be the first major Hollywood film to do so. Presumably, Chris Farley, the star of the first film, will not be returning, since he passed away nearly 11 years ago. However, Red Cliff star Lin Chi Ling will be in it, which makes this all the more worthy of the blog. I guess.

- While most of the world has already seen Pixar’s Wall-E, the Tokyo International Film Festival will be giving it prestige status by making it its closing film this year…..screening it a full three months after its American release date and almost two months before it’ll be released theatrically in Japan.

In context, just 4 years ago, the TIFF managed to be the hold the world premiere of Kung Fu Hustle two months before its release date in the rest of Asia.

- The Japanese band GReeeeN, which has yet to make a public appearance because they’re all either aspiring or practicing dentists, will be collaborating with the band BACK-ON for a new unit called BAReeeeeeeeeeN. The 10 e’s is because it has 10 members, not because someone kept the finger on the e button.

- Kaiju Shakedown also has the trailer for the next likely hit Hollywood comedy, except it’s made in Japan.

The Golden Rock - September 13th, 2008 Edition

- It’s reviews time again! Lovehkfilm just got updated with some new reviews. From Our Boss Kozo is the review for the Ekin-Shawn Yue two-fer Rule No. 1 and a review for Lam “fat dude in Shaolin Soccer” Chi Chung’s The Luckiest Man, which I thankfully missed out on. From A Man Called Sanjuro™ is a review for the Shaw Bros. martial arts film The New One-Armed Swordsman and the review for the Singaporean blockbuster 881. And from yours truly is a review for the Japanese talky flick Best Wishes for Tomorrow. And here’s an article from Japan Times on the film that should be an interesting companion to the review. I also just found this column written by the film’s co-writer about the film’s main character.From Variety’s Dennis Harvey are two reviews for recent Japanese films. First is Hirokazu Kore-eda’s family drama Still Walking, then it’s Ryosuke Hashiguchi’s excellent All Around Us

.- Sean Penn’s Into the Wild opened this past weekend in Japan on a limited 26 screens. While it made a less-than-impressive 13.73 million, Eiga Consultant reports that it actually played to sold-out shows at the three Tokyo screens, and that each of the screen actually attracted a different demographic.

-  It’s trailers time! This time both clips are from Twitch. First is the trailer for Kim Ki Duk’s latest film Sad Dream, which stars Jo Odagir speaking in his native Japanese instead of having no lines like Chang Chen in Breath. Then there’s a Mandarin-dubbed trailer for Wu Jing’s co-directorial debut Legendary Assassin, which features several Gold Label stars such as Alex “I used to swim at the Olympics” Fong and a cameo by Ronald Cheng because head honcho Paco Wong produced it.

- Japanese drama Code Blue just wrapped up this week with an OK-19.5% rating, which solidfies its spot as the top-rated drama of the Summer 2008 season. Guess what that means? A special one-off episode during New Years!

- Hollywood’s Focus Features have signed up to co-produce Park Chan Wook’s latest film along with its Korean producer. And since Focus Features is actually a division of Universal, this means that Universal is in on it too. It’s the first time a Korean film is being made with Hollywood money, although last year CJ Entertainment co-produced the American film August Rush.

- Kenichi “L” Matsuyama looks to be going into his indie film mode, signing up for a new film with an “ultra” cool name.

- This week’s Televiews column on The Daily Yomiuri goes into the wrapping up of Summer 2008 dramas and a possible Japanese remake of Winter Sonata starring the son of ex-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

- The management of Japanese idols group AKB48 has a real good reason to be pissed: The latest single, which isn’t even finished yet, has already been leaked on the internet ahead of its October release date.

- Hoga Central has an interview with Kaori Momoi and Takashi Miike to coincide with the release of Sukuyaki Western Django in the United States.

- The 2nd annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards is looking at a wider competition this year, as it has received double the amount of submissions compared to last year.

The Golden Rock - September 12th, 2008 Edition

- It’s looking like another crowded weekend at the Hong Kong box office this weekend, with at least 4 wide releases. Debuting at the top is the Hollywood musical Mamma Mia, which opened on 34 screens for an opening day take of HK$395,000. This is likely to attract more adult audiences as the holiday weekend rolls around, so it’s looking to do fairly well. In second place is the Thai horror omnibus 4BIA, which made HK$214,000 from 27 screens on opening day. Not opening so well is the Japanese doggie film 10 Promises with My Dog, which made just HK$206,000 from 35 screens. The distributor is likely hoping that it’ll do solid long-term business like A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies did earlier in the year. Rounding out the wide releases is the Simon Yam-produced Ocean Flames, which made only HK$80,000 from 26 screens. Some multiplexes have already panicked and reduced the number of daily showings for over the weekend.

Actually, two major Hong Kong releases were scheduled to come out for the holiday weekend - Jingle Ma’s Butterfly Lovers and Alan Mak/Felix Chong’s Lady Cop and Papa Crook. However, both films were moved to October, with Mei Ah citing that they never officially scheduled the September release date (despite the fact that they ran promotions with the September date in mind), while Mak and co. citing that their film needs further post-production tweaking. Hence, another holiday weekend goes to waste for HK cinema. More when the numbers are out on Tuesday.

- Japan has announced that they will be sending the recent award-winner Departures (or Okuribito) to try for the Best Foreign Film award at the Academy Awards this year.

-It’s reviews time! First, the Daily Yomiuri’s Ikuko Kitagawa has a review of Departures, then Japan Times’ Mark Schilling has the likely first English review for Tetsuya Nakashima’s latest Paco and the Magic Book, and Variety’s Robert Koehler gives his take on Rian Johnson’s The Brothers Bloom, which is included here because Rinko Kikuchi has a supporting role in the film.

- Johnnie To/Wai Ka Fai’s Mad Detective has picked up another award, this time the Audience Award at the 2nd annual Changmuro International Film Festival. Hur Jin Ho’s Happiness also picked up the Discovery Award.

- This year’s big Japanese pop hit Soba Ni Iru Ne just won’t go away, as now it has been recognized by the Guinness World Record as the song with the most cell phone downloads.

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 8th, 2008 Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All drama information can be found at Tokyograph.

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

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

Original story by Apple Daily.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Rock - September 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 - September 3rd, 2008 Edition

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

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

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

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

More from Tokyograph

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Rock - September 1st, 2008 Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Rock - 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.

 
 
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