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Archive for the ‘ratings’ Category

The Golden Rock - May 25th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Taiwanese music charts time! Energy member Milk Yeh’s debut album could only muster a 2nd place debut behind Jesse McCartney’s album with 2.9% of total sales. The slow sales gave Victor Wong and Kenji Wu a chance to climb back up on the chart. Coco Lee’s relevance in Chinese pop may’ve just been proven, as her latest compilation could only get a debut at 11th place with just 0.86% of total sales. Khalil Fong also made it back into the top 20 at 17th place with 0.7% of total sales.

- Congratulations to Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata, which picked up the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. NHK News is already all over this.

- It’s reviews time! First up is Derek Elley’s review for Kim Jee-Woon’s The Good, The Bad, and the Weird. I can’t wait to watch this now. Mark Schilling of Japan Times also has a review of a film I’m anticipating - Kenji Uchida’s After School, his follow-up to the smart A Stranger of Mine.

- The Daily Yomiuri’s Televiews column looks at the ratings for the some of the dramas this season, as well as a brief review for Kimura Takuya’s CHANGE.

- Instead of paying for that expensive making-of DVD for Aoi Miyazaki’s latest film, now you can just catch clips of them at theatres, one clip at a time until its release in February.

- According to a research on the media, the American cable news networks have been giving less coverage of the Asian disasters than viewers demand. However, I watch CNN International here in Hong Kong, and the amount coverage has actually been quite balanced, with news getting fairly equal time, other than the live shows from the American CNN, of course.

- After a drama and two hit movies on deep-sea divers, there will be a Japanese drama on doctors who rescue people on helicopters. With a slate of promising young actors (plus a boy band member), the drama is coming this summer.

- I forgot to include the several deals that Fortissimo was also able to get at Cannes, which includes oversea distribution for Tokyo Sonata and Ashes of Time Redux.

- Japan takes successful adaptation one step further. After the film and TV drama versions of Ima, Ai Ni Yukimasu (Be With You), the tearjerker fantasy novel is now coming back as an audio drama. The news also mentions that a Hollywood remake starring Jennifer Garner is in the works. Actually, I can see her in the Yuko Takeuchi role.

- Twitch has an English-subtitled trailer for Go Shibata’s acclaimed Late Bloomer, which has been picked up for North American release by the up-and-coming Tidepoint Pictures.

- Apparently, Zhang Ziyi is quite upset that a group of people in Cannes doesn’t know much about China earthquake, accusing them of not knowing what’s going on on Earth. In related news, Zhang Ziyi doesn’t know how to spell “hypocrisy”.

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 12th, 2008 Edition

- There was a public holiday in Hong Kong today, so no box office numbers. Maybe tomorrow night.

- We DO have, however, the cinema attendance figures for Japan. Aibou - The Movie took first place, as expected. What wasn’t expected was the Hollywood comedy The Bucket List got second place, and The Last Princess could only muster a third place opening, which may be a little disappointing considering its blockbuster status. Also, The Mist opened at 7th place. More when the numbers are out.

- We also have last week’s Japanese drama ratings. The biggest surprise is the sudden boost for Last Friends, which saw last week’s rating jumped from the previous week’s 15.9% all the way up to 19.9%. Meanwhile, Muri Na Renai continues to stumble, this week down to 6.2%, while Ryoteki na Kanojo (aka My Sassy Girl) continues its fall with only a 7% rating for this week’s episode. On the other hand, Gokusen got a bit of a bump, scoring a 25% rating for Saturday’s episode, and Fuji’s new Saturday 11pm drama 81 Diver got a bit of a rebound as well with a 7.6 rating this week.

All Japanese drama sypnosis at Tokyograph.

- (via Ryuganji) Sai Yoichi has certainly been in the public eye a lot recently, and his latest appearance is in a discussion with Yasukuni director Li Ying as the head of the Director’s Guild of Japan.

- Not only will Gegege No Kitaro see its movie sequel this summer, there will also be an animated movie coming this December, and there will be six different theatrical versions of the film, depending on the region. Intriguing, but will it give extra incentive for people to buy a ticket?

-Kaiju Shakedown’s Grady Hendrix has revealed that the limited American screenings of Japanese film Death Note will be unfortunately be dubbed in English.

- The Kimura Takuya drama CHANGE is premiering tonight, and Fuji TV actually wants ratings so badly that they’re ready to give away a car for it.

- Japanese young audiences are apparently so poor at reading that subtitlers are now struggling to make subtitles that everyone can understand. It’s depressing that Japanese kids today don’t even know what The Soviet Union is and who the Nazi are.

The Golden Rock - May 7th, 2008 Edition

- It’s Japanese drama ratings time! Muri Na Renai (the drama about the 60-year-old man in love with a woman 25 years younger) continues its freefall with a drop to 6.9% rating in the previous episode (we’ll talk about the latest episode next week(. Meanwhile, the Yu Aoi-led drama Osen drops quite a bit in its second week to an 8.7% rating. Last Friends continues to perform strongly, as its ratings went up to a 15.9% again for its 4th episode. However, it’s still the third installment of Gokusen that’s winning the season, though its ratings fell again for the second week in a row, now down to a 23.3%, although the Golden Week holidays may have something to do with it. Another freefalling drama to watch out for is Ryokiteki na Kanojo (aka the drama adaptation of Korean film My Sassy Girl), whose rating dropped by another 2.8% to only an 8.7% for its third episode.

Japanese drama info at Tokyograph.

- It’s Japan music charts time! On the Oricon charts, Koichi Domoto, under the name of his character in the movie Sushi Ouji got the number one single. Shuchishin (what is the big deal with these guys?) continue their stand at #2, beating all the other new releases of the week.

Meanwhile, Madonna topped the album charts with her latest album, as the other new release, the Sushi Ouji soundtrack barely got on the chart.

More at Tokyograph.

Meanwhile, the more comprehensive Billboard Japan 100 charts put British artist Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love” at the top and Hata Motohiro at 2nd place, with the latter due to radio play. Since the Billboard charts have different criteria such as radio play and surveying possibly a different number of stores, it’s interesting to see the different ways of gauging musical popularity.

Also, Thelma Aoyama’s hit single “Soba Ni Iru Ne” is now the top single of 2008…so far.

- No Japanese box office numbers yet, but different reports are coming in about Aibou’s phenomenal opening. Over the 5-day holiday weekend, the drama adaptation already racked up over 1.2 billion yen, and its attendance figures is at 150% of YAMATO’s opening, although I don’t think YAMATO opened on an extended weekend such as this.

report from Tokyograph.

report from Variety Asia.

- Hollywood Reporter’s Maggie Lee has a review of Daniel Lee’s Three Kingdoms - Resurrection of the Dragon. What, no mention of Maggie Q’s “when my men battle, I rock the ancient guitar” routine?

- The troubled Bangkok Film Festival is back this year, but it’s now been shifted from July to September, and it will probably be part of the new Bangkok Entertainment Expo, modeled after the successful Hong Kong Entertainment Expo.

- Question: How the hell do you pull off a concept single with “vivid” as a concept?

- Grady Hendrix looks at what’s wrong with Korean films this year just from looking at the trailer for The Legendary Libido.

- Under “your daily Edison Chen news” today, actor/director Stephen Fung confirmed that his latest film Jump is currently stuck in limbo while awaiting approval from China’s SARFT. Also, he said that he did not cut one frame of Edison’s role in the film.

- Lastly, Nippon Cinema gives us a look at just how hard it is to promote a blockbuster film in Japan these days.

-

The Golden Rock - April 23rd, 2008 Edition

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

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

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

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

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

More at Korea Pop Wars.

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

Info on this season’s Japanese dramas on Tokyograph

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Rock - April 12th, 2008 Edition

Was just watching the Hong Kong Film Awards on (delayed broadcast) TV. I haven’t tallied everything because I missed over an hour of it, but I can report that The Warlords took most of the major awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Yes, Jet Li is now a bona-fide actor.), Best Director. In fact, Peter Chan was the big winner, with wins for Protege as well (including one for Andy Lau as Best Supporting Actor. Sorry, Nick Cheung). Meanwhile, it’s “time to hand the torch to the young ‘uns” night at Milkyway, with Eye in the Sky taking 2 of Milkyway’s 3 awards. Also: Love Is Not All Around: 1. Exodus: 0 More when the reports come out.

- It’s Taiwanese music charts time! Kenji Wu’s latest album spends another week at the top, while the highest ranked “new release” is Khalil Fong’s Hong Kong concert, which was released along with his debut album as well. Oh, the reason that Jordan Chan debuted all the way at 20th place is because his album was released a day before the cut-off date for the charts. Expect him to be at a much higher place next week.

- It’s also reviews time! Variety’s Dennis Harvey has an early review of The Forbidden Kingdom with Jet “Best Actor” Li and Jackie “I’m gonna be a serious actor to take that award next year” Chan. Japan Times’ Mark Schilling has a review of the kids-and-parents-friendly film Chesuto, which he wasn’t too thrilled about. From BC Magazine review Yvonne Teh are her reviews of Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh’s latest acting effort Escape From Huang Shi (Children of Huang Shi sounds better in that self-important way, though) and the Daniel Lee MTV-style epic extravaganza Three Kingdoms. The magazine also offers reviews of Sylvia Chang’s Run Papa Run by James Marsh and the Muay Thai action flick Chocolate by Brian “Asian Cinema - While On the Road” Naas.

- Just to show that some people do what I do better than I do, Ryuganji has a entry filled with useful snippets of recent Japanese cinema news.

- New Korean film producer Motion 101 is now headed for closure - before it even got started on its first project. Is the Korean film industry doing that bad, or was it just bad management?

- Takeshi Kitano has revealed his latest film Achilles and the Tortoise - another self-referential film about the making of art. Apparently, now Kitano has his own “trilogy”

- This week’s Televiews column on the Daily Yomiuri looks at new baseball drama Battery and the latest installment of the long-running drama Wataru Seken wa Oni Bakari. Oh, the writer also manage to work in a reference to Takashii Miike Cell Phone Detective, which only scored a 3.8% rating for its premiere (though it did only premiere on TV Tokyo, or is that a National network now?)

- Lastly, Jason Gray discovers another promising young filmmaker with an excellent debut feature at the Nippon Connection Film Festival in Germany.

The Golden Rock - April 11th, 2008 Edition

Yay, the Golden Rock is back at least for the weekend. Can’t guarantee that daily updates will continue, as this blogger is still fairly busy these days. But take what you can get, folks.

- On Hong Kong Thursday opening day, Daniel Lee’s overhyper and overdubbed Andy Lau period extravaganza Three Kingdoms will likely take the weekend again after taking in about HK$460,000 from 39 screens on its 8th day. Now it has already taken in HK$11.28 million, with HK$15 million possibly within reach. The weekend’s widest opener, Sylvia Chang’s Run Papa Run, made an OK HK$380,000 from 29 screens, and will probably have about HK$2 million when the weekend’s over. The weekend’s widest foreign language opener, John Rambo, made HK$317,000 on its opening day, possibly hurt by its category-III rating here. Lastly, the British comedy Run Fat Boy Run with Simon Pegg made about HK$35,000 from 9 screens on its opening day. I’ll be paying my 55 bucks to see this as soon as I can. Ouch.

-  Hayao Miyazaki’s long-awaited latest work, Ponyo on a Cliff, now has a release date for Japan: July 19th. Damn, I was hoping it would be about 2 weeks earlier than that.

- Drama News Net updates the latest Japanese drama ratings everyday. In a preview of next Monday’s report, the much-hyped Last Friends, starring Juri “Nodame” Ueno and Masami “The Sick Girl in Crying Out For Love In the Center of the World” Nagasawa flopped with just a 13.9% rating for its premiere episode.

- As Jason Gray’s blog, I’m a little “Yasukuni‘d out” as well from reading all this news about the controversial documentary. However, this news is a little frustrating: a sword maker who is a major part of the documentary has asked director Li Ying to remove all of his footage from the film after a right-wing Japanese Diet member reportedly spoke to him about his appearance in the film. Now I’m really beginning to regret not catching this at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, it was one of the only chances to see it uncut.

The China Fim Archive will begin restoring historic films that survived up to the last 102 years. I hope they don’t have to be communist-friendly to qualify restoration.

- The 2007 Spring drama Watashi Tachi no Kyokasho just picked up the best screenwriter award for its writer Yuji Sakamoto. Did that pique up my interest a little bit? Yes. Is that going to compel me to buy a copy right away? Not exactly.

The Golden Rock - March 24th, 2008 Edition

The blogger has been extremely busy during the holiday weekend, which would explain the lack of posts. Maybe.

- Before we go over the Hong Kong box office tomorrow, let’s look at how things were on Thursday opening day. Patrick Kong’s L for Love, L For Lies actually remained on top with HK$680,000 from 35 screens. As for opening films, Spiderwick Chronicles opened on 35 screens with HK$650,000 and should do well for the weekend, Charlie Wilson’s War opened at just 19 screens and made HK$350,000. Under “possible disappointments” is the opening for Ching Siu-Tung’s An Empress and the Warriors, which opened on 35 screens with only HK$600,000. One of the possible reasons may be the audience not being able to find a Cantonese version (even though the trailers were dubbed in Cantonese and the film features actors based in Hong Kong), but I’m just guessing. Either way, it’s not poised to pass the HK$10 million mark at this point. We’ll know more during the week.

- The Winter 2007 Japanese drama season is pretty much over (with two dramas having yet to wrap up), and the highest-rated series of the season is the Monday 9pm Fuji drama Bara No Nai Hanaya with an average 18.2 rating a week ahead of its finale. In a far-off second is Saito-san with an average 15.5 rating. The disappointment of the season has to be Sasaki Fusai No Jingi Naki Tatakai, which opened with a strong 17.3 rating, but ends up averaging only 10.9 by the end of the season. Hell, even The Negotiator could recover for an average 13.4 rating by the time it ended. However, the lowest-rated drama this season belongs to Yon Shimai Tantei, which saw an average 7.0 rating and even saw one of its episodes get only a 3.5 rating. On the other hand, with an average 7.1 rating, Ashita No Kita Yoshio performed more consistently bad and had the lowest-rated finale of the bunch.

There ends another bad season for dramas, but with KimuTaku returning this coming season, perhaps ratings will pick up a little bit.

- Speaking of Japanese TV, this week’s Televiews column on the Yomiuri is about the various “Monagatari” (The Japanese word for “story) on the Japanese TV these days.

- While the usual big-time surely got what they wanted at Filmart this year, Malaysia companies also managed to strike some big-time deals on their own, especially in animation.

- It’s reviews time! This weekend, Japan Times’ Mark Schilling looks at actor Jiro Sato’s directorial debut Memo. Meanwhile, Japan Times’ Giovanni Fazio looks at Wong Kar-Wai’s My Blueberry Nights. In fact, the Yomiuri’s Ikuko Kitagawa also looks at My Blueberry Nights, although she seems to like it more than Fazio did. From the Hollywood Reporter, Elizabeth Karr looks at Joe Ma’s Sasori and calls it “vile” and “lacking in wit, irony and wisdom.” Meanwhile, Maggie Lee looks at the Korean film Man Who Was Superman, starring Jeon Ji-Hyun.

- Please, can someone tell me why the world needs an animated version of the hit Korean drama Winter Sonata? Oh, well, at least they got Yon-sama himself to dub the voice.

-  It’s trailers time! First, Twitch has a trailer for Katsuhito Ishii’s latest film Yama No Anata, with Smap member Tsuyoshi Kusanagi as a blind masseur who doesn’t kill people. They also have the final theatrical trailer for the Stephen Chow-produced blockbuster junk food Shaolin Girl. It’s not only Lacrosse with Shaolin kung-fu: it also has villains kicking ass.

- The comeback edition of the Yubari Fantastic Film Festival ended on Sunday successfully, and the short film Daichi o Tataku Onna picked up the competition prize.

Shin Ka-Hyun is now joining Song Kang-Ho for Park Chan-Wook’s latest Thirst. You know what that means? When Bae Doo Na’s in, we have ourself a Sympathy For Mr. Vengeance reunion!

- Lastly, the Yomiuri does a feature on African-American enka singer Jero, who has hit the big time with the young using an old-fashioned genre.

The Golden Rock - March 4th, 2008 Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Rock - February 25th, 2008 Edition

Not much news happening today (I don’t think the Oscars have anything to do with it…right?), so let’s combine everything together.

- In Hong Kong box office, Enchanted seemed to have taken the weekend again, making HK$810,000 from 35 screens for an 18-day total of HK$25.98 million. I still think 30 million is still in its reach. Last week’s opener Jumper is in second place with HK$627,000 from 38 screens on Sunday for a 11-day total of 9.93 million, just shy of HK$10 million. The Hollywood horror film The Mist did fairly well, with HK$500,000 from 25 screens for a 4-day weekend total of HK$1.69 million. The other major opener Vantage Point, made only HK$315,000 from 30 screens for a 4-day total of HK$1.16 million.
The Oscar nominees did extremely well the day before the big ceremony: Juno made HK$325,000 from just 12 screens, while best picture winner No Country For Old Men made HK$230,000 from 7 screens. The two films have made HK$1.09 million and HK$650,000, respectively. No idea on There Will Be Blood, as it was only on 3 screens showing it only 3 times a day, which means it wouldn’t have made the top 10.

CJ7 has crossed the HK$50 million mark, but grosses are still going the natural way, despite the ticket price cuts mentioned over the weekend.  On Sunday, the Stephen Chow film made HK$388,000 from 35 screens. After 25 days, it has made HK$50.61 million and will probably not even hit HK$55 million.

-  With no major releases, 8 of the top 10 films from last week’s Japan attendance figures remained at the same places. Only Flowers in the Shadow and Elizabeth: The Golden Age switched places at 3rd and 5th places.

- Someone catch the falling Japanese drama ratings. This week, the Monday 9pm Fuji drama Bara No Nai Hanaya falls to its season-low of 16.2% rating, while Honey And Clover has yet to see its ratings actually rise, hitting another low at 8.3%. Even reliable hit Aibou hit its season low of 14.7% after hitting its season high last week. However, somewhat good news for Sasaki Fusai No Jingi Naki Tatakai, whose ratings have finally gone up to 9.9% from 8.9 % last week.

- China’s education authorities is launching a test program that will include Peking Opera as a compulsory part of music education. This is to encourage a more traditional form of culture. What, you mean Jay Chou and Leehom Wang putting erhu in their songs don’t count?

- Shamo hasn’t even opened yet (though it’s been done for almost10 months), and director Soi Cheang already has a new movie on his hands. This time, it’s Assassins, a movie with Louis Koo and Richie Jen as members of a group of assassins that need to team together to save their friend. Give the man a teeny bopper comedy to do or something, he needs to lighten up.

- Korea Pop War’s Mark Russell offers a brief review of the current hit film in Korea, the serial killer thriller The Chaser.

- Under “aggressive director news that didn’t make it to the Associated Press” today, Japanese director Koichiro Yamashita was arrested over the weekend for getting drunk and attacking a poor convenience store clerk who was busy verbally attacking another customer. If you remember fondly, Hong Kong director Ringo Lam was arrested last week for fighting with a neighbor over something about a bucket and a parking space.

 
 
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