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Archive for the ‘remake’ Category

The Golden Rock - May 5th, 2008 Edition

- It was a crowded weekend at the Hong Kong box office, though Sunday grosses were a bit lower than that of last Thursday’s public holiday. As expected, Iron Man topped the chart with HK$1.6 million from 60 screens on Sunday. After its opening last Wednesday, the superhero flick has now made HK$9.2 million, which is good though not exactly phenomenal. Meanwhile, Japanese doggie flick The Tale of Mari and Three Puppies made another HK$670,000 from 26 screens for a weekend total of HK$2.56 million. Wong Jing’s My Wife is a Gambling Maestro made HK$312,000 from 27 screens for a not-so-good weekend total of HK$1.35 million. The big limited release hit is the British melodrama The Other Boleyn Girl made another HK$193,000 from just 8 screens for a weekend total of HK$850,000. The film reportedly will expand to even more screens over the weekend. The crocodile thriller Rogue flops with HK$50,000 from 7 screens, and a weekend total of just HK$230,000. Lawrence Lau’s Besieged City, which opened on 7 screens, didn’t even make the top 10 on Sunday.

Meanwhile, The Forbidden Kingdom has passed the HK$10 million mark on Sunday with HK$559,000 from 38 screens. Barbara Wong’s Happy Funeral is hanging in with another HK$188,000 from 24 screens, many of which are only playing it only 1 or 2 shows a day.

HK$7.8=US$1

- Japan had a national holiday today (getting to the end of Golden Week), so box office figures won’t come out until tomorrow.  Same for the drama numbers.

-  After some very stupid word on radio earlier in the year, Japanese pop queen Koda Kumi is back. She’s now on tour, and she’s now the spokeswoman for a brand of razors. Insert inappropriate comment here.

- After Rinko Kikuchi had to drop out of the manga adaptation film The Legend of Kamui because of an injury, The Last Samurai’s Koyuki is now stepping in to take over her role in the Yoichi Sai-directed film.

- Variety has Robert Koehler’s review of The Children of Huang Shi, featuring Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun Fat in supporting roles.

- There’s also a review of the Japanese film The Last Princess (aka remake of Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress) in UCLA’s Asia Pacific Arts magazine after the film had its premiere at USC.  It’s an extremely interesting read.

- In case you don’t know, American television satirist Stephen Colbert has been in a battle with Korean superstar Rain to become Time’s most influential person two years in a role, which culminated into this video. Now,most likely as part of his promotion for Speed Racer, he will be on today’s The Colbert Report for a special dance-off. By the way, they both lost the poll, though Rain did beat Colbert at the end.

- There’s no confirmation for this, but CCTV supposedly boycotted performers who were part of the Chinese talent shows Super Girl and Happy Boy during a show featuring the latest Olympic songs by intentionally not giving them any close-ups. Since this is supposedly from the blog of a CCTV director, no one knows whether the entry or the policy is true.

- Lastly, The Daily Yomiuri focuses on the audience response to the controversial Japanese documentary Yasukuni.

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 19th, 2008 Edition

- Let’s look at Hong Kong opening day box office first - The expected winner of the weekend, the Muay Thai action flick Chocolate, had a disappointing opening of only HK$391,000 from 33 screens, which means it might not even hit the HK$2 million mark even with a boost over the weekend. The corrupted cops drama Street Kings with Keanu Reeves opened on 30 screens for a HK$275,000 gross. The other cops drama, We Own the Night (why the two distributors decided to clash release dates, I have no idea), made even less per-screen with just barely HK$19,000 from 5 screens. Lastly, the Hong Kong idols romance flick Love is Elsewhere opened with HK$241,000 from a surprising 27 screens. Maybe the teens will show up for this one over the weekend.  More on Monday when the weekend numbers come out.

-  The Cannes lineup is about to be announced, and sadly, the Asian pickings is a little slim this year. At least there may be high-profile premieres such as Kim Jee-Woon’s The Good The Bad and the Weird and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata. However, one reportedly hasn’t been screened, and the other is still up in the air.

- The Japanese animated series Gegege no Kitaro is celebrating its 40th (non-consecutive) year on television, and Japan Times has a feature on it, especially on its tendency to be on the small screen in increments.

- On a related note, some stills from the sequel of the Gegege No Kitaro live-action movie are out. The thing is that the first movie’s monsters didn’t look all that bad, it was just the rest of the movie that was bad.

- The popular MySpace internet drama Prom Queen is getting a Japanese version. Like the original, the drama will be comprised of 80 daily 90-second episodes, even though “prom” isn’t something embedded in Japanese culture. I felt so old when I realize I didn’t even know what the hell Prom Queen was.

- And today, I leave you with one of the funniest entries I’ve ever read on Kaiju Shakedown. As always, it’s also very informative.

The Golden Rock - April 16th, 2008 Edition

- In South Korean box office, it’s amazing that Three Kingdoms has managed two weekends at second place (the power of Andy Lau, ladies and gentlemen), while An Empress and the Warriors flopped on its opening weekend. Also, The Chaser is still on the top 10, 2 months after its release. More over at Korea Pop Wars.

- It’s reviews time! All of them are from Variety this time and from Derek Elley, who offers his take on Pang Ho-Cheung’s Trivial Matters, as well as his take on Oxide Pang’s The Detective.

- After the success of the cell phone novel adaptation Koizora last year, Shochiku and Fuji television are teaming up to bring another successful cell phone novel to both the big and small screens. This time it’s Akai Ito, which apparently will feature more drugs, rape, and suicide involving teenagers. Do Japanese kids really like watching this stuff?

- Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks are planning to bring the classic animated film Ghost in the Shell into a live-action 3D feature. This feels kind of redundant, especially when I felt like I already reported this, except it turns out that I was thinking of the Leonardo DiCaprio-produced Akira.

- More animation news: The voice talent cast has been announced for Mamoru Oshii’s Sky Crawlers, and it features Oscar-nominated actress Rinko Kikuchi and Ryo Kase. With recent animated films choosing stars over experience, are Japanese animated films starting to become more and more like American ones?

-  The short animated film Megumi, based on a true story about a girl abducted by North Korean agents and produced by a government agency, can now be downloaded for free. Er….I’ll get to watching it sooner or later, I guess.

- The Weinstein Company has revealed some of the films they’ll be making with their so-called “Asian fund,” and while we all know about Shanghai by know, I did a mental spit take when I saw the other film they announced.

- I like well-done parodies, especially when they capture something that’s timely in a sharp manner without being childish. But do we really need a parody of a blockbuster film a month within its release?

The Golden Rock - March 17th/18th, 2008 Edition

Thanks to Filmart here in Hong Kong, there’s a ton of news happening out there.

Oh, look, new entry on the spinoff

- Of course, the big news is the Asian Film Awards, which seems to be less sloppily delivered this year (no David Wu and Fiona Sit trading quips), even though the star wattage has now dropped to the host from that entertainment news show on TVB. Also, there are reports that the awards were only half full, and that post-award interviews with Best Actress winner Jeon Do-Yeon were somehow moved to a back alley.

Oh, of course, there were awards passed out too.

- Anyway, time for number crunching!

At the Hong Kong box office, it’s no surprise, but it’s hard to report anyway: Patrick Kong’s L for Love, L for Lies made HK$1 million from 40 screens on Sunday and made HK$3.99 million over the 4-day weekend. With the Easter holiday next weekend, this is likely going to go past the HK$10 million mark (I somehow don’t think the same target audience will decide to flock to An Empress and the Warriors). Meanwhile, the animated film Horton Hears a Who! draws HK$320,000 from the first 2 days of previews on 31 screens, One Missed Call made HK$650,000 from 17 screens over 4 days, Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream made HK$99,000 from 9 screens over 4 days, and Dan in Real Life made only HK$270,000 from 10 screens over 4 days.

With holdovers, 10,000BC passed the HK$10 million mark with HK$700,000 from 45 screens on Sunday, Shamo made HK$165,000 from 20 screens(the total is wrong on the now.com page), suffering a pretty significant drop, and Juno managed to pass the HK$4 million mark on Sunday as well.

In Japan audience attendance figures, Enchanted opens at number 1 amidst a very crowded family film market. If you count the dog movie, at least half the movies on the top 10 are aimed for a family audience (and I already didn’t count The Golden Compass). That’s because it’s Spring break when schools are out until April. More when the numbers are out.

- And now, news from Filmart:

China’s government is clamping down on co-productions, but that’s OK - Asian filmmakers will simply look elsewhere.

And experts at another panel believe that there will be one integrated Asian market, and that filmmakers are not really interested in challenging China’s censorship rules.

Oh, dear: The Pang Brothers are intending their Storm Riders sequel to be the Hong Kong equivalent of the Hollywood film 300, with the entire film shot in front of digital backdrops. Still, overseas buyers seem to be eating it up, so more power to them.

Meanwhile, Namson Shi, who seems to have a part in distributing Stephen Fung’s troubled dance film Jump, says that the film has not been sent for Chinese approval, nor has there been a decision made about keeping its troubled star Edison Chen.

Hong Kong’s Big Media promised to make 100 films in their first 5 years. Hell, we should just be lucky that they’re making 10-12 this year, even if one of them will be Marriage With a Fool 2.

Japanese director Sabu is in town trying to get funding for one of his latest films, a horror-romance set in Hong Kong.

For other Filmart coverage, go over to the Variety Filmart blog.

And now, back to your regular programming

- One of the few cinemas in Japan (in fact, the biggest one) planning to show the controversial documentary Yasukuni has backed off, citing that it might cause disruptions for the building’s fellow tenants. Then blame the right-wingers, not general courtesy.

- It’s Maggie Lee’s reviews time! All three from Lee are her takes on An Empress and the Warriors, her take on Fine, Totally Fine, and also her review for the Taiwanese youth film Orz Boys.

- In addition to wrapping up its run in Hong Kong, Karei Naru Ichizoku just picked up the award for Best Drama from TVNavi Magazine. Its star Kimura Takuya (AKA. Kimutaku) also picked up Best Actor for the drama.

Kimutaku is on a bit of a streak, as his new drama Change (the one where he becomes Prime Minister of Japan) now has Madonna providing it with a theme song.

- There’s a trailer for the horror prequel Kuchisake Onna 2 (The Slit-Mouth Woman 2).

The Golden Rock - March 16, 2008 Edition

- The 17th Japan Movie Critic Awards were announced, and the comic adaptation Yunagi No Machi Sakura No Kuni won Best Picture, though Kichitaro Negishi picked up best director for Sidecar Ni Inu. Why can’t Art Port co-produce something that classy with Hong Kong (instead of Dog Bite Dog and Shamo).

Full list over at Tokyograph

- The multi-nation production (Japanese and American financed with a Hong Kong director) remake of Japanese horror film Don’t Look Up has found its cast. Just reading who’s involved in it made me slightly dizzy.

- This weekend on Daily Yomiuri’s Teleview column, Wm. Penn looks at the upcoming quiz shows on Spring Japanese TV. Now the blogger will lament that Trivia No Izumi (Fountain of Trivia) is no longer on.

- The latest version of the Gegege No Kitaro anime has set the record for the highest-rated episode of the Thursday night 12:45-1:15 am animation block on Fuji TV.

- The potential disaster also known as the new Street Fighter movie (now named The Legend of Chun Li?!) has just dragged another actor into its mess. This time it’s Hong Kong Film Award-nominated actress Josie Ho.

- It’s reviews time! This weekend, Japan Times’ Mark Schilling looks at the sci-fi/horror/just plain weird double feature Ghost vs. Aliens by Takashi Shimizu and Keisuke Toyoshima. Menawhile, Twitch’s Mike McStay looks at the hit Korean thriller The Chaser. I’m glad to hear that Golden Scene in Hong Kong has picked up the rights for this.

- With the Korean wave slowly dying, new Korean president Lee Myung-bak still hopes Korean cultural exports will increase by over 400% in the next 3 years?

- Under “not very significant, but major awards” news today, Japanese group Bump of Chicken picked up three awards at the Space Shower Awards. In return, they have to explain clearly what the hell Bump of Chicken means.

- Wanna have Yuen Wo Ping teach you how to kick ass? Find out how.

- Under “not significant nor major awards” news today, Yui Aragaki, who starred in the Japanese breakout hit Koizora, was named the Best Girl of 2007 by Tokyo Girl Collection.

-  I left the best for last: a trailer for the new drama Cell Phone Detectives, directed by Takashi Miike. I sure as hell hope Miike got paid a ton of money to do this, or I’d think he’s kinda a crappy director.

The Golden Rock - March 12/13th, 2008 Edition

- The story was first on Variety Asia, but I’ll reference Twitch because the story has simply disappeared at the time of writing: D-War director Shim Hyung-rae was a comedian before he became a director, and now that D-War was a big hit, he’s relying on cgi to make the next big comedy featuring himself. Specifically, he’s bringing back his old popular character and make him act opposite a cgi-created Marlon Brando playing the godfather Vito Corleone. Someone stop this man, please.

- Those looking oh so forward to the potentially-disastrous Dragonball live-action film will just have to wait a little longer: The film has been delayed from an August release date to next April. Unless you’re in Japan, then you get to see it a month earlier.

- Yet another country has picked up the rights to the hit Colombian telenovela for their own remake, and guess what that country is going to be naming it?

- Detroit Metal City, the high-profile comic adaptation starring Kenichi Matsuyama hopefully walking straight with less eyeliner this time, has finally started filming and is scheduled to open this summer. They’ve been talking about this movie so long, I thought they’re done shooting the damn thing already.

- With the recent scandal and controversy and the various failures, organizers of the Bangkok International Film Festival are still trying to keep on truckin’ for this July….even though no programming work has been done, and they don’t really have enough money.

- New artist Thelma Aoyama’s hit single “Soba Ni Iru Ne” has broken a record of being downloaded one million times to cell phones in the quickest time. With a catchy song hitting popularity this fast, let’s hope she’s not a one-hit wonder.

- Ryuganji’s Don Brown gives us his own thoughts on Yoji Yamada’s Kabei. I’m still on the fence over whether I want to catch this at the Hong Kong Film Festival.

- Both Variety and Hollywood Reporter are covering Ang Lee and James Schamus’ win of the Freedom of Expression Award by the National Association of Theater Owners for Lust, Caution. Variety reports that the film’s release in America went extremely smooth, despite the NC-17 rating, and The Hollywood Reporter even got an interview.

- Speaking of which, Jason Gray writes about a Japanese AV star who seems to have some breakout potential.

- Courtesy of EastSouthWestNorth, Danwei asks a question, and my answer is a definite yes.

- On the other hand, English literature about China is apparently the big thing right now, though the writers don’t exactly expect it to last.

- While the previously planned Justin Lin’s remake of Oldboy seems to have stalled, Charlize Theron is looking to produce and star in another installment of Park Chan-Wook’s classic revenge trilogy.

- There may be hope for band members everywhere who aren’t lead singers: Tokio keyboardist Taichi Kokubun now has a show on all six of the major networks in Tokyo. For most bands’ keyboardist. they’re lucky if they get their own show on public access.

- There’s another review of Singaporean director Kelvin Tong’s Rule #1, starring Shawn Yue and Ekin Cheng.

- The Nikkan Sports Drama Grand Prix for the Winter 2007 season has been announced, even though the season isn’t even over yet. Shikaotoko Aoniyoshi ended up winning 3 awards: Best Drama, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. However, the drama has been struggling in the ratings, averaging only a 9.9% rating throughout the season.

The Golden Rock - March 7th, 2008 Edition

- According to the supposed reliable Oriental Daily in Hong Kong (and in turn, The Hollywood Reporter Asia), Lust, Caution star Tang Wei has been banned from Chinese media by the government because of her role in Ang Lee’s erotic espionage thriller. Supposedly, the government wasn’t happy with Lust, Caution and is determined to bring down anyone involved in the controversial sex scenes, especially its main actress. Since this news is not confirmed (and likely will never be), we have no idea whether this is true or not. If it is so, this is a pretty sleazy thing to do even for the Chinese government. Or they must just really hate skincare products.

- Like last year’s Confession of Pain from Hong Kong, Warner Bros. has been quick to buy up this year’s big crime hit, the Korean serial killer thriller The Chaser. Also like the Confession of Pain remake, William Monahan and Leonardo DiCaprio may be involved.

- Despite the Lunar New Year and taking a majority of the market, box office gross for Korean films has once again dropped for February. This time, admissions are down 3.7% from the same period in 2007, despite the hit handball film Forever the Moment and the current hit The Chaser.

- Hot off her win at the Golden Arrow Awards, Yui Aragaki will next star as a high school bookworm who joins a one-member cheerleader team to get closer to her baseball player crush. Only in the world a movies would Yui Aragaki play a bookworm who can’t get a boyfriend.

- We reported on Chen Kaige’s biopic Mei Lanfang finishing shooting. Today, Hollywood Reporter Asia has a complete feature on the film.

That’s it for now. Have to save some for the rest of the weekend.

The Golden Rock - January 25th, 2008 Edition

- A few news straight from Peter Chan’s mouth: The Warlords was actually cut by several minutes in Mainland China for violence, and that is also the version that is mostly being passed around on the internet. Also, his co-producer Andre Morgan apparently took the film and made his own international cut for oversea buyers, which Chan is not very happy about because it’s being done without any input from him. Unhappy enough that now his next film Waiting is on hold while Chan takes a break for a year to  watch the “shifting marketplace.” I’m not sure if he’s lamenting, but he’s suggesting that next time he makes a mid-budget film, he will be aiming towards China, because he’s now a businessman, not a filmmaker.

Another Hong Kong filmmaker bites the dust…

- I wonder if Taiwanese producers regretting their decision to start filming a Taiwanese version of the live-action Honey and Clover series at the same time as the Japanese one. I’m asking because ratings for the Japanese one has now slid to single-digit numbers. Who knows? Chinese teenagers love (to download) their idol dramas, so this might be a hit.

-  Japanese horror director Hideo Nakata seems to be taking a turn away from the genre that made him famous with not only the upcoming Death Note spin-off L, but also his upcoming project Gensenkan, a film about a group of people who hide at a hot spring inn for different reasons.

Meanwhile, Korean director Park Chan-Wook’s vampire film will star Song Kang-Ho.

Both films will be featured at the upcoming Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum.

- Hollywood Reporter has an interview with Josie Ho from Hong Kong, in light of The Drummer’s competition slot at Sundance. Just reading that introduction (especially about her calling Chinese film executives “dick face”) makes me like her so much more.

- The Midnight Eye has posted a set of top 10 2007 Japanese films lists from several contributors well-versed in Japanese films, including Golden Rock favorite Jason Gray. Those lists just show how much more Japanese films I need to watch.

- Big news for foreigners in South Korea: CJ entertainment and Korea’s largest theater complex will offer some of the bigger films English-subtitled screenings during their release. About 4-6 films will be getting the subtitle treatment, with A Man Once Superman being the first one. How long will it take before Japan does that same? I suspect never.

- The Chinese learn the idea of irony, with a new brand being named after the most famous street in Beijing for knock-off goods. The ultimate irony? The general manager of the market that started the brand is warning people to not sell fake versions of the goods.

The Golden Rock - January 21st, 2008 Edition

- It’s Japanese drama ratings time! The first full week of the winter 2008 season is over, and the Shingo Katori-Yuko Takeuchi drama Bara No Nai Hanaya leads the pack with a 22.4% rating for its premiere episode. Not far behind is fellow Smap member Goro Inagaki and Koyuki’s starrer Sasaki Fusai No Jingi Naki Tatakai (Jason Gray writes about it here) with its premiere episode scoring a 17.3 rating last night. Binboman, starring Shun Oguri, also did pretty well in its first episode with a 16.5% rating.

Meanwhile, several dramas saw a rise in ratings after their premiere episode. Saito-san, which the Daily Yomiuri’s Teleview column wrote about last weekend, saw its second episode score a 17.4% rating, up from the 15.3% for its first episode. The Kenkuro Kudo-penned drama Mirai Koushi Meguru saw its second episode go up to a 10.6%, up from the 9.0% for its premiere episode.

However, other dramas took the usual fall. Last week’s big premiere The Negotiator dropped from the 16.7% for its first episode to a 13.8% for this past week, the boxing drama One-Pound Gospel dropped from 13.0% to 11.4%, and the manga adaptation Honey and Clover drops to 10% from its 12.9%-rated premiere.

All Winter 2008 drama information from Tokyograph

- The Hong Kong Film Critics Society has announced their 2007 awards, and they are not as nutty this year:

Best Picture: The Postmodern Life of My Aunt
Best Director: Ann Hui - The Postmodern Life of My Aunt
Best Screenplay: Wai Ka-Fai, Au Kin-Yee - Mad Detective
Best Actor: Tony Leung Ka-Fai - Eye in the Sky
Best Actress: Siqin Gaowa - The Postmodern Life of My Aunt
Recommended films (only 8 this year, as opposed to 10): Eye in the Sky, The Warlords, Whispers and Moans, Hooked On You, Mad Detective, Triangle, Protege, The Detective.

No Pang Ho-Cheung (no, he wasn’t even in the finalists list)? No Exodus? No Invisible Target? No Trivial Matters? At least no Wong Jing.

(courtesy of Hong Kong Film Blog)

- While the news of Johnnie To’s Sparrow heading to Berlin is not news, his assistant said that the possible English-language remake of The Red Circle is currently on hold because of the writer’s strike in America.

- While the Chinese government is admitting that the battle against piracy is a struggle, it’s interesting to read that people are downloading Hong Kong and Taiwanese television series that are usualy banned there. This means the government may be battling piracy not just because of copyright infringement, but to also keep the lid on banned materials.

- The teaser for Ping Pong director Fumihiko Sori’s Ichi, a re-imagining of the Zatoichi tale, is on the website. They’ve done something like this before, it was called Azumi, and it wasn’t that good.

- Meanwhile, the legendary Sonny Chiba has announced his first film under his new name Rindo Wachinaga. Za Toichi (The Toichi) will be about a blind moneylender. Chiba may act in the film under his acting name (as in Sonny Chiba).

- I already found this out on imdb: Ken Watanabe has signed up for his first Hollywood studio role since Letters From Iwo Jima for the vampire film Cirque du Freak. Of course, it’s probably just another supporting role with not much to do.

- Under “what the hell were they thinking?” news, an NHK crew was filming a drama when they attached a fake license plate to a background car in order to give the illusion that they are in another prefecture. However, they managed to take a break without removing the plate, and the car drove off with the fake license plate.  Always be careful with cars you’re not allowed to put fake license plates on, people.

- Thailand’s now-defunct iTV was first conceived as a fair and balance news network free of government influence. Ironically, its editorial control have now been given to the Thai military-run government after it was forced into bankruptcy.

- Meanwhile, Thai Airways stewardess are complaining about a new soap opera about air hostess that depicts immoral sexual relationships amongst stewardess and pilots. I guess the show isn’t sponsored by any major airlines then.

-  Kaiju Shakedown covers all the musicals going to South Korean stages that are based on movies. In fact, 30% of all musical on South Korean stages will be based on movies.

 
 
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