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Archive for the ‘Southeast Asia’ Category

The Golden Rock - November 26th, 2008 Edition

I reported the Hong Kong weekend box office on Monday. Now it’s time to look at the rest of Asia:

-In Japan, John Woo’s Red Cliff Part 1 ruled the box office for 4th weekend in a row during the holiday weekend. It lost only 10% of its audience, and has now made about 3.1 billion yen. It’s on track to become the highest-grossing non-Japanese Asian film in Japan ever. As Avex reportedly invested US$35 million of the two films’ total US$80 million budget, Avex should be making their money back plus some change if the second film does just as well next Spring.

Meanwhile, the only new Japanese release on the top 10 is the oddly-titled post World War II war crimes trial drama I’d Rather Be a Shellfish. With a fairly large amount of 330 screens, it opened at second place, and has the highest per-screen average in the top 10. The other three English-language openers - Tropic Thunder, Blindness, and 1408 - all opened on a modest amount of screens, and could score only modest openings.

The biggest drop in the top 10 goes to the gimmicky comedy Handsome Suits. It lost only 29.1% from the previous weekend, and has made 668 million yen after 4 weeks. The second smallest drop (next to Red Cliff) is the TV drama film adaptation Suspect X. It managed to lose only 15.4% in business for its 8th weekend. It has now made 4.5 billion yen, and may have a shot at 5 billion when it’s all over.

-  In China, Quantum of Solace barely held on to its top spot for the third weekend in a row, and has now made almost 133 million RMB (200 million RMB is the super hit line that Red Cliff, Warlords, and Painted Skin have crossed). Right behind it is the Chinese romance Desire of the Heart. Variety has a report of how great the opening is.

Dante Lam’s Beast Stalker had a respectable 6.2 million RMB opening at 4th place, behind Hellboy II (which I’m surprised managed to open in China despite its supernatural elements). Depending on how it does in Hong Kong, the two regions’ gross combined may help EEG break even.

There’s not much else to say, since what was provided wasn’t even a completed top 10 list.

- In Taiwanese box office, the largest drop went to Quantum of Solace as well, which also held on to its top spot for the third weekend in a row. Local film Blue Brave is doing fairly well, still in second place despite losing 30% in audience. It has now made over 15 million New Taiwan Dollars, which may be chump change when compared to Cape No. 7, but it’s a fairly good gross for a local film. Just look at Miao Miao, which lost 38.4% in business and has only made 2.8 million New Taiwan Dollars so far.

But like the China data, there’s no screen count, so I have no idea how more limited release such as The Good, the Bad, and the Weird did with their low grosses.

- In a rare sight for 2008, two Korean films are on the top of the Korean box office. Meanwhile, both Connected and Blindness opened weakly in their first weekend.

More over at Korea Pop Wars

- On the Japanese Oricon Charts, UVERworld now has their first #1 single, while Perfume debuts far behind and Girl Next Door’s sales continue to slide. On the album charts, NEWS’ album debuts on top, with Guns N’ Roses’ controversial Chinese Democracy managed a 3rd place opening.

More on Tokyograph.

-  It’s trailers time! Nippon Cinema has the first official trailer for the second installment of the 20th Century Boys trilogy. This one is different from the one at the end of the short film, as it is longer and has more footage. It’ll be released in Japan just two months from now, with the third film aiming for a Fall 2009 release. Twitch reports that the Japanese website for the omnibus New York I Love You has opened with a short teaser. The website only reports that the film will open there some time in 2009. By the way, the website is only fully viewable with Internet Explorer.

- China’s Xinhua Media has announced a new slate of five US-China co-production. One is another martial arts action flick from Forbidden Kingdom writer John Fusco, and another one is a new take on the classic Hua Mulan tale.

- The Hollywood Reporter looks at how Thai TV networks - the four biggest ones owned by the Thai army - are looking at the latest anti-government protests, which led to the shutdown of Thailand’s biggest airport.

- Under “Japanese stars going international for Japanese cinema” news today, “it” actors Kenichi Matsuyama and Maki Horikita are starring in a Japanese-language film directed by American director Hans Canosa. I was greatly impressed by Canosa’s Conversations With Other Women, so I’m looking forward to what he does in a totally foreign environment with such high-profile actors.

Meanwhile, Yuji Oda has signed on to star in Fuji Television’s 50th annivarsary film Amalfi: Megumi no 50 Byou. About a diplomat abroad investigating an abduction, it’ll be the first Japanese film completely shot in Italy.

- Reported earlier in the Hong Kong press and now showing up on Twitch, Raymond Wong has confirmed that Wilson Yip’s DONNNNIIIIIEEEE Yen starrer Ip Man will be getting a sequel. It will cover the titular character’s move to Hong Kong, after he seemingly kicks a lot of Japanese asses in the first film, which won’t even be opening until mid-December. I ought to be excited about this, but I would rather see how Wong Kar Wai pulls off the story instead of seeing another DOOOONNNIIIEEE-centric martial arts fest.

- The global economic crisis has claimed another victim in the film world, as the Jakarta Film Festival in Indonesia has been forced to cut its 9-day schedule to just 5 days, and the festival will only be able to show 10 of the 84 local films produced this year.

- After it was confirmed that Steven Spielberg is working on a Hollywood remake of Oldboy with Will Smith looking to star, the rumors traveling now suggest that the Hollywood remake will be based on the original comic instead of Park Chan-wook’s adaptation, which apparently deviated plenty from the source material.

The Golden Rock - October 8th, 2008 Edition

- While Suspect X, the film adapatation of hit TV drama Galileo, did open pretty big in Japan this past weekend, it actually didn’t do as well as Toho and Fuji TV had probably hoped. On 410 screens, the detective-pseudo-science mystery made 544 million yen, which was enough to put it at first place. However, the opening is just 54% of the openings for Hero and Boys Over Flowers, which means it’s looking to do about half of what those films did, making it a slight disappointment, despite still being a major hit.

Mr. Texas also breaks down who went to see the movie. With the appeal of star Masaharu Fukuyama, it’s no surprise that females made up 65% of the audience. Also, 19.7% of the audience named him as the main reason of going to see the film (while 27.2% went because they were fans of the drama). However, unlike Boys Over Flowers, whose audience mostly comprised of females under 20 years old, Suspect X’s biggest demographic are working adults, which made up 43% of the audience. Does this mean films that skew slightly older wouldn’t make as much money? Does that mean that it might have a longer run because that demographic wouldn’t necessarily rush out to the see the film on opening weekend?

- It’s Japanese Oricon charts time! Yet another compilation takes the top spot of the album charts. This time it’s Mariya Takeuchi’s 3-CD compilation, which makes her the artist with the longest career at the time of a #1 album. On the single charts, boy band NEWS debuts at number 1 with their latest, while the new Kou Shibasaki/Masaharu Fukuyama collaboration (for the Galileo film) only managed a 5th place debut.

More at Tokyograph

- As Pusan wraps up, it’s time to link to some final pieces of news from the festival. The Pusan Promotion Plan has handed out its prizes, giving the top prize to Malaysian film Forget-me-not, while Secret Sunshine director Lee Chang Dong won about $17,000 worth of negative stock for his latest film.

The Asian Film Market in Pusan looked quiet and didn’t do much business, but people were staying busy for other reasons during the market, which was enough to qualify the festival as a success.

However, Variety has a different story, with buyers complaining that the market is geared towards Korean buyers, and the Korean film industry is in such a bad shape that most people just window shopped rather than making deals.

One deal did happen: An American production company brought up the remake rights to the Korean film Driving With My Wife’s Lover, which has been earning favorable reviews all around.

Lastly, here is a roundup of reviews that played at Pusan from Screen Daily’s critics.

OK, bring on the Tokyo CoFesta!

- Despite Screen Daily reporting Korean distributors’ reluctance to release Japanese films in Korea due to Boy Over Flowers and 20th Century Boys‘ lackluster performances, yet another Japanese film will be opening in Korea. And Hong Kong as well. To be fair, Tokyo Girl isn’t exactly a major blockbuster, which means the rights probably didn’t cost all that much.

- Japanese award-winning actor Ken Watanabe is going back to his small-screen roots, playing the lead in an upcoming TV drama special (essentially a TV movie) as a real-life police detective that became the model of many police procedural dramas.

- Despite being in the midst of political turmoil, as well being on the heels of a relatively successful world-class film festival, Bangkok is ready to unleash yet another film festival come October 24th.

In other film festival news, the Tokyo Filmex has unveiled the lineup for this year’s edition, while Jason Gray reminds you that all the films will be subtitled in English!

- Alexi Tan, who’s probably still reeling from the overall response to his debut film Blood Brothers, has come back, but only for clothing company Diesel and their latest line of jeans. Twitch has the trailer to the short film, which will go public on the 12th. Todd Brown sees possible greatness, I see much much less.

- Korean pop singer Son Dam Bi is going to Hollywood with the dance film Hype, and I already bet she either won’t have any lines or will play some white guy’s love interest. But that’s just me all bitter-talking.

- Japanese actor Ken Ogata passed away on Sunday. He was a veteran on stage, TV, and films, and he has been acting for 50 years. His last role was on the upcoming TV drama Kaze no Garden. He was 71.

The Golden Rock - September 29th, 2008 Edition

- Several major releases helped boost the Hong Kong box office this weekend. Benny Chan’s Connected tops the box office with HK$1.08 million from 42 screens on Sunday for a 4-day weekend total of HK$3.61 million, pretty much guaranteeing that it’ll pass the HK$10 million mark. Japanese comic adaptation 20th Century Boys is at 2nd place with HK$729,000 from 32 screens (including an inflated ticket price to compensate for its long running time) on Sunday and a 4-day weekend total of HK$2.48 million. I think HK$6 million is a pretty reasonable goal for final gross. The Hollywood thriller Eagle Eye is at 3rd place with HK$651,000 from 39 screens for a 4-day weekend total of HK$2.26 million.

Disaster Movie continues its disastrous run, with just HK$144,000 from 21 screens for a 4-day total of HK$530,000. Meanwhile, the excellent Korean thriller The Chaser also flops in its limited release, making only HK$28,000 from 5 screens on Sunday, but no weekend total was available from the Hong Kong Film Blog.

Amazingly, the softcore porn flick Forbidden Legend: Sex and Chopsticks is still doing relatively well, making HK$177,000 from 16 screens for an impressive 10-day total of HK$2.48 million. I believe it still hasn’t had one day where the per-screen average was lower than HK$10,000, which is pretty amazing for a film of this type. Mamma Mia edges closer to HK$10 million, taking in HK$342,000 from 24 screens for an 18-day total of HK$9.28 million. You Don’t Mess With the Zohan somewhat holds up in its second weekend, making HK$313,000 from 30 screens for an 11-day total of HK$4.81 million. For those still following, Thai horror film 4BIA made HK$50,000 from 8 screens, and has now made HK$4.03 million after 18 days. The Muai Thai action flick Chocolate earned a similar gross back in April, except this one didn’t have the crazy stunts to pull audiences in.

According to the Hong Kong Film Blog (and I have no idea what the blogger’s source is), even the bogus one-week run of Gordon Chan’s Painted Skin made some money, despite the fact that no one could buy ticket to it. On that one screen playing “five shows” on Sunday, the supernatural period film reportedly made HK$15,435, which averages only a 60% capacity for each show. So why does the theater report that the film is sold out? Did anyone actually manage to get into a showing of this?

-At the Japanese box office this weekend, Iron Man topped the audience attendence chart, bumping Wanted to 2nd place after its one week at the top. Paco and the Magical Book stays up at 3rd place, while Departures is the success story with its hold at 4th place. The high-concept film Ikigami could only get a 6th place opening, while the Richard Gere romance flick Nights in Rodanthe could only earn an 8th place day-and-date opening. This is another blow to Warner Bros. after The Dark Knight underperformed at the Japanese box office last month.

- All the primetime private network dramas have wrapped up for the Summer 2008 season in Japan. Here are the top 5 shows, based on season average:

1) Code Blue - 15.6% average
2) Taiyo to Umi no Kyoshitsu - 14.5% average
3) Yasuko to Kenji - 13.0% average
4) Tomorrow - 12.6% average
5) Shibatora - 12.5% average

Note: Wataru Seken wa Oni Bakari is not counted because its season actually started in Spring, hence this season is simply a continuation. In fact, it’s not even over yet.

All drama synosis can be found at Tokyograph.

- Under “film festivals in Asia” news today, the Bangkok International Film Festival has given its top prize to the Colombian film PVC-1. Meanwhile, the Filipino film Serbis won the top prize in the Southeast Asian film section. While the festival was well-attended (it actually doesn’t end until tomorrow with the premiere of Mourning Forest director Naomi Kawase’s latest), their first attempt at an entertainment market wasn’t. Better luck next year.

Meanwhile, Variety’s Derek Elley writes about surviving North Korea’s Pyongyong Film Festival, despite the sensitive North Korean government and its strict rules toward foreign journalists.

- Akira Kurosawa’s classic film The Seven Samurai is going to the stage, and this is the man that will play the Toshio Mifune role. Apparently, since it’s based on an anime that’s based on the film, I guess it’s OK.

- Variety’s Joe Leydon has a review of the documentary The Real Shaolin, which follows four martial arts student who travel to the real Shaolin temple in China to learn kung-fu.

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 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 6th, 2008 Edition

- It’s review time! With the Venice Film Festival wrapping up and the Toronto Film Festival just starting, the trade paper film critics are going to be very busy, which also means more review links popping up here on The Golden Rock. First from the Japan Times is Mark Schilling’s review of the award-winning drama Okuribito (or Departures).

From Variety is a trifecta of Japanese film reviews.  From Dennis Harvey is a review for Kenji Uchida’s After School and a review for Koki Mitani’s crowdpleasing The Magic Hour. From the mysterious “Variety Staff” is the review for Mamoru Oshii’s The Sky Crawlers.

From Hollywood Reporter’s Maggie Lee is a review of the wonderful All Around Us and also her take on Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Still Walking.

- Forget about the animation competition going on at Venice. Both Japanese animated films in competition are going home with prizes at the digital cinema competition.

- The Toronto Film Festival has barely started, and sales for Asian film are already starting. I don’t remember Toronto being acquisition-heavy festival, but we’ll keep track of things here.

- After last year’s pop song-inspired Signs of Love, TBS will produce a 3-part drama, with each part inspired by a Mariya Takeuchi song. As expected, the drama will be shown just after the release of her latest compilation album. What a coincidence!

Korean president Lee Myung Bak continues his promised deregulation of media by annoucing a series of proposals that will encourage more media congolmerate through the softening of ownership laws and an increase in the budget for cultural promotion, with the former a likely point of contention with naysayers.

- After Taiwan quickly chose its representative at the Oscars this year, Singapore has also made its choice, sending Eric Khoo’s My Magic to the Academy Awards after it represented the nation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

- This week’s Teleview column on the Daily Yomiuri takes a digression into CNN’s coverage of the Democratic and Republican Conventions (um….I don’t think Wolf Blitzer makes any editorial calls. His producer does.). But before that is a brief mention of Edo “GU~~~” Harumi’s 110km marathon at last weekend’s NTV 24-hour telethon.

- And just to show that anyone can make up a TV drama nowadays, TV Asahi is putting together a TV movie featuring three stories by three celebrities.

That’s it for the weekend! See you on Monday.

The Golden Rock - August 28th, 2008 Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Rock - July 27th, 2008 Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Rock - June 19th, 2008

- New Lovehkfilm reviews are up. First from Boss Kozo is the Tsui Hark flop Missing, the Japanese comedy In the Pool, and the Vietnamese action film The Rebel. Then from yours truly are reviews of the Japanese comedy Fine, Totally Fine, the Japanese arthouse horror flick The Wall Man, and the Korean comedy Radio Dayz.

- It’s Japanese Oricon charts time! As expected, Glay’s latest single debuts at the top of the chart, just beating Koda Kumi’s first post-scandal single. Worth noting is the 7th place debut of DOZHI-T’s single, which is slowly creeping into Japanese media and is likely to have long-term legs like “Soba Ni Iru Yo” earlier this year. Meanwhile Kyosuke Himuro’s 20th anniversary compilation tops a quiet album chart, with Asian Kung-Fu Generation managing a 2nd place debut, and Coldplay all the way down at 5th place.

More at Tokyograph

- Mainly for record keeping, when Paramount wants to use the figure to boost their opening weekend box office: the latest Indiana Jones film had a weekend-long preview screenings in Japan on an astounding 772 screens, which include both subbed and dubbed versions. Over two days, it made a very impressive 597 million yen, which should tell you what kind of competition other films are coming up againist. Despite not opening day-and-date with the rest of the world, it’s looking at becoming the first 10 billion yen-grossing film of the year.

- An Indian entertainment conglomerate is looking to invest USD$500 million into Hollywood studio Dreamworks, which would allow the company to leave its current deal with Paramount Pictures and back to working at being an independent studio once more. This is especially important in terms of Asian entertainment news because while there have been quite a few Asia-Hollywood co-productions, this is the first time an Asian entertainment company is investing such a heavy amount of money into a major Hollywood studio.

- Kung Fu Panda had its Chinese premiere at the Shanghai International Film Festival, who decided to not allow the public in at the last minute. Attendees reportedly said liked the film and said it represented Chinese values.

Of course, there are always party poopers who want to ruin things for everyone else, although I can see why they’d be pissed about a Hollywood studio making money off two of Chinese culture’s biggest stereotypes.

- Grady Hendix over at Kaiju Shakedown also show how the Chinese media are trying to keep a nation of restricted media receivers entertained. As I mentioned on the random thoughts bar, Kelly Chan’s wedding announcement ended up in the middle of the Hong Kong news page, because I’m sure everyone in Hong Kong cares about the star of The Empress and the Warriors getting married.

-As expected, entertainment spending in the Asia-Pacfic region is currently growing the fastest, which means major markets such as Hollywood will likely continue try and break into the market in the coming years.

- Hollywood Reporter’s Maggie Lee turns in a review of Kim Jee-Woon’s The Good, the Bad, and the Weird, which is now easily my most anticipated film of the year. Yes, more so than Red Cliff.

- From Nippon Cinema is a write-up of the upcoming Gegege no Kitaro sequel, along with the latest trailer. I wouldn’t be so trusting of that trailer, though: The first film was advertised as a serious supernatural adventure as well, but it turned out to be a kids film.

- Indonesia, in a move to boost the local advetising industry, is banning all foreign-made advertisements and commercials. One foreign professional must be accompanied by three local staffs.

- Well-known Japanese novel Shayo, which was released post-World War II and examined the need for a social change in Japan at the time, is being adapted into a feature film. The question is how timely and how much of the novel’s social change environment will be retained.

- Kaiju Shakedown also looks at Asian movies going to North America, including Eye Infinity, which is actually a title closer to the Pang Bros.’ preference, since they called the third installment of the film The Eye 10 for similar purpose. Of course, then Lionsgate went all oriental but putting the Chinese characters for eye on the DVD cover, although the film’s Chinese name doesn’t have the word  “eye” in it.

- Lastly, Japanese pop star Hikaru Utada has her own way to remind everyone in Japan to tune in for the finale of the hit drama Last Friends tonight on Japanese TV. Utada sings the theme song, which you can hear pretty much everywhere these days.

(note: it’s a parody of the drama’s poster)

The Golden Rock - June 13th, 2008 Edition

I’m going away for the weekend, so this is either a compressed weekend entry, or I may be able to cram in one more on Sunday night.

- The Japanese government, with their aggressive policy towards the coming switch to total digital broadcasting, will provide poor households with digital TV tuners so they can continue watching TV after July, 2011. Hey, I’m too poor to buy a digital TV, too, but I’m in no rush if it just means 3 more TVB channels.

- I can’t say that I’m well-versed in American 80s culture, but I know enough to ask who the hell asked for this?

- The Thai film ratings system, which is completely pointless in the fact that the government can still cut films, is being delayed for a few months as details are still being worked out.

- I expected Japan Times’ Mark Schilling to give a review for Gururi no Koto after two interviews for the filmmaker and the lead actor was on the Japan Times yesterday. But instead, he turns in a review for Takashi Miike’s flop God’s Puzzle. Even Japanese multiplexes are quickly reducing the number of showings after only a week.

- A Chinese internet music distributor is taking their lawsuit against search engine Baidu all the way to an American court, as their first lawsuit is still pending in China. A search engine that allows users to find illegally uploaded music, Baidu has been the target of attacks from the music industry. However, a 2006 case brought by Western companies lost, while this distributor’s lawsuit has been in limbo for almost a year.

- A Malaysia film production company is making their first big venture into Hollywood with Deadline, a low-budget thriller about a screenwriter in an abandoned house.

- Meanwhile, a Japanese talent agency is expanding into film production by taking over everything from production to distribution for a new film. Talent agencies have a huge role in Asian entertainment, and can be a well-known label (even to the general public) that helps a aspiring idol to stardom. Think Johnny’s in Japan (though their artists are scattered in different record labels), EEG or Gold Label in Hong Kong, and SM in Korea.

The Moscow International Film Festival will be giving Takeshi Kitano a Lifetime Achievement Award in its latest edition. Cool.

 
 
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