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Archive for the ‘trailers’ Category

The Golden Rock - September 8th, 2008 Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All drama information can be found at Tokyograph.

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

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

Original story by Apple Daily.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Rock - September 5th, 2008 Edition

- It’s looking like it’ll be a rather quiet weekend at the Hong Kong box office. The Pang Brothers’ self-remake of Bangkok Dangerous has a first-place opening on opening day. However, it only made HK$307,000 from 34 screens, which means it’ll likely make somewhere in the region of only HK$2 million over the weekend. That’s actually very good, since only 2 out of 5 opening films made it to the top ten on opening day. The other film is the Hollywood thriller The Strangers, which made just HK$60,000 from 15 screens. More when the numbers come out on Monday.

- Despite the delay, The Mummy 3 has opened huge in China, making USD$2 million on opening day. That number is similar to the opening for The Forbidden Kingdom and The Warlords, both of which has gone on to be blockbusters. The opening is also Universal’s best opening day in China. The Hollywood adventure film will end up being profitable thanks to international gross alone, as it has even yet to make USD$100 million in the States.

- Under “the latest way to make Shakespeare spin in his grave” news today, Avex and Kansai TV will collaborate on producing a drama that will consist of several modern versions of Shakespeare’s plays, and all of them will star the idol group AAA.

- It’s trailers time! Nippon Cinema has the trailer for Seven Nights, the latest by The Mourning Forest director Naomi Kawase. Twitch has a trailer for My Dear Enemy, Korean director Lee Yoon Gi’s follow-up to his much-admired Ad Lib Night. This time, he even has award-winning actress Jeon Do Yeon along for the ride. Twitch also has the trailer for Choi Ho’s Go Go 70s, which looks at the music of that turbulent period in contempoary Korean history.

- With the Venice Film Festival wrapping up tomorrow, The Hollywood Reporter looks at a competition happening within the competition films.

- Kaiju Shakedown looks at an American-produced movie that was shot in Hong Kong and didn’t feature a dude in a bat. It does feature zombies, though.

- Lastly, the Associated Press’s Min Lee writes about Taiwansese-American musician Joanna Wang’s success in Asia, which has led to a sales figure 220,000 copies in Asia. Her album was even on the top 10 of the international charts in HMV Japan.

The Golden Rock - September 3rd, 2008 Edition

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

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

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

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

More from Tokyograph

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Rock - September 2nd, 2008 Edition

- It’s Korean box office time! Strangely, two of the top ten films this weekend are not supposed to open until this week, but preview screenings for them were counted in the box office gross this weekend anyway. One of them is the Korean period epic The Divine Weapon, which attracted 230,000 admissions from the two days of preview screenings alone. Meanwhile, The Dark Knight tops the chart for another week, while The Good, the Bad, and the Weird is officially the biggest film of the 2008 Summer.

More over at Korea Pop Wars.

-  (Via Jason Gray’s blog) Jason Gray writes on Screen Daily about the grosses of 20th Century Boys‘ and Hancock’s opening weekend. Actually, the reason why Hancock sits on the top of the box office chart is because Sony has taken the liberty of including last weekend’s preview screening grosses, which means 20th Century Boys probably won both weekend grosses and per-screen average (625 million yen from a surprisingly small 310 screens). Also, Toho now expects the first film to make over 5 billion yen, which certainly bodes well for parts II and III, considering all three films cost a total of 6 billion yen to make.

- It’s review time! From Twitch are reviews of 20th Century Boys, the Korean film A Man Who Was Superman, and Rian Johnson’s The Brothers Bloom, which is here because Rinko Kikuchi has a supporting role.

From Variety is Derek Elley’s review for the Chinese film Perfect Life, which was a surprise film at the Venice Film Festival.

- Speaking of the super-efficient Yukihiko Tsutsumi, Nippon Cinema has the latest clips for his November release Maroboshi no Yamataikoku.

- Under “awards” news today, two Japanese films have taken major prizes at the World Film Festival Montreal. Meanwhile, Taiwan has already picked Cape No. 7 to be its representative at the Academy Awards this year. Not much hope for their output for the next 3 months already?

- Hong kong director Pang Ho-Cheung goes to his second Asian film market of the year, joining 31 other directors to the Tokyo Project Gathering in late October to pitch his latest project.

- Korean studio Chungeorshm, who had a major hit with The Host, will next produce the big-budget action film 29 Years, which has a surprisingly heavy political and historical tone for a typical blockbuster.

The Golden Rock - August 30th, 2008 Edition

- Very sudden news out of Japan yesterday. Young Japanese award-winning actor Yuya Yagira was rushed to the hospital yesterday after an apparent suicide attempt involving lots of pills. Yagira bursted onto the Japanese film scene by becoming the youngest winner of the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for Nobody Knows.

- It’s reviews time! Variety’s Jordan Mintzer has the first review of the Pang Brothers’ self-remake of Bangkok Dangerous, starring Nicholas Cage and his bad hair. From Venice are reviews of Takeshi Kitano’s Achilles and the Tortoise, first from Variety critic Derek Elley, then from Hollywood Reporter’s Ray Bennett. From Japan Times is Mark Schilling’s review of Toshio Lee’s Detroit Metal City, starring Kenichi Matsuyama. Also from Derek Elley is the review for Kelvin Tong’s Rule #1, which earned Ekin Cheng and Shawn Yue surely their first Best Actor awards.

- Meanwhile, the Pangs talk to the Hollywood Reporter, telling them that they actually prefer the Hollywood way of systematic filmmaking as opposed to the quick improvisational style of Hong Kong films.

- Jason Gray reports from director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s appearance at the Foreign Correspondants’ Club of Japan for his award-winning film Tokyo Sonata.

- Nippon Cinema has the first trailer for the Takeshi Kaneshiro starring vehicle K-20. Turns out he’s not the villain - he’s just accused of being one. Looks like some old-fashioned adventure fun.

- Major Japanese network TBS will be offering pay-per-view office through their broadband TV service. The first major offering will be TBS’ latest film, which will be available online even before the film hits theaters.

- Users of iTunes China can rejoices, as the music downloading program has been unblocked by the Chinese authorities. The Songs for Tibet album, however, is now missing, and netizens are getting all irate, screaming for more boycotting and banning.

-I missed out on reporting the Tony Jaa-Ong Bak 2 mess because of work, but now I can finally get a mention in: Tony Jaa has returned to the film, but only as an actor. Word is that Jaa’s mentor and Born to Fight director Panna Rittikrai will be taking over the director’s chair to finish the film.

- This week’s Televiews column looks at Japan’s coverage of the Olympics. With incompetent interviewers and unbearable media pressure on athletes, it sounds like Japan didn’t do all that much better than Hong Kong television’s immature and one-sided coverage.

The Golden Rock - August 25th, 2008 Edition

Woo Hoo! The Olympics are over!

- As always, the first thing we’ll look at is the Hong Kong box office over the weekend by looking at Sunday grosses. Somewhat surprisingly, the Hollywood adventure flick Journey to the Center of the Earth continues its reign at the top of the box office, making HK$1.96 million from 33 screens (a portion of them in 3D and a higher ticket price) on Sunday for a 11-day total of HK$19.22 million. Hellboy II also managed to hang on to its 2nd place spot with HK$392,000 from 37 screens for a 11-day total of HK$5.83 million.

As for opening films, Kwak Jae-Young’s Cyborg She leads the pack with HK$364,000 from 17 screens for a 4-day weekend total of HK$1.38 million, which is a respectable opening gross for a film on just 17 screens. Not so respectable is the opening for the animated film Star Wars Clone Wars, which made only HK$231,000 from 34 screens on Sunday for a 4-day weekend total of HK$910,000. The two limited releases this weekend - Masayuki Suo’s I Just Didn’t Do It and Todd Hayne’s I’m Not There - failed to make the top 10, which means neither made more than HK$122,000.

In holdover films, The Dark Knight is still at 4th place with HK$292,000 from 31 screens (a portion from the one IMAX screen charging higher ticket price) for a 39-day total of HK$56.1 millionThe Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor made HK$187,000 from 36 screens for an inexplicable 25-day total of HK$36.93 million. Lastly, Chan Hing-Ka/Janet Chun’s La Lingerie made HK$122,000 from 22 screens for a not-too-bad 17-day total of HK$8.17 million.

- We also have the audience attendence chart for the Japanese box office. For the 6th week in a row, Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea takes the top spot. The comic book adaptation Detroit Metal City, starring Kenichi Matsuyama, debuts impressively at 2nd place. Sex and the City didn’t do too shabby, either, with a 3rd place debut. The Mummy 3 falls to fourth place, and Star Wars Clone Wars could muster only a 6th place debut. Box Office Mojo is still slowly updating their numbers, so this will have to do for no.

- Time to look at the flop that is the Summer 2008 Japanese drama season.  The Monday 9pm Fuji drama Taiyou to Umi no Kyochitsu rebounds from the season-low 10.7 rating last week to a more average 14.7% rating this past week. Shibatora, Gakkouja Oshierarenai, Monster Parents, and Code Blue all recovered from season-low ratings the previous week. Even Koizora, the flop of the season, is seeing an upward trend from one episode to the next.

Still, Code Blue is that only drama this season that is averaging above a 15.0 rating, and that’s because of its highly rated premiere episode. Three dramas are scoring 6’s on the average season rating, and most dramas are barely breaking the 10.0 barrier. Then again, the last time a drama broke the 20.0 rating during the summer season was 2005’s Densha Otoko. Nevertheless, with an average of 15.2% so far, Code Blue is the lowest highest-rated series in a long time.

Note: I don’t count NHK’s hit taiga drama Atsuhime because 1) It doesn’t fit into the season format, which means the average rating doesn’t quite apply, and 2) Ratings only matter for private television station, which NHK is not. If counted, Atsuhime is easily the highest-rated drama of the year, scoring above 25% with most episodes.

-Coming off the commercial disappointment of Sky Crawlers, Mamoru Oshii is going back to live-action with short film in the omnibus film Kiru~Kill. He will also oversee the project.

- Being a fan of Paris Je’Taime, I’m very very excited for the producers’ follow-up New York, I Love You, which will feature films from great directors like Shunji Iwai, Fatih Akin, and Park Chan-Wook. Twitch has the film’s first trailer, even though it’s still in post-production and will only be shown at the Toronto International Film Festival as a work-in-progress. That trailer is worth watching just to see Chris Cooper speak Cantonese.

- Johnny’s man group SMAP is making history with a scheduled 6 shows at the enormous Tokyo Dome. That is the most shows a Japanese musical act has performed in a single tour at the baseball stadium.

- With Takashi Miike’s Sukuyaki Western Django heading to US theaters, Ryuganji has posted an interview in English with the prolific director.

- According to Hong Kong press, Johnnie To is not resting ahead of making his English debut film The Red Circle. Instead, he’s spending the hot summer days with Lau Ching Wan making a new film, and according to the Oriental Daily report, Lau will play a kidnapper in his first villain role. With no official quotes or source of information, Oriental Daily may just be making things up with some pictures.

- The minor Japanese medical mystery hit film Team Batista will be adapted for television, though stars Hiroshi Abe and Yuko Takeuchi will not be going to TV. Instead, Atsushi Ito will be the lead in Takeuchi’s role because it was actually written as a man in the original novel.

The Golden Rock - July 21st, 2008 Edition

Japan is on a national holiday today, so no box office or drama ratings for now. That shouldn’t stop us from looking at numbers elsewhere.

- The Dark Knight exceeded my personal expectations at the Hong Kong box office. Playing on over 80 screens, the comic book movie made HK$16.44 million over 4 days, including HK$4.76 million on Sunday. Apparently, the “less shows a day” effect didn’t quite hurt in the end because of inflated ticket prices. This already exceeds the total take of the first film in Hong Kong, and with good word-of-mouth, this is likely to be the highest-grossing foreign film of the year.

Before it hits that mark, Kung Fu Panda continues its brief win at the highest-grossing foreign film so far. After 23 days, the animated comedy still managed to make HK$579,000 on Sunday from 37 screens, and a total of HK$28.99 million. Space Chimps didn’t even put much of a dent in business, making HK$740,000 after 4 days.

How Much Money Has Red Cliff Made in Hong Kong?

As of July 20th, Red Cliff has made HK$19.16 million after 11 days.

Red Cliff was probably most affected by The Dark Knight’s opening, because it lost almost 20 screens, mainly at multiplexes that had to turn these screens over to Batman. In these smaller screens, John Woo’s historical epic remained packed, making HK$1.35 million from 39 screens, which means HK$25 million is a viable goal, though HK$30 million will be a bit of a reach.

Ann Hui’s The Way We Are is showing in one theater, who is only giving the film one to two shows a day. With two shows on Sunday, it managed to make HK$12,571, which indicates at least a near sell-out for both shows if average ticket price was HK$50. After 3 days (about 5 showings), Ann Hui’s drama has made roughly HK$30,000.

HK$7.8=USD$1

- In Korea, distributor CJ Entertainment is estimating that Kim Jee-Woon’s The Good, the Bad, and the Weird attracted roughly 2.2 million admissions over its first 4 days, which would make it the best opening this year for a Korean film. I believe this already exceeds the total admission for Kim’s previous film, the film noir A Bittersweet Life.

Korean Herald writes about the film’s English-subtitled screenings in one theater in Seoul, and foreigners use it as an opportunity to gripe about the lack of English subtitles at the theater. They should be lucky they get English subtitles on DVDs.

- Derek Elley reviews John Woo’s Red Cliff from Korea, which means he saw the 131-minute cut version instead of the 140-minute one. He also notes that the Japanese version will be cut as well, although I haven’t read any confirmation about that, especially since the first mass media screening in Japan doesn’t happen until August 1st.

- Meanwhile, other press are picking up on the Ponyo on a Cliff By the Sea’s opening day numbers. Jason Gray translates the previously linked report and writes that the studio’s “83% of Spirited Away” figure is actually an estimate for the film’s ENTIRE run, which means that the rough figure doesn’t mean all that much.

Variety also points out that since Spirited Away opened on 150 less screens, Ponyo may actually be doing worse. However, since there’s no solid numbers, no one can really make any solid numbers out of these statistics, espeically since Saturday and Sunday night numbers will probably be pretty strong because of the holiday on Monday.

- The Japanese variety comedy show Gakkou E Ikou MAX, which is responsible for those clips of Japanese kids speaking to Hollywood celebrities in English, is coming to an end after a 11-year run due to declining ratings.

- Twitch has a link to the first footage from Wilson Yip’s Ip Man, which shows some on-the-set stuff featuring a Donnie Yen with short hair and him throwing some punches.  Meanwhile, Wong Kar-Wai is busy at the Carina Lau-Tony Leung wedding. Really.

- Kaiju Shakedown has the first official poster for the live-action Dragonball movie. I don’t know….

- Tadanobu Asano is slated to star in Kankuro Kudo’s adaptation of his own award-winning play, with a commercial director making his feature film debut.

- Nippon Cinema has the first teaser for Lala Pipo, the sex comedy written by Memories of Matsuko’s Tetsuya Nakashima. I’m surprised it’s already gotten an R-18 rating already. Are these self-imposed, or is the film really done that early?

- Just as the New York Asian Film Festival  wraps up, the KOFIC brings the New York Korean Film Festival to New York City starting August 22nd with films such as Forever the Moment and Open City.

- Congratulations to Kiyoshi Kuroawa, whose Tokyo Sonata won the Best Film Prize at Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival. This marks the second major festival prize for the family drama, including the Grad Prix Prize at Cannes.

-  Korea and China are working to together to produce an animated series called…what the hell is that name?

The Golden Rock - July 19th, 2008 Edition

- Hayao Miyazaki’s latest Ponyo on a Cliff opens today in Japan, and The Daily Yomiuri has a review by staff writer Christoph Mark. There’s also a piece on the young actress who voiced the cute titular character.

Also, Japan Times’ Mark Schilling has a review for the new Guilala movie, in which a monster attacks the G8 Summit.

- So the distributor forKim Jee-Woon’s The Good, the Bad, and the Weird, is actually expecting the film to pass the 2 million viewer mark by the end of the weekend after it attracted 400,000 admissions on opening day. I forgot that it opened on a Thursday.

- According to head of Hong Kong’s Sundream Tsui Siu Ming, he expects the Anthony Wong-Jo Odagiri-starring film directed by Yu Liwei to get into the Venice Film Festival. Then again, Tsui has a thing for self-promotion if on his cable network, though he’s not the first studio head to do that, and he won’t be the last, either.

- Speaking of film festivals, the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival opened yesterday.

- Plus, the San Sebestian Film Festival will have a 43-film retrospective for Japanese film noir, which will span from Kurosawa to Imamura to Kitano to even Miike. Man, I would love to watch Battles Without Honor or Humanity on the big screen.

- This week’s Televiews column on the Daily Yomiuri offers up plenty of compliments for current drama Yottsu no Uso and the final episode of CHANGE. The one with the 22-minute speech by Kimura Takuya done in one take.

-In addition to Paco and the Magic Book, Tetsuya Nakashima also had time to write the script for Lala Pipo, about an office lady who becomes a porn star. Masayuki Miyano is directing.

- Happy Flight, the latest from Waterboys and Swing Girls director Shinobu Yaguichi, already has a website and a teaser on it, even though it doesn’t open until November. Haruka Ayase doing another comedy after Hotaru no Hikari is good enough reason for me to see it.

- By the way, check out Apple Daily for a picture of the guy who’s suing Dreamworks over Kung Fu Panda. His panda doesn’t even have eyes, someone should sue him for that.

The Golden Rock - July 28th, 2008 Edition

- The Dark Knight scored a huge opening at the Hong Kong box office yesterday. Opening on 84 screens (the largest opening since CJ7 during Lunar New Year), the superhero crime epic made HK$3.24 million. With shows sold out left and right, as well as a ticket price increase, I wouldn’t be surprised if the film makes HK$15 million by the end of the weekend. With around 150 screens, everything not named Red Cliff are forced to share screens with only a few shows a day. Even Space Chimps, which only has a Cantonese-dubbed version with EEG stars, is only getting a few shows during the day. On 25 screens, the animated film made only HK$139,000 and will likely be a more attractive video fare anyway.

How Much Money has Red Cliff Made in Hong Kong?

According to now.com, Red Cliff has made HK$15.44 million after 8 days.

While box office gross has slowly significantly, online sales indicate that John Woo’s historical epic will still have a falrly good weekend. More when the numbers are out on Monday.

- Mamoru Ishii’s newly digitized version of Ghost in the Shell opened last weekend on 5 screens across Japan, and it did spectacular business. Within the first two days, it made 13.19 million yen with a per-screen average of 2.63 million yen (roughly USD$25,000). It’ll be expanding this weekend, taking over two of Speed Racer’s screens in Tokyo and probably elsewhere at major cities.

- Twitch’s X reports that Kim Jee-Woon’s The Good, the Bad, and the Weird saw 400,000 admissions for its opening day, which means it’ll fly past the million admissions mark by the end of the weekend. Also, Warner Bros. has reportedly offered Kim to direct a real Western flick in Hollywood.

In other Korean box office news, The Public Enemy Returns reached the 4 million admissions barrier just ahead of the invasion of The Good, the Bad, and the Weird.

- It’s trailers time! First we have a full-length trailer for the omnibus film Tokyo!. Then there’s a teaser for the film adaptation of the Japanese drama Galileo. Lastly, there’s also a teaser for Benny Chan’s Connected, which is the official remake of the Hollywood film Cellular. Looks like it’s considerably more violent too.

- Under “courts actually waste their time with this?!” news today, the performance artist who criticized Kung Fu Panda before its opening is now suing the filmmakers in Chinese court for an apology. Amazing, the court accepted his case.

A Japanese company has signed a deal to open 4 IMAX theaters in Japan. If I remember correctly, previous IMAX theaters, including one in central Tokyo where I saw Batman Begins 3 years ago, closed down across Japan. How are they going to make it work this time?

- Han Cinema has been reporting new from the set of two Korean dramas. Not sure if they just happen to share the same name or otherwise, but it seems like there are now drama adaptations of Hur Jin Ho’s Happiness and Kim Jee-Woon’s A Bittersweet Life in the works.

The Golden Rock - July 14th, 2008 Edition

- I have no idea where the Hong Kong Film blog get their Hong Kong box office stats from, but that’s who we’re going with today. John Woo’s Red Cliff continued to perform extremely well over the weekend, making HK$3.14 million from 57 screens (didn’t it open on 60?) for a 4-day weekend total of HK$10.69 million. I don’t remember a Chinese film performing this well since CJ7, which made HK$15 million from over 100 screens during its opening weekend during Chinese New Years. With somewhat positive word-of-mouth around the city (some are complaining about the unintentional hilarity, some are complaining about the two-part format), it has a good chance at hitting HK$40 million, despite competition from numerous Hollywood films. I don’t know how the complaint about less shows is relevant, as people will just show up some other time if they can’t get into certain showings. But of course, the endless barrage of Hollywood blockbuster means theaters will have to take something off their screens.

The other opener, the animated film Keroro 3, continues to do well with the kids audience, making HK$850,000 from 30 screens for a 4-day total of HK$2.95 million. It apparently didn’t take too much away from Kung Fu Panda, which still managed to make HK$1.25 million from 50 screens for a current 16-day total of HK$25.8 million, and heading straight to beat Enchanted as the highest-grossing foreign film this year. Hancock didn’t do all that badly in its second weekend, either, with HK$1.52 million from 43 screens with a 11-day total of HK$19.62 million. Wanted has passed the HK$20 million mark after 19 days, making 420,000 from 33 screens, though those screens are only giving the film two to three shows a day.

Kung Fu Hip-hop managed to stay on 13 screens, but it made only HK$17,000 for a 4-day total of HK$60,000. I’ll still be catching this…for some reason.

- Red Cliff has made a total of over USD$25 million in its opening weekend all over Asia, including over 800,000 admissions in Korea and over 100 million RMB from China. Remember the film will need to make roughly USD$160 million to even recoup its cost (much of it will have to come from foreign sales).

- And the Japanese attendance figures for this weekend just came in. Hana Yori Dango Final (which has now passed the 3 million viewer mark, which means it’s passed 3.6 billion yen) and Indiana Jones again take the top 2 spots, with Gegege No Kitaro 2 debuted at 3rd place. Climber’s High dropped slightly to 4th place, and the new Anpan Man movie saw a 6th place opening. Speed Racer slowly fades to obscurity at 7th place, and Ponyo will probably wipe the other weaker performers from the multiplexes this weekend. I hope Box Office Mojo will be updating some numbers soon.

Meanwhile, Eiga Consultant revealed that Speed Racer a similar fate in Japan as it has around the world. On 450 screens (some dubbed, some subbed), the overlooked racing film made only 105 million yen. Actually, Japanese audiences have reacted quite well to both subbed and dubbed versions of the film, so it may stick around a little longer.

- It’s Japanese drama ratings time! Remaining Spring 2008 drama CHANGE performed very well ahead of its final episode with a 22.3% rating. However, the finale will have to score over 35% for its final episode to beat Gokusen in season average, which means this will be the first Kimura Takuya drama to not take the top spot that season since 1997’s Gift. Meanwhile, Rookie was apparently not on the air this past weekend, and Hachi-One Diver stayed around its average rating with a 8.5% for its second-to-last episode.

As for the current Summer 2008 season,  Monday night drama Ando Natsu (at a rare Monday 8pm time slot) premiered with a 11.6% rating. Detective drama Shibatora premiered with 13%. Seigi no Mikata got started with a 13.2 rating, Yottsu no Uso started with 11.8% rating, and Yasuko to Kenji saw a 12.3% rating for its premiere. For ongoing dramas, Monster Parents failed to hold onto its audience with a drop to 11.6% in its second week. The same went for last week’s ratings winner Code Blue, which dropped down to a 16% rating after a spectacular 21% premiere. The biggest drop went to the lottery drama Loto 6 de 3 Oku 2 Senmanen Ateta Otoko with ex-GTO Takashi Sorimachi, which lost almost half its audience with a 6.8% rating for its second episode. Tomorrow saw a bit of a drop as well, with a 13.9% second episode after its debut saw a 16.8% rating.

All Japanese drama sypnosis can be found at Tokyograph.

- The people behind the Shanghai International Film Festival and the Shanghai World Expo will be setting up a database of young talents around the world.

- Mark Russell over at Korea Pop Wars gives his mini-review of Kim Jee-Woon’s The Good, The Bad, and the Weird. He also compares the Cannes and Korean versions of the film.

- Hiroyuki Ikeuchi joined the cast of Wilson Yip-Donnie Yen’s Yip Man. In the film, he plays a Japanese soldier who has a showdown with the Yenster himself.

In other casting news, Hiroshi Tamaki will star in another one of those Japanese nationalistic war film, playing a submarine captain during World War II.

- Japanese distributor Movie Eye has announced their release schedule for the rest of 2008 and 2009, one of which includes Nightmare Detective II, which has been pushed to 2009.

- Wanted to post this yesterday: Million Dollar Girl with Yu Aoi will be heading abroad for a festival screening before opening in Japan. Also, there are apparently rumors of Aoi’s behavior on set her TV drama Osen.

- Twitch has a teaser for the Japanese horror flick End Call. What the hell is that all about?

- Some new Hong Kong trailers out there. First is the Stephy underwear flick La Lingerie, then it’s the Charlene Choi starrer Butterfly Lovers, directed by Jingle Ma.

- A Japanese television documentary show that follows celebrities doing homestay abroad is coming to an end, as producers have decided that the show has fulfilled its purpose.

- New York Asian Film Festival co-organizer Brian Naas posts his thoughts about the festival, as well as reveal the results of the audience award, which went (deservedly) to Fine Totally Fine.

 
 
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