Friday, November 16, 2007

The Golden Rock finds a new home

Like the fate of Lust, Caution, the sad lost orphan that is The Golden Rock has found a new home with larger exposure and a prettier layout. We are now one of the three official Lovehkfilm blogs. Unlike The Golden Horse Awards, Lovehkfilm doesn't make any mistakes like giving Aaron Kwok acting awards.

Find us here
(Special thanks to Sanney for the header)

Thanks to everyone's support for these 471 posts here at Blogger!

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Golden Rock - November 9th, 2007 Edition

- Earlier in the week I wrote that the Japanese film Always 2 opened at 150% of its sequel's opening. Thanks to Eiga Consultant, I now realize I was wrong. At 550 million yen, its opening is actually 256% of the original's opening, which means if the word-of-mouth holds up, Always 2 may be heading for the 5 billion yen mark to become the second-biggest film of the year behind Hero.

- Speaking of Always 2, the Daily Yomiuri devotes some time to the blockbuster sequel, first with what seems like a pseudo-review for the film, then with a short feature on star Hidetaka Yoshioka.

- Under "big TV network exploits small town troubles" news today, Japanese network TBS will produce a drama about the troubles of Yubari, Hokkaido when the town literally went bankrupt. Who knows? Maybe it might turn out good. It probably won't.

- The Academy has announced their final list of qualified films for the best animated film awards - Japan's Tekkonkinkreet and the Hong Kong-produced TMNT are on that final list. Note that this does not mean they are now Oscar-nominated films; it just means they may be.

- In more Imagi news, the Hong Kong animation firm has acquired screenplay rights for Fluorescent Black, an original story that will first be adapted as a "graphic novel" before becoming an animated film. This is the first Imagi project that isn't based on an established story.

- Lust, Caution is not only a commercial hit in Mainland China, the censored version, which still has several nudity-less sex scenes, has touched off a massive internet debate about sexuality on screen and even Mainland censorship.

- Speaking of Chinese censorship, the Canadian Broadcasting Company has reportedly pulled a documentary on the persecution of Falun Gong members in China after pressure from Chinese diplomats. It's hard to believe that Canada has to be afraid of China when Hong Kong police don't even stop Falun Gong demonstrators from putting up a huge sign saying "Destroy the Chinese Communist Party" in the middle of the busiest district in Hong Kong.

- In Hong Kong, director Christopher Nolan says that he did not take out a scene in which Batman jumps into Victoria Harbor due to pollution, but because of a script change. In fact, he said he would have no problems dumping actors into pollution anyway. Christian Bale must be thanking someone that it didn't happen.

- Independent Korean directors are celebrating the opening of Indie Space, the first theater in South Korea dedicated to showing Korean independent feature films and short films.

- The Yomiuri's Teleview column writes about the role of the middle-aged people working in Japanese television.

The Golden Rock will be going away for a few days. This blogger will be shooting his final project this weekend while some administrative stuff gets taken care of. We'll be back on Monday, when we might have a little surprise.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Golden Rock - November 7th, 2007 Edition

- It's Oricon charts time! Mr. Children scores their 27th consecutive number 1 single this week, while Glay's latest EP could only get a 2nd place debut. As for the album chart, The Backstreet Boys' comeback album manages to hold on to the top spot for the second week in a row, as Seamo's latest manages a second place debut with 56,000 in sales. Go read more at Tokyograph.

- Despite delays and 7 minutes of cuts (though some of the sex scenes remain), Ang Lee's Lust, Caution is a hit in China and is expected to surpass the distributor's forecast for its final gross. It's even made people discuss film sexuality, though it couldn't avoid the juvenile "shameless actors will do anything for money!" comments.

- As for South Korea, October 2007 box office is down 33% from October 2006. Before someone screams "piracy," a possible explanation for the drop is because the Chuseok holiday occurred in September this year.

- It's reviews time! Variety's Derek Elley actually manages to survive the Mainland Chinese comedy Contract Lover and lives to tell about it. Elley also reviews Taiwan's Academy Awards best foreign film entry Island Etude (also known as "the movie that replaced Lust, Caution"). Then Russell Edwards caught the hit "cell phone novel" adaptation Koizora (Sky of Love) at Tokyo International Film Festival.

Elsewhere, Lovehkfilm's Kozo offers up reviews of the Hong Kong "relay" film Triangle, the small Hong Kong film Magic Boy, and the hit Japanese drama adaptation film Hero. Meanwhile, Sanjuro offers up reviews of another Japanese drama adaptation Unfair: The Movie and the Korean summer horror hit Black House.

- Both Ryuganji and Jason Gray write about the latest controversy regarding Toho actually asking people to give a standing ovation for the cast at an opening day event for the Japanese film Always 2. This comes after Toho had a PR nightmare on their hands when Erika Sawajiri ridiculed her latest film Closed Note at a similar event.

Jason Gray coverage
Ryuganji coverage

- The fifth Bangkok World Film Festival is over, and the Austrian film Import/Export won best film, while Taiwanese art film Help Me Eros managed to earn the special jury prize.

- Did I enjoy the comic adaptation film Honey and Clover? Not greatly. Was it a really big hit? Not really. That's not stopping Fuji TV from bringing it to the drama world next season on Tuesdays at 9pm. Maybe it'd be better off there.

- With the possible exception of 28 Weeks Later, Fox Atomic hasn't released one movie that can be considered "good." However, that's not stopping them from becoming the first Hollywood studio to produce a movie in South Korea. This one doesn't sound any good, either.

- Under "Hong Kong people just like to complain, complain, complain" news today, after Batman realized Victoria Harbor's water is too toxic to jump into, environmental groups and some tenants are complaining the producers' request to keep the lights on at night for buildings along the waterfront.

To answer the group Green Sense: No, you cannot just "turn on" lights at night through post-production because there's no light on the buildings themselves. For a group named "Green Sense," you certainly don't have much "common sense."

- Under "most dubiously interesting idea" news today, Japan's NTV is planning a "blog drama," in which the path of a TV drama will be decided by fans who contribute to the drama's blog.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Golden Rock - November 6th, 2007 Edition

- It's Japanese drama ratings time! Galileo saw another small decline in its 3rd week, though it's still very strong at 21.3 rating (yes, I realize that the 4th week has already been shown, and we'll look at that next week). Fuji's 3rd Saturday 11pm drama SP premiered to a fairly strong 14.5 rating, which makes it the strongest premiere ratings for that time slot (Liar Game premiered at 12.3 and Life premiered at a 11 rating.). The challenge now is whether word-of-mouth will carry like the previous two dramas have.

Meanwhile, Iryu 2 rebounded slightly to a 15.8 for the 4th week, Hatachi No Koibito dipped all the way to a 7.4 rating, Joshi Deka continues its fall to an 8.4 rating for its 3rd week, but Takashi Sorimachi's Dream Again does manage to rebound slightly to a 10.0 rating in its 4th week.

All Japanese drama information on Tokyograph

- In American Film Market news, both buyers and sellers are complaining about the slow start. This is, of course, due to the constant stream of film markets happening not only in Asia, but also in Rome.

Meanwhile, since I'm a Hong Kong blogger, why would I not include a link about a panel on Hong Kong? Of course, it's going to be about lots and lots of co-productions.

- Then in your daily Andrew Lau news, the Weinstein Company decides to give Lau another Hollywood movie to work on, even though his first Hollywood movie hasn't even been released in Hong Kong.

Sorry this is a truncated version of the usual posts, despite having lots of news out there. We'll try to do things more normally tomorrow.

The Golden Rock Box Office Report - 11/6/07

- The Hong Kong websites couldn't deliver the Hong Kong box office stats in time, so I'll just do it myself thanks to Box Office Mojo. As predicted from the opening day gross, the relay film Triangle was a weak number 1 opener with almost HK$2.4 million from 36 screens over Thursday to Sunday. Considering the film opened with only HK$420,000 on Thursday, this means the adult audience (read: older film buffs) showed up over the weekend.

Lust, Caution passed the HK$40 million mark. Yawn.

Not sure if this is accurate, but Brothers apparently lost another 71% of its business, but at least it has gone past the HK$10 million that would qualify this as a moderate hit.

Anyone cares about how the limited releases did? Good, me neither.

- The Japanese box office was pretty huge this past weekend, as Eiga Consultant predicted correctly that Resident Evil 3 would indeed win the weekend. In fact, the third movie actually opened at 117% of the opening for the second film with 598 million yen. However, the opening for Always 2, while only at second place, was actually stronger in terms of comparing it with the series. At 474 million yen, the opening for the second film is nearly 150% of the opening of the first film, which became both a critical and a commercial hit.

The surprise is "cell phone novel" adaptation Koizora, which opened at 3rd place with 476 million yen. This is not only thanks to a dominant female audience (88% of total audience), but it was also thanks to the 10 to 20-year-old demographic, which made up 78.2% of the total audience.

Despite three big movies dominating, Takashi Miike's Crows: Episode Zero only lost 26.5% of its audience in its second week. Blockbuster Hero is starting to lose its audience fast, losing 40% in box office gross. With 7.8 billion yen in the bank, it's not likely the drama adaptation will hit the 10 billion yen mark Fuji had hope for, and the 15 billion forecast producer Chihiro Kameyama wants is something he made up while stoned.

- In South Korean box office, Hero opened with the highest amount of screens for a Japanese film in Korea, but with a limited target audience (read: People who know the established characters), it was nowhere near the opening for Sinking of Japan at only 128,000 admissions. Meanwhile, Le Grand Chef, which I guess you can make the vague Tezza connection because it shares the same original comic author, opens at number 1.

Once again, the top 3 films are Korean films, which suggests Korean films are taking back the year, but of course, there will always be people ready to blame the industry downturn on piracy. Still, give them credit for finally using "lack of creativity" as one of the reasons.