Friday, December 22, 2006

And so it begins...

And here comes another new blog on Asian cinema that the internet doesn't need. Let's just dive right into it, shall we?

- The big Christmas movies are opening this weekend in Hong Kong. On the Chinese corner is Zhang Yimou-Chow Yun-Fat-Gong Li-and-her-cleavage-and-overrated Jay Chou's Curse of the Golden Flower vs. Andrew Lau-Alan-Mak-Tony Leung Chiu-Wai-Takeshi Kaneshiro's murder mystery Confessions of Pain. This one is hard to call - both films should attract teenage girl-worthy audiences (thanks to the films' respective idol power), but Golden Flower will also be attracting the over-40 crowd (thanks to Chow Yun-Fat AND Gong Li), while Confessions will be bringing in the all-important 25-40 crowd (thanks to the Infernal Affairs team's presence).

On the half-American/half-Hong Kong side, we have Penguin-dancing Happy Feet, with the Hong Kong voice talents of Justin Lo, Stephy Tang, and Vincent Kok. It certainly doesn't match up to the English version's talent roster of Elijah Wood, Nicole Kidman, and Robin Williams, but look for the family and teenage girl crowd to flock to this one.

Kind of continuing, maybe opening once and for all, we have the new James Bond flick Casino Royale. It had a pretty strong preview week, playing in less theaters than Eragon (thus a lower gross), but it maintained a higher per-screen average as of Tuesday's gross is concerned (CASINO's HK$10,000 on 33 screens vs. ERAGON's HK$7600 on 50 screens. US$1=HK$7.78). With a full-on opening, it should have a fairly strong weekend.

We also have the second weekend of Eragon, which may take away some of the family-friendly business away, but Happy Feet will probably come in and make Eragon's second weekend pretty miserable. Again, Thursday's gross will be the biggest indicator.

In limited release, there is no new limited release this weekend. Hence, Paris je t'aime, which already had two strong weekends playing on 3 screens, should hang in there with only 2 screens/3 showings a day. Little Miss Sunshine dwindles down to two screens with two showings a day, it may still have a fighting chance at the top ten come Sunday, but it looks like it's going to be between Confessions of Pain, Curse of the Golden Flower, Happy Feet, Casino Royale, and Eragon.

The Nativity Story is still playing on quite a few screens, and Christmas is coming up. But honestly, who am I kidding? It'll be pretty much gone this weekend.


- In DVD news, Johnnie To's box-office disappointment and critically acclaimed Exiled is out, and there's no doubt that come March, Johnnie To will be holding a Hong Kong Film Award. The only question is for which film - Election 2 or Exiled?

- In Japan, TBS-Toho has been dealt with a double blow after NANA2 flopped last weekend. This weekend, the legendary Kon Ichikawa's remake of his own film Murder of the Inugami Clan also flopped, grossing only 130 million yen over the weekend (US$1=118 yen). Looks like Japanese's film only hope left at the holiday box office (I'm not counting Letters from Iwo Jima because of its Hollywood connections) is Fuji's TV-drama adaptation Ooku, starring Nakama Yukie. Look for the usual anime film versions and Letters from Iwo Jima to rule again.
(sources: Eiga Consultant, MovieWalker)

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