Thursday, March 1, 2007

It's a world I don't particularly understand

- How about we get to those news that not many people care? It's box office numbers!

- A continuation from yesterday's Japanese weekend box office. The numbers are out (thanks to Box Office Mojo's diligent updating of these data). However, there seems to be some kind of discrepancy again between BOM's numbers and the rankings - BOM shows Sakuran debuting at 6th with roughly US$370,000, although the exchange rate as of yesterday is currently 119 yen=$1, and Marie Antoinette at 7th. Meanwhile, Ryuganji, who gets their rankings from Eiga Daisuki!, has Marie Antoinette at 6th and Sakuran and 7th (with no number). So which is it?

Perhaps one reason for this is that the rankings counts admissions while BOM counts money, so does that mean Marie Antoinette is attracting an older audience, who pays lower ticket prices? Both films seem to be aiming towards the 20-40 female audience though, so there has to be some reason.

All the other numbers, however, remain consistent, with Dreamgirls losing only 6% of its audience, and Dororo losing 21%, which would explain why Dreamgirls managed to take the top spot. One thing to note, is the relative weak per-screen average in the top 10. Wide releases just aren't opening fast enough, although this may change this weekend with beginning of Spring break in Japan within the next two weeks, plus the Genghis Khan movie and Ghost Rider opening (I would not trust imdb's listing, since Babel is listed as opening this weekend, although it's actually opening in April)

- Speaking of the Genghis Khan movie (official title: Genghis Khan: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea, Then Back to the Middle for Some Tea and Bowing, and All the Way Back to the Beginning of the Earth and Sea), Twitch has an English-subtitled trailer, and even the original trailers, just in case you guys forgot.

- Also, the producer of this mega-blockbuster has broken studio taboos by putting the trailer for his next blockbuster, the remake of Tsubaki Sanjuro by Toho, before the Genghis Khan movie, produced by rival studio Shochiku when it plays at the Shochiku chain theaters (I would assume this does not affect multiplexes not owned by either studio). Yeah, Japanese studio system is complicated. Maybe Variety Asia can fill in the blanks here.

- Hong Kong Tuesday box office numbers came out last night, and the rankings are exactly the same - Night At the Museum on top, Protege, then Music and Lyrics. However, Twins Mission managed to overtake It's a Wonderful Life for the 4th spot. Both films are doing pretty bad at the box office though, with HK$140,000 for the Twins and HK$120,000 for Gold Label on the same screen counts (26 and 33, respectively).

Numbers from are here.

- Toho-Towa is one of Japan's biggest distributors, and now they will replace UIP, a huge distributor of foreign films in Japan, as the distributor for Universal Pictures. I wonder if this is the result of Universal seeing Warner Bros.' success in Japan with the Death Note movies and now wants to make a move into Japan, Hollywood's second biggest market in the world.

- Thanks to Dark Horizon, we have a new trailer for Danny Boyle's sci-fi thriller Sunshine. But like the trailer before it, this one also seem to have a lot of indirect spoilers, such as:


Who wants to guess that all the Asian cast members will die, leaving the white people around at least to the end?


Anyway, go see the trailer at your own risk here.

- According to some news sites in China, the State administration of Radio, Film, and Television has limited the run of "competition shows" (such as those American idol clones such as Super Girl) to two and a half months. However, these news have only appeared on news sites, but not as any official release from the SARFT. There's no explanation why, and apparently the pro side (and I'm just assuming those people are playing the devil's advocate) says this about the advantage of limiting these shows:

"This is good. Competition shows harm the healthy psychological development of youth. Now young people don't think of working hard to achieve success, but want to become rich and famous overnight. This phenomenon is really scary."

Shortening these shows don't change anything, it just encourage producers to make more of them to fill those empty slots. Here's a wild idea, though: to better develop the youth's psychology, why not, say, stop brainwashing them at school with revised history. Or how about pay higher wages at criminally low-paying jobs to give reward for people to work. Or how about improving human rights? They sound like crazy ideas, but they're so crazy it might just work!

- Meanwhile, the Hong Kong government has announced a new set of financial aid for the ailing Hong Kong film industry. It will pour $38 million (not sure if this is Hong Kong or American dollars though) to help finance productions and find new talents. This is a good time to be applying to film school in Hong Kong. Why, that's exactly what I'm doing right now!

In the next post, I will translate an article from Hong Kong's Ming Pao in the light of The Departed's Oscar win.

1 comment:

Jason Gray said...


Nice blog. I've noticed you really like box office news, so let me help out a bit since I don't talk about BO over at my blog anymore.

As you guessed, Kôgyô Tsûshin's weekly ranking, which is in turn used by sites such as, is based on total admissions (全国動員集計).

Box Office Mojo is ranked by earnings. The problem with that site is that they don't post the original yen figures. You can back calculate it using their exchange rate, but that's only good for the 1 minute on the 1 day that rate was in effect.

At Screen (which is subscriber only, unfortunately) we publish the original figures and $ amount.

Sakuran earned Y44,855,778 while Marie pulled in Y43,975,895. Sakuran's per screen average was Y879,525 from 51 screens, which is not incredible but still pretty good.

As for the discrepancy in earnings vs. admissions, there are lots of ticket-related reasons for that such as discounts for groups of 3 high-school students, Y1000 Ladies Day, maeuriken (advanced tickets), people going to discount ticket shops in urban centers, comp tickets related to campaigns etc. etc.

So, that's why Sakuran/Marie Antoinette and I Just Didn't Do It/Battle Of Wits were flipped.