Saturday, March 31, 2007

Asian Cinema News 101

Oh, come on, you had to expect me to use a title like that, right?

- OK, Hong Kong Thursday (opening day) numbers are up, and this weekend, those abstract-sounding Hong Kong-produced cgi animated-fest TMNT are going to try and take down the 300 Spartans. Sadly, even ninja turtles can't fight 300 6-packs, as they tie for first place with HK$230,000 on 31 screens. Of course, TMNT being an animated film, business will pick up quite a bit during the weekend. However, don't be surprised if Pursuit of Happyness comes back from behind to do great business again this weekend - it's already the only film in the top 10 with a per-screen average higher than $HK 10,000, and HK audiences just LOVE a tearjerker.

The only other notable opening is Yoji Yamada's "Love and Honor," starring Asian megastar Kimura Takuya as a blind samurai. On 5 screens, the Japanese blockbuster only got HK$30,000. Again, look for business to pick up, thanks to the older adult audience that will come out during the weekend.

- Eiga Consultant looks at the box office result of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's latest "Sakebi," which first was reported to have opened huge ("Standing audiences only!"), but after a month and an expansion up to 100 screens, it only ended up making about 130 million yen. The first Ju-on (That's "The Grudge" for you non-Japanese speakers out there) film made about 500 million yen (not exactly a nationwide phenomenon), but the second film ended up making a little more than a double that. So is he saying that Sakebi had buzz that never followed through?

- Recently, the National Broadcaster Association of Japan kicked NTV out due to the natto diet scandal, and now, the president of KTV (Kansai Television) will resign on the day that a program that explains the fraud data will air.

- Japan's internet content provider Nifty added a bunch of new content on their website, but will charge money and requires membership....which mean it gives no alternative to the Youtube problem. People want easy access to free information - TV shows, music videos, things that are already shown for free if one has a TV. Hell, I'll even step up and say I'd watch advertisements in between them, but I'm just speaking for myself.

- Hideo Nakata (The director of the original "Ring" film. NOT Ringu, Ring, that's what it was meant to be called) is back in Japan with "Kaidan," and a new teaser is out.

- Jeffrey Wells believe that this year's Cannes opener will be Wong Kar-Wai's English debut My Blueberry Nights. Yeah, maybe he'll finish shooting by May 2009, who knows?

- I was pleasantly surprised by Han Jae-Rim's Rules of Dating, which was a surprisingly complex and dark romance that was just not meant for a mainstream audience. But apparently, enough people were impressed by it that Han managed to cast Korean's most unlikely favorite leading man Song Kang-Ho (who has been in some of Korea's biggest grossers such as The Host, JSA, Shiri, and Memories of Murder) for his second film "The Show Must Go On." Twitch has the details (The trailer even feature Yentown Band's cover of "My Way" from Shunji Iwai's Swallowtail, whoa!), and it sounds like The Sopranos...maybe with less sass?

- Seoul's city government is now trying to attract more foreign films and TV dramas to shoot there by offering incentives.

- Like Kung Fu Hustle, Sony Classics have bought the international distribution rights for Stephen Chow's "A Hope," which should have a summer release date, but was also reported to be going up against Feng Xiaogang's latest during Chinese New Year in some Chinese reports. June and Chinese New Year has a long time in between, which is it gonna be?

- One of those months in between is December, and that's when Peter Chan Ho-Sun's latest "The Warlords," starring Andy Lau, Takeshi Kaneshiro, and Jet Li will open. Variety reports that the film has just wrapped up a 4-month shoot and will now go into post-production. Yay.

- Lastly, here are this month's Yesasia reviews:

Seducing Mr. Perfect
Once in a Summer
No Regret
Shiina Ringo - Heisei Fuzoku

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