Korea Kicks Hong Kong’s Grass

Spring Summer Fall Winter Spring Again

Box Office News: In limited release, SHAOLIN SOCCER performed nicely but not spectacularly. Its per-screen average of $6,257 at six theaters was actually less than SPRING SUMMER FALL WINTER SPRING ($7,093, also at six theaters). Both films were outperformed by the French BON VOYAGE ($7,608 per screen at seven theaters) and the Danish DOGVILLE ($7,813 average at 14 locations).

Meanwhile, completely unreported is the lovely success of OSAMA from Afghanistan (and if Iran can be considered Asian, why not Afghanistan?). In nine weeks of release, it has grossed nearly a million dollars. On the other hand, the truly wonderful JAMES’ JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM (from Israel) has grossed less than $39,000 in five weeks of release. All of these figures, by the way, are courtesy of Box Office Mojo.

What does all this mean? That the arthouse crowd is loyal, supportive…and limited. And that risking a wide release of any type is just that — a risk. A risk which rises exponentially with an unknown quantity, such as a non-English language picture.

DVD News: No releases of interest this week, but get your pre-orders in for TOKYO GODFATHERS, which is due out next week.

Screenings/Upcoming Reviews: Still trying to get my head around a Japanese film called PEEP “TV” SHOW so I can write up a review this week. It was shot on video and expresses a distinct personal vision that appeals more to the head than the heart.

Also saw the aforementioned SPRING SUMMER FALL WINTER SPRING and can recommend it as another visual treat that packs a powerful punch from director Kim Ki-Duk.

Beyond that, I screened two above average Spanish-language films and a couple of disappointing English-language flicks. So it goes.

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