HERo at 12th PIFF, faces no challengers at Japanese B.O.September 10, 2007

\"Hero\" faces no challengers at Japanese B.O.

Written by Mark Schilling varietyasiaonline.com

TOKYO -- \"Hero,\" a courtroom-drama-cum-romance based on a hit Fuji TV series about a rebel prosecutor, finished its first weekend at the number one spot, earning Y1.08 billion ($9.5 million dollars) on 750,000 admissions.

Released on 475 screens by distrib Toho -- a record for a Japanese pic -- \"Hero\" scored a sky-high screen average of $19,790. Toho now predicts the pic will finish north of $88 million and may even surpass the current number one for the year: \"Pirates of the Caribbean: World\'s End.\"

Fuji TV producer Chihiro Kameyama, the mastermind behind both \"Hero\" and the smash hit \"Bayside Shakedown\" pics about cops in the trendy Tokyo Bay area, is even more upbeat, saying that \"Hero\" may beat \"Bayside Shakedown 2,\" which set a record for a live-action local pic in 2003 with $152.6 million. \"I am in the fortunate position of being able to break my own record,\" Kameyama said in a statement. \"If any title, \"Hero\" has a great chance to be the one to achieve that status, so I\'m really excited.\"

\"Hero\" began as a Fuji TV series, starring local megastar Takuya Kimura as a rule-breaking delinquent-turned-prosecutor, that racked up stupendous 30-plus ratings for every episode when it was broadcast from January to March 2001. Instead of signing Kimura and company to another season, however, Fuji dropped the show for five years, finally reviving it for a two-hour special that aired in July of 2006 -- and also scored over 30. By this time, a \"Hero\" feature was in the works.

In addition to Kimura and most of the original TV series cast, the pic stars Korean heartthrob Lee-Byung Hun and was shot partly in Busan. Not surprisingly, the pic will screen at the upcoming Pusan film festival and is skedded to be released on 250 screens in Korea -- a record for a Japanese pic in the territory. Other theatrical releases throughout Asia are also planned.

September 28, 2007 Japanese Heartthrobs to Attend PIFF

A large number of Japanese heartthrob movie stars is expected to attend the 12th Pusan International Film Festival opening next month in the southern Korean port city.

Topping the list is the ever popular Takuya Kimura who will arrive in Korea Oct. 4. He has been invited to the festival\'s Open Cinema section featuring his film \'Hero.\'

The film is about a motivated prosecutor fighting against a conglomerate conspiracy, and has topped the Japanese box office for the third week. Top Korean actor Lee Byung-hun also appears in the movie.

The 5000 tickets for \'Hero\' sold out in one day after PIFF began advance ticketing.

Also visiting from Japan is Tatsuya Fujiwara, famous for the \'Death Note\' series.

Others include Erika Sawajiri, Miura Haruma and Sei Asina.

Source: english.kbs.co.kr
October 1, 2007 Japanese idol to meet Korean fans

Takuya Kimura, also known as his nickname "Kimutaku," is set to visit Seoul and Busan this week to promote "Hero," a trailblazing hit film in Japan where he plays the quirky but attractive central character.

On Thursday, Kimura will hold a fan meeting at a theater in downtown Seoul before flying to the southeastern city of Busan the next day for the screening of "Hero" at the Open Cinema section of the 12th Pusan International Film Festival, which kicks off on Thursday.

"Hero," a big-screen adaptation of the Japanese television drama, earned 5.12 billion yen (about 40.9 billion won) in under three weeks since its release in Japan, and is scheduled to hit Korean theaters on Oct. 25.

Kimura, 35, is a member of the Japanese boy band SMAP, and one of the most popular stars in Japan, with numerous hit television dramas and movies under his belt.

He also has a significant fan base here in Korea, mostly Japanese drama buffs who eagerly watch his television shows. He has starred in "Long Vacation" (1996), a landmark work that heralded his true stardom, and "Karei-naru Ichizoku" (2007), a remake of a 1970s novel that earned the versatile actor critical acclaim.

All eyes are now trained on whether "Hero" can have an impact on the Korean film industry. Even though a host of Japanese films have been released here, no massive hit has emerged so far, largely due to the dearth of recognizable stars with whom local fans could associate. But Kimura\'s "Hero" is expected to be a different state of affairs. First, the original Japanese television series has a firm footing among Koreans familiar with Japanese culture, and Kimura is yet to play up his star image here.

Although he appeared in a couple of Korean television ads, the exposure was minimal. Local cable networks imported a number of Japanese drama series, but none of Kimura\'s major hits, making it difficult to predict how much impact his presence will generate through "Hero."

Early signs are positive. On Sept. 21, when the reservations were opened to the public, all the 5,000 tickets for the screening of the film in Busan sold out instantly. Kimura will hold a formal press conference in Busan and watch the screening with Korean fans on Thursday.

In the silver-screen version of "Hero," Kimura plays Kuryu Kohei, a young public prosecutor working for a division in Tokyo, who bypasses standards and rules but shows a brilliant talent for nabbing criminals. The plot involves a simple battery case that turns out to be entwined with a dark, broader conspiracy and a power struggle.

The Japanese film features a scene in Busan, and Korean Wave star Lee Byung-hun also makes a special guest appearance. This intriguing filmmaking decision on the part of Japanese production house reflects a heightened interest in the Korean film market.

Kimura joined the SMAP in 1988 but it was in 1993 when he finally made his name known among the public through a role in a teen television drama "Asunaro Hakusho." In 1994, Japanese media began to refer to the so-called "Kimutaku syndrome," referring to his surging popularity among youth.

The original "Hero" franchise started out in 2001 and quickly turned into a smash hit that garnered a record 36.8 percent ratings. The latest movie version picks up the story from where the last television episode left off.

"Hero" will be screened in about 250 theaters across Korea, the biggest release to date for a Japanese film, and Lotte Entertainment handles its domestic distribution.

By Yang Sung-jin (insight@heraldm.com)


eHerof to open big in South Korea

Film set to unspool Nov. 1


Takuya Kimura star vehicle gHeroh is stirring major interest in South Korea, where distributor Lotte Entertainment hopes to give it the biggest local release ever for a Japanese film.

Pic receives its international premiere tonight on PIFFfs massive outdoor screen in the Open Cinema section, where Kimura (h2046) is scheduled to be in attendance.

Local release has been set for Nov. 1, and Lotte is aiming for 250 to 300 screens. Biggest releases to date of Japanese films in Korea include gThe Sinking of Japanh on 256 screens and gHowlfs Moving Castleh on 237.

Kimura has won over numerous fans in South Korea as a member of pop group SMAP and especially for his roles in Japanese TV dramas, which have a steady following in Korea.

gHeroh is a bigscreen version of one of the starfs biggest TV hits, and features a segment shot in Busan with Korean star Lee Byung-heon.

Source: www.variety.com

Actor Kimura Takuya Reigns in Busan

By Lee Hyo-won
Staff Reporter

Japanfs reigning heartthrob Kimura Takuya
at the press conference to promote his film gHeroh
at the 12th Pusan (Busan) International Film Festival. / Yonhap

BUSAN _ Japanfs ultimate heartthrob Kimura Takuya set Busan on fire when he revisited the port city in time for the international premiere of his latest movie gHeroh at the 12th Pusan (Busan) International Film Festival (PIFF).

More than 100 reporters and photographers crowded the explosive press conference room in Paradise Hotel, with some 70 female Japanese fans filling the hall outside to get a glimpse of their hero.

The 34-year-old star is a member of Japanfs biggest all-time idol group SMAP and has starred in TV series that garnered unprecedented popularity, such as gPrideh, gGood Luckhe and gEngine.h He has also voiced a character in Hayao Miyazakifs epic animation film gHowlfs Moving Castle.h

Takuya returns to his role as a high school dropout-turned-hotshot prosecutor in gHero,h and said he was happy to return to the role because his character is so intriguing.

Six years before he played the same part for a TV series. In Japan, TV dramas are divided by seasons and produced in 11 segments. Sometimes popular ones are made into two-hour specials, and if that proves successful, larger-scale productions are made. Fuji TVfs gHeroh makes its big-screen debut with Japanfs hottest star _ who is voted gman I want to make love withh for the 14th year now _ and Koreafs Lee Byung-hun making a cameo appearance.

Hero director, Suzuki Masayuki & Takuya Kimura at 10/5 press conference

gHeroh was shot in Busan, and director Suzuki Masayuki explained itfs because gKorea is a cinema kingdomh after introducing him in fluent Korean. gI wanted to shoot my movie somewhere open, and Busan was the perfect place,h he said.

Kimura said he was happy to be back in Korea and honored that gHeroh makes its international debut here. Compared to his experience at the Cannes Festival, he said that he is enjoying Pusan in terms of the food and people. gKoreans look very much like the Japanese, so I feel very much at home.h

Takuya said that he is staying at the same hotel while filming gHero.h gI feel much more at ease this time because Ifm not shooting a film, and I can actually appreciate things like the nice bath tub and beautiful ocean view out the window,h he said.

Hallyu superstar Lee Byung-hun makes a special appearance in gHero.h gHis appearance is short, but he plays a very strong, heavyweight role. Lee is explosively popular in Japan, and is known to have a epretty smile.f He was really the only one I had in mind for casting,h said the director.

gI would love to make a film with him for a longer period of time in the future,h he said.

Credits: hyowlee@http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/art/2c/141_11394.html