Interpret Weekly: Asia Entertainment 06/14/2021

Cheetah Media / Huayi BrothersColumbia Pictures / Animal LogicDirty Monkeys Studio / Beijing Culture

Monday is the Dragon Boat Festival in China, a national holiday. Peter Rabbit 2 earned $7.8 million from Friday to Sunday, with Sony projecting a $11.1 million finish for the full holiday weekend. The film scored strong reviews, but was overshadowed by domestic sports drama Never Stop which topped the weekend with $10.2 million. To date, China’s box office has generated $4.14 billion in ticket sales this year, 8.9 percent behind the equivalent period in 2019.

1921, one of the most prominent Chinese propaganda films of the year, was developed as a tribute to China’s ruling Communist party for the 100th anniversary of its founding, which falls on July 1 — the day 1921 will hit theaters. The movie re-enacts the story of the Party’s early years. Even so, hot-blooded online patriots have accused the film of being overly commercial and disrespectful to the revolutionary heroes depicted by certain viral young stars, highlighting the difficulty of trying to create a product acceptable to the country’s two strongest online forces: fans of celebrity idols and hyper-nationalistic patriots.

F9 became the most-watched foreign film in South Korea since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic on another weekend where Hollywood and Japanese titles dominated the South Korean box office.

The weekend box office chart was headed by Cruella which scored $1.82 million in its third weekend of release, down just 17% from its second outing. Since release on May 26, Cruella has accumulated $8.29 million. The Conjuring 2 earned $1.45 million; a 46% drop compared with its opening weekend.

The reissue of Mole’s World in its mobile version has shot to the top of the free downloads on Apple’s app store and has also been downloaded millions of times on Android phones, boosting the share price of its maker, G-bits Network Technology, by 25% in the week it was released. First available for PCs in 2008, the farming simulation game features a round-faced creature with a clown nose who captured the attention of a generation of gamers over a decade ago.

Second Country: Cross Worlds, the latest mobile RPG developed by Netmarble Corp., zoomed to the top of App Store Charts in Korea upon release on Thursday, set to become another blockbuster mobile title. The new mobile game based on the popular Japanese RPG Ni no Kuni also ranked No. 1 on the App Store in Taiwan and Hong Kong upon release on Tuesday.

SK Telecom, South Korea’s top wireless carrier, said it will unveil four video games at the gaming conference E3 2021 that kicks off Saturday in a move to expand its presence in the console gaming market. The carrier said it will take part in the online expo this year for the first time and feature action shooting game ANVIL, role playing game Little Witch in the Woods, action-adventure game Vapor World, and card action game NEOVERSE. The games have been designed for Xbox consoles and Microsoft Corp.’s cloud gaming platform jointly developed with SK Telecom.

Industry veteran Yuji Naka looks to have left Square Enix following the release of Balan Wonderworld – the game launched back in March but was received poorly by the press. It is unclear what the future holds for this industry veteran, though he has speculated that he may retire.

In a statement released Friday, the Hong Kong government said the city’s film censorship ordinance had been expanded. Under the new regulations, any film including “any act or activity which may amount to an offense endangering national security” will be banned from exhibition. While mainland China’s National Film Bureau operates a notoriously repressive censorship system, Hong Kong’s has long used a ratings system similar to the one employed by the Motion Picture Association of America. Sex and violence were rated for adults, or banned if too extreme, but politics were left untouched.

South Korea’s major production house Studio Dragon will make a Korean superhero series based on popular local webtoons, hoping that Korean superheroes can make a global sensation like Iron Man, Hulk, and Captain America who join forces to fight evil in Marvel Studios’ Avengers series.

Studio Dragon and local webtoon studio YLAB have agreed to produce “Super String,” a superhero series that bring together characters from 14 different Korean webtoons to a shared universe, a follow-up of their business partnership signed in March.