Were you captivated by Monkey Magic as a kid? The late '70s's Japanese television show (pictured), based on the Chinese novel Journey to the West, evidently cultivated a devoted overseas following. I never saw it, but I did find a couple of clips from its opening sequence on YouTube. (Both the Japanese original and English-language dub feature a catchy theme song by Godiego.) Because remakes are not just for movies, Fuji TV aired a new edition of the show early in 2006, and that was so popular it spawned a movie version which opened in Japan last weekend. The story in ScreenDaily declared that Monkey Magic was "the first local live-action success of Japan's summer box office season."

While surfing for more information on the movie, I found a blog post that raises a good question: What's the best way to report an entertainment news story in the face of a natural disaster? Japan was struck by a typhoon over the weekend and then an earthquake on Monday. ScreenDaily's Jason Gray chose not to mention the disasters in his story, while Variety's Mark Schilling acknowledged the fatal disasters and reported: "Despite the downpours and ground trembles, punters filed into theaters across the country" for the film. Thanks to Don Brown's fine blog, I read on Gray's informative blog that Schilling's article 'rubbed him the wrong way.' Schilling responded in the comments section, and the two had an informed disagreement about how to report box office news, which I found fascinating. We pay attention to box office around here; Cinematical reports regularly on box office stories and we've just started posting a weekly wrap-up of the Indie Weekend Box Office. Still, it's always good to take a step back and keep things in perspective.

[ Via ScreenDaily ]