Comic Heroes in Golden Week Showdown

It’s a battle between American and Japanese comic heroes in the upcoming Golden Week holiday period. The two most anticipated movies set to open during GW are Hollywood blockbuster “Spiderman 3” and local manga adaptation “Gegege no Kitaro” and both are expected to do very well at the box office. Sony Pictures hosted a press conference in Tokyo yesterday for the visiting director and cast of the latest Spidey flick, which had its world premiere in the capital on Sunday. Sony are aiming to beat the ¥7.5 billion box office of the first Spiderman movie (the first sequel drew ¥6.5 billion), and have pulled out all the stops and spared no expense for this week’s PR. Yesterday’s event drew 450 reporters, 40 TV cameras and 1,000 photographers, thought he movie doesn’t open until May 1. Meanwhile, the latest live-action adaptation of “Gegege…” will have a bit of a head start, at it’s scheduled to open on April 28 at 350 theaters nationwide. This beats the 320 screens that started showing “Tokyo Tower” a week ago, and that movie is on course to make over ¥4 billion. Based one of Japan’s most popular mangas, “Gegege…” is a fantasy tale of spirits and monsters from Japanese folklore and stars Wentz Eiji (21) as Kitaro, Inoue Mao (20) in the heroine role, Tanaka Reina (26) as Neko Musume, Oizumi Yo (34) as Nezumi Otoko, Hazama Kampei (57) as Konaki Jijii, and Muroi Shigeru (46) as Sunakake Babaa.

• Comedian Tanaka Yuji (43) hit the jackpot yesterday. A horse racing fan for some 20 years, he won just shy of a whopping ¥8 million on the major Satsukisho, the first leg of Japanese racing’s triple crown. He said he plans to share his winnings with comic partner Ota Hikari (41) and the two dozen staff of his management agency. One half of the comedy duo Bakusho Mondai, he is a host of several regular weekly shows, including “Sunday Japon”.