'Bladesman' cuts a swathe through Chinese box office

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The lure of two of Asia's biggest stars has proved too much for Chinese cinema-goers to resist over the past week as the blockbuster The Lost Bladesman topped the local box office charts.

Big things were expected of Hong Kong directors Alan Mak and Felix Chong's first foray in the historical epic genre - not least because of the fact that the film stars Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen - and China's film lovers have flocked to see the production, which centers around the tale of the famous ancient Chinese general Guan Yu (played by Yen).

The Lost Bladesman took in 100.4 million yuan (10.4 million euros) in its first week of release to displace Wilson Yip's remake of the 1987 classic A Chinese Ghost Story, which took 40.7 million yuan (four million euros) in its second week for total takings now of 113.2 million yuan (12 million euros). Third spot in China was held down by the American 3D animation Rio, which picked up 27.7 million yuan (2.8 million euros) for total takings of 106.2 million yuan (11 million euros).

The Lost Bladesman also made its European premiere this week - at the Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy - and its producers are hopeful it will soon find a wide international release.

The film also opened in Hong Kong last week but was no match for the pulling power of the Hollywood extravaganza Thor, which picked up just over US$1 million (675,000 euros) in its first week. The Lost Bladesman came in second with an opening week total of US$532,406 (359,455 euros), pushing the phenomenon that is Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy down to third. That film picked up just on US$400,000 (270,000 euros) in its third week for almost US$4 million (2.7 million euros) in takings.

Meanwhile, Detective Conan: Quarter of Silence continues to dominate the box office in Japan, picking up almost US$4.5 million (three million euros) to the week ending May 2. The 15th film in the popular anime series has now collected almost US$22 million (15 million euros) from its three-week run.

See the trailers:

The Lost Bladesman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUQg0hcOxGo

Detective Conan: Quarter of Silence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnUlvNxQ5Gs