China quiet but Hong Kong cinema industry celebrates

While the cinema world was this week rejoicing in the news that 2010 had seen a global box office record smashed, there has been surprisingly little news emanating from the country largely responsible for much of that growth - China.

Ticket sales from around the world reached US$31.8 billion (23 billion euros) last year, up nine percent year on year and an all-time high, while international tickets sales were up 13 percent overall, according to film industry figures.

Much of that international rise came on the back of the Chinese film industry's remarkable growth of 64 percent in 2010 - to a total of US$1.5 billion (one billion euros) in receipts - but the government-controlled industry has in recent weeks been keeping its current box office results to itself.

Not so their Chinese counterparts down here in Hong Kong, who this week celebrated the handing out of this year's Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards.

Top prize went to the martial arts comedy Gallants, which also picked up the Best Actor award for its veteran lead Teddy Robin. Best actress went to Miriam Yeung for her turn in Perfect Wedding.

And there was more cheer with the news that the Chinese New Year blockbusters continued to hold the one and two positions in the box office charts. I Love Hong Kong has now inched towards the US$3.5 million (2.5 million euro) mark after three weeks of release, while All's Well Ends Well 2011 has reached almost US$3 million (2.2 million euros). But those runs are expected to end this week with the release of Oscar favorites Black Swan and True Grit in wide release.

Those two films are being released in Japan and South Korea respectively, which should also signal the end of two local productions - the Japanese production Gantz, which has ruled for the past three weeks and has accumulated more than US$30 million (22 million euros), and South Korea's Chosun's Detective, which has picked up almost identical numbers in its three-week run.

Watch the Gallants trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxUSH55JVVE

MS

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