China's box office booming: 'Aftershock' set for release in the US

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The Independent Culture

The rumours all year have been that the Chinese box office has been breaking new ground in terms of receipts and this week those rumours have been confirmed.

A combination of Hollywood and local blockbusters have seen the Chinese box office collect US$1.1 billion (800 million euro) over the first nine months of the year, according to the country's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

That's up already from the US$930 million (675 million euro) collected last year and leaves 2003's US$150 million (109 million euro) well and truly in the shade.

Leading the way - as it has all over the world this year - has been the James Cameron epic "Avatar'', which collected US$207 million (150 million euro), according to SARFT figures, followed by Feng Xiaogang's "Aftershock'' which just cleared the US$100 million (73 million euro) barrier and is now set for release in the United States at the end of October.

Following those two films has been the thriller "Inception'' (US$56 million or 41 million euro), and then the Hong Kong-produced "Ip Man 2'' with US$36 million (26 million euro).

SARFT said that domestic cinema had accounted for US$580 million (421 million euro) in the first nine months of the year, compared to the US$560 million (407 million euro) returned from foreign films.

China's entertainment industry has received a further boost this week with the announcement that the powerful Disney corporation has sign to screen the animated series "Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf'' across 53 countries and regions by the end of 2010. The series will run over 100 episodes and will be translate into English and 10 other languages.

The news comes a shot in the arm for China's fledgling animation industry and the Creative Power Entertaining Corporation, which makes the series about the plucky little goat and the wolf couple who chase him, say that more Chinese series will now be considered by Disney, through its Buena Vista channel.

"Pleasant Goat'' hit Chinese screens in 2005 and such has been its popularity that a big screen version of his tale was released this year over the Chinese New Year period and collected 130 million yuan (14 million euro).

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