Feng keeps his promise as 'Aftershock' dominates box office

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The Independent Culture

It pays to listen when director Feng Xiaogang speaks - especially when he knows he has the support of the Chinese film industry behind him.

For while Hollywood continues to reaps millions through most of the Asian box office markets this summer, Feng's earthquake-themed epic is doing exactly what the man predicted it would do. It is setting new records in China.

Released last week, Feng's Aftershock - set around the lives of survivors of the Tangshan earthquake of 1976 - collected 160 million yuan (18 million euros), according to figures supplied by the film's producer and co-distributor Huayi Brothers.

That made it the most successful film in the region over the past week, beating out the box office champs in Japan ( Inception which collected US$8.9 million or €6.8 million), South Korea ( Inception with US$7.15 million or €5.5 million) and Hong Kong ( Toy Story 3 with US$2.19 million or €1.6 million).

The extra bit of help Aftershock received, of course, was the fact that it is about the only film currently screening in mainland China after it opened on around 4,000 screens.

According to a report by Asian film industry watchers www.filmbiz.asia, China's State Administration for Radio, Film and Television claims that Aftershock had beaten Red Cliff's record opening day for a Chinese film by collecting 34 million yuan (3.8 million euros) on its opening day last Thursday, while the Huayi company reported the figure was 36.2 million yuan (4.1 million euros), which means Feng's film had beaten Avatar's record for all films released in China.

Inception broke the stranglehold animated films have held over the Japanese box office in recent weeks, but the Japanese top four includes two in the genre with The Borrower Arrietty (also called The Borrowers in English) and Toy Story 3, plus The Last Airbender (inspired by an animated TV show) rounding out the top positions.