Hollywood reigns over Asian box office

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Hollywood has reasserted its control over the Asian box office in the past week, fueled by post-Oscar buzz and a decent dose of alien invasion.

In China, the US Marines vs. aliens blockbuster Battle: Los Angeles ruled the roost with estimated takings of US$7.4 million for the week ending March 27, while South Korea saw the spoils shared by the Oscar-winning The King's Speech and Battle: Los Angeles with US$1.2 million (843,000 euros) and US$1.1 million (773,000 euros) respectively.

An interesting result in South Korea was the relative success of the Bollywood production My Name Is Khan, which picked up more than US$220,000 (155,000 euros) from a limited release.

Figures were down overall for takings from the Japanese market; the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disasters that have closed cinemas in Tokyo have also meant that a series of planned releases have been put on hold.

The local actioner SP: The Motion Picture - based on a crime-themed TV series - pulled in US$3.3 million (2.3 million euros) to push its three-week takings to just on US$18.5 million (13 million euros), holding out the Disney studio's animated feature Tangled, which pulled in US$2.6 million (1.8 million euros) for the week.

International releases Battle: Los Angeles, Hereafter and Sanctum have all had their Japanese release dates postponed.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, is currently in the midst of its annual international film festival ( http://www.hkiff.org.hk) - which runs until April 5 - so this time of the year is traditionally when a series of Hollywood's less-than-sensational releases find cinemas willing to take them on.

And so, again, it has proven. While Hong Kong's cineastes are at the festival taking in a program that features everything from a reprint of La Dolce Vita to a program featuring cutting edge Asian animation, Liam Neeson's thriller Unknown has managed to top the local box office charts with takings of HK$1.2 million (108,000 euros), edging out the Harrison Ford-led rom-com Morning Glory, which collected just over HK$1 million (90,000 euros).