'Inception' surprises by cleaning up in China

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The Independent Culture

The critics thought it could never happen, what with China's students heading back to school and a selection of strong local films being lined up for release over the next month.

But the Christopher Nolan-directed Inception cleaned up at the Chinese box office over its first five days of release, picking up 93 million yuan (10.7 million euros) which ranks as the fourth biggest ever opening by a foreign film, behind Avatar, Transformers 2 and Transformers.

Inception was released across China on September 1, traditionally considered a slow time for Chinese cinema as students return from their summer breaks. But in keeping with recent trends - and the fact that on average a new cinema screen opens for business every day in China - box office receipts are continuing to improve in 2010, with the Hollywood actioner The Expendables also showing healthy returns of 90 million yuan (10.4 million euro) in its second week of release.

Hong Kong's week to September 5 was topped by the Dante Lam-directed thriller The Stool Pigeon which took in HK$2.8 million (283,000 euros), while in Japan the box office champ was the actioner Beck, based on a popular manga comic, which collected US$3.7 million (three million euros).

Meanwhile, trade magazine Hollywood Reporter has announced the summer international box office receipt results and it's been a huge win for the people at Disney who reaped US$1.09 billion (856 million euros) overall thanks to the successes of the top-earning Toy Story 3 (US$606 million or 476 million euros), plus the high earners Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (US$244.3 million of 192 million euro) and The Sorcerer's Apprentice (US$103.2 million or 81 million euros).

Summer's international top five:
1. Toy Story 3 (Disney) US$606 million (476 million euros)
2. Shrek Forever After 3D (Paramount) US$470 million (370 million euros)
3. Inception (Warner Brothers) US$391 million (307 million euros)
4. Eclipse (Summit) US$388 million (305 million euros)
5. Iron Man 2 (Paramount) US$310 million (244 million euros).

Note: figures to August 29.