Mystery lingers over Chinese cinema's 'Great Revival'

Silence sometimes speaks volumes and the big news to come out of Chinese cinema this week is that there is no news about just how well the epic
Beginning of the Great Revival is doing at the box office.

This alone has set tongues wagging - through traditional media channels and across the internet.

Mainland Chinese officials had predicted the film - released to help mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Community Party of China - would pull in close to one billion yuan (100 million euros) in ticket sales, something cinema operators took to heart by rewarding the film with almost blanket coverage.

It has been playing almost exclusively in China since its opening on June 15, taking an estimated 105 million yuan (11.3 million euros) in its first five days.

But there have been accusations that any critical responses to the film have mysteriously been pulled from China's social networking sites, and this week Chinese media claimed that some cinema chains are doctoring electronic tickets for other films in order to boost sales figures.

And so the pressure seems to be on. What's more, the Peter Chan-directed martial arts epic Wu Xia - which screened at Cannes this year and stars Donnie Yen - hit screens on Monday, the first major release allowed since Revival came out. There are also a host of Hollywood blockbusters still waiting in the wings, among them the latest installments of the Transformers and Harry Potter franchises, which both still don't have confirmed released dates.

And while the mystery builds over box office figures in China, down in Hong Kong, the Motion Picture Association this week confirmed results for the first six months of the year.

Overall box office receipts are down four percent to HK$622 million (60 million euros). Dominating the charts this year have been Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides with HK$45.1 million (four million euros) and the cinematic surprise of the year - Sex And Zen 3D: Extreme Ecstasy - with HK$40.6 million (3.6 million euros).

The current Hong Kong champ is Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which took a staggering HK$40 million (3.5 million euros) in its first week.

Things were much the same in South Korea, where Bay's blockbuster scooped US$30 million (21 million euros) - an all-time first-week record.

In Japan, meanwhile, the J.J. Abrams-directed Super 8 continued its impressive run, picking up just over US$2.5 million (1.7 million euros) for a two-week collect of close to US$11.5 million (eight million euros).

Watch the Wu Xia trailer: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xjkora_wu-xia-trailer_shortfilms

MS

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