'Shaolin' leaves its mark on Chinese box office

China's passion for bombastic blockbusters continues to be insatiable with the latest epic to roll off the production line, director Benny Chan's star-studded
Shaolin, dominating the domestic box office over the past week.

Chan's film - which cost US$29 million (21 million euros) to make and has gathered together the likes of Andy Lau, Jackie Chan, Nicholas Tse and Fan Bingbing - took 105 million yuan (11.6 million euros) in its first week of release in China, to leave its rivals in its wake.

Shaolin sees Lau playing a 1920s warlord who seeks help at the legendary Shaolin Temple after being betrayed by his off-sider (Tse).

Second place in China for the week ending January 23 went to the animated Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf 3 - Moon Castle: The Space Adventure, which collected 54.1 million yuan (six million euros).

Shaolin also topped the charts in Singapore with US$785,000 (448,000 euros), and in Taiwan with NT$6.5 million (163,000 euros), and was set for release in Hong Kong on Thursday.

Reports from film industry press this week have suggested that Jiang Wen's western Let The Bullets Fly had surpassed the 673 million yuan (76 million euros) collected by Aftershock to become China's all-time local box office champ, but there were no official figures released to confirm the fact.

What could be confirmed, however, was that the film was still on top of the box office in Hong Kong, where it has now topped US$1 million (730,000 euros) after two weeks of release, after picking up US$321,148 (234,298 euros) over the past week.

In Japan, meanwhile, the Oscar favorite The Social Network picked up a further US$2 million (1.5 million euros) to be ranked number one - and the film has now collected more than US$6 million (4.4 million euros) in two weeks of release.

And in South Korea it was director Kang Woo-suck's feel-good baseball flick Glove at number one, with takings of just over US$3 million (2.2 million euros).

MS

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