'Tron' rules China box office but Shaolin ready to strike

Relaxnews
Saturday 22 January 2011 01:00
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Top of the Chinese box office this week went to the sci-fi thriller Tron: Legacy, but cinemas across the country were gearing up for the release of another Chinese epic that looks set to continue the local industry's dominance over the past month.

Tron picked up 71.5 million yuan (eight million euros) over the week ending January 16, to edge out The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which made 42.1 million yuan (4.7 million euros) for a ten-day total of 84.2 million yuan (9.5 million euros).

Meanwhile, director Jiang Wen's hit western Let the Bullets Fly continued to close in on the all-time record for a Chinese production: its earnings of 35.5 million yuan (four million euros) take the film to a total of 642 million yuan (72 million euros) and within striking distance of Feng Xiaogang's all-time record-holder Aftershock, which took in 673 million yuan (76 million euros) in 2010.

However, much is now expected of the star-studded martial arts epic Shaolin, which started to roll out in cinemas across China on Wednesday. The film stars industry heavyweights Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse, Fan Bingbing and Jackie Chan.

There has also been much fanfare across China as the Green Hornet press tour takes to the country - in the same week that the film has topped the North American box office charts.

The Hollywood actioner is set for a China release on February 6 - right in the middle of the Chinese New Year holiday season, usually reserved for local productions - and its stars, Seth Rogen and Taiwanese heart-throb Jay Chou, have been busy drumming up business.

"We have huge expectations for this film," Li Chow of distributor Columbia told a press conference in Beijing on Monday.

In Asia's other major films markets, it was Oscar favourite The Social Network that dominated in Japan, taking in close to US$2 million (1.5 million euros) on its first week of release, while Let the Bullets Fly took almost US$600,000 (445,000 euros) in its first week of release in Hong Kong. No figure has been released for South Korea.

Watch the Shaolin trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbALkuuCSLU

MS

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