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China Box Office: Homegrown Fare Dominates as 'No Man's Land' Pulls in $23.72 Million

No Man's Land H
"No Man's Land"

Three of the week's top five movies are local, while "Gravity" and "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" continue to pull in crowds.

Domestic movies dominated the box office in China for the week of Dec. 2-8, with homegrown fare -- No Man's Land, The White Storm and The Four 2 -- accounting for three of the top five movies, while Gravity and Hunger Games: Catching Fire remained strongly in the mix.

China's box office total breached the $3 billion threshold late last month, hitting $3.17 billion by the end of November, and now looks on track to break the $3.5 billion barrier by the end of the year.

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No Man's Land took in $21.97 million in its first six days of release, with 4,329 million admissions on 151,577 screens. The average ticket price was $5.10, according to data from the research group Entgroup.

According to an update from co-producer DMG Entertainment to include the Monday, Dec. 9 take, No Man's Land took in $23.72 million in its first seven days.

The movie stars Xu Zheng, Huang Bo and Yu Nan and was produced by China Film Group with DMG Entertainment and Beijing Galloping Horse.

The movie was finished in April 2010, but held over until this October when China's Film Bureau agreed to release the film three and a half years after it was originally supposed to hit theaters. The film was delayed due to censorship concerns and negotiations over re-edits. 

Some censors are still making public comments critical of the movie, which is edgy by Chinese standards. The film tells of the adventures of a lawyer who drives to the deserts in the far west of China, where he meets a range of colorful characters, including strippers, smugglers and murderers.

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The film's nihilistic elements have renewed calls for China to institute a ratings system. Currently anyone can see whatever film is showing in the country, regardless of age. Filmmakers believe a film classification system linked to age -- the standard across most of the world -- might make censorship less prohibitive.

Benny Chan's action thriller The White Storm continued its strong performance, as well, taking in $14.75 million over the week to give it a cumulative total of $27.88 million in its first 10 days of opening, with 2.83 million admissions on nearly 130,000 screens.

Hong Kong director Gordon Chan's 3D martial arts movie The Four 2 had a strong opening, taking in $14.21 million in its first three days, with 2.34 million admissions on 74,757 screens.

The success of The Four 2 boosted shares of production group Beijing Enlight Media Co, which is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, Alfonso Cuarón's sci-fi epic Gravity took in another $8.02 million during the week to give a Chinese cume of $66.98 million, according to data from Entgroup -- higher than the $63.7 million tally reported by Warner Bros.

Gravity is still showing on 81,241 screens with 1.12 million admissions, and an average ticket price of $7.10.

Hunger Games: Catching Fire took in $2.65 million in the week for a total of $26.91 million in 18 days at the Chinese box office. The Jennifer Lawrence blockbuster is showing on 40,628 screens, with attendance  totaling 462,777 and an average ticket price of $5.70.

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Epic has brought in $6.05 million so far, while the Huayi Brothers-produced Control made $200,000 during the week, bringing its total to $7.02 million. Thor: The Dark World, which has now screened for 31 days in China, took in $320,000 to take its cumulative total to $55.34 million.

Escape Plan's cume has now reached $40.93 million after 35 days onscreen, having taken in another $170,000 during the week.

The quota of Hollywood movies has already been filled for the year, and the rest of the year looks set for a box office bonanza for domestic movies.

Feng Xiaogang, one of China's most bankable directors, returns to comedy with the highly-anticipated Personal Tailor on Dec. 19, while Hong Kong legend Jackie Chan will premiere the action blockbuster Police Story 2013 during the holiday season.

There had been censorship issues with Personal Tailor, but Huayi Brothers told The Hollywood Reporter that the movie has resolved the problem and the movie is set for its debut as scheduled.