China National Day box office hits $42 mil
Week-long holiday a winner for "Detective Dee"BUSAN, South Korea -- China’s movie ticket sales during the recent National Day holiday rose 12% over the same week-long period last year to reach 280 million yuan ($42 million), led by audiences flocking to see director Tsui Hark’s "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame."
“Dee,” from distributors Huayi Brothers, stars Hong Kong actors Andy Lau and Carina Lau and Chinese actress Li Bingbing. The film has grossed 180 million yuan ($27 million) since its bow on Sept. 29, just before the Oct. 1-7 holiday.
Also strong during the period was "Reign of Assassins," from directors Su Chao-pin and John Woo, which sold tickets worth 30 million yuan ($4.5 million), according to a report from the Xinhua News Agency, citing Liu Hui, deputy general manager of Beijing-based UME Huaxing Cinema, one of the nation’s largest theatrical circuits.
Ticket sales of 50 million yuan ($7.5 million) over the holiday pushed "Inception" up to a China gross of 400 million, making it only the fourth import ever to pass the $60 million mark.
Box office takes of this size have become possible in China only in the last 18 months as the nation’s growing middle class develops a movie-going habit at the hundreds of new multiplexes going up around the country.
Three other Hollywood blockbusters also grossed $60 million in China since early 2009, "2012," "Transformers II," "Avatar."
As with these films, it was the state-run China Film Group, the nation’s de facto monopoly importer, that distributed “Inception.”
In March 2011, China is supposed to allow greater overseas participation in the distribution of copyrighted cultural content, including movies, to be in compliance with a Dec. 2009 anti-protectionist ruling at the World Trade Organization.