'Hulk' no match for Yao Ming and co.

Film feels Olympic heat on its first day in China

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SHANGHAI -- Universal Pictures' "The Incredible Hulk" began screening here Wednesday, but the day's basketball quarterfinals between China and Lithuania may have taken a bite out of its boxoffice.

Although first-day figures have yet to be released, attendance was down significantly from other foreign films screened earlier in the year, according to cinemas in Beijing and Shanghai.

"The seating rate of the two halls screening 'The Incredible Hulk' was about 30% lower than it was for other overseas films we have screened this year," a Beijing Changhong Cinema spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter.

The Beijing Olympics are the main reason for the audience staying home, the spokesperson added.

Beijing UME Cinema declined to reveal its seating rate but said it was "not very good."

Compared with cinemas in Beijing, the seating rate in two cinemas in Shanghai -- UME Shanghai and Shanghai Film Art Center -- was a little better, at about 50%. However, both cinemas also said that the rate was lower than it was for other overseas films in the past year.

Tickets for "Hulk" are selling for about 30 yuan-60 yuan ($4.40-$8.80) in Beijing, and 40 yuan-80 yuan ($5.90-$11.70) in Shanghai.

Prior to the screening, Hong Kong-based EDKO Film, one of the film's distributors, had said that the Olympics would affect boxoffice collections mostly in Beijing, followed closely by Shanghai.

"The audience will return to cinemas after the Olympics," said Audrey Lee, who is in charge of EDKO marketing, promotion and boxoffice.
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