'Avatar' passes $100 mil in China

Provincial area renames mountain after film landscape

BEIJING -- Despite disappearing from most 2D screens, "Avatar" continued its record run in China, becoming the first film ever in that country to earn more than US$100 million.

A Fox representative confirmed by e-mail that as of January 24, the film's take stood at $103 million. The previous boxoffice king, "2012," took in $68 million during its run. With "Avatar" poised to stay in theaters at least up to the Chinese New Year holiday February 14, it could at least double that mark, with lines still long and 3D ticket prices averaging 100 yuan (US$14.60) each.

In another mark of the film's popularity in China, the Zhangjiajie scenic area of western Hunan province renamed one well-known mountain "Avatar Hallelujah Peak," replacing its earlier traditional name, "Heaven and Earth Pillar." The local government said it believes the peak may have inspired the floating mountains that are one of the film's hallmark landscapes.
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