'Bullets' Guns Down Chinese Box Office

The film stars Chow Yun-fat and Ge You in an Eastern Western.

HONG KONG – Actor-director Jiang Wen’s Let the Bullets Fly topped the Chinese box office with a bombastic opening to become the first certified 2010 Christmas hit in China. 

The period dramedy, starring Jiang, Chow Yun-fat, Ge You (If You Are the One), and Carina Lau (Detective Dee), opened with 13,000 screenings on Thursday, 5000 more than all the other films combined at the same time in China.

The exhibitors’ vote of confidence anticipated audiences’ enthusiasm, and helped the film ruled the box office with a $4.2 million first day take. The film’s studio, Emperor Motion Pictures, expects the hit to cross the 100 million yuan ($15 million) threshold at the box office before the weekend is over.

Its opening midnight shows reportedly recorded 765,000 admissions, overtaking the record Avatar made with 763,600 earlier this year. The film rides the continuing expansion of China’s exhibition market, culminating with the 600 million yuan-grossing Aftershock last summer. Bullets will face competition from Aftershock director Feng Xiaogang’s upcoming sequel to his 2008 hit, If You Are the One 2, opening on December 22.

Let the Bullets Fly is scheduled for release in Hong Kong in January.