Chinese BO listens to 'Overheard'

New local entries still can't dethrone 'Half-Blood Prince'

HONG KONG -- In a summer so far dominated by Hollywood imports, Hong Kong-China financial crime thriller "Overheard" and animation "McDull Wudong" joined forces in an attempt to overthrow "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" at the Chinese boxoffice.

Produced by the team behind the "Infernal Affairs" trilogy, writer-director Alan Mak and Felix Chong, "Overheard" opened strong last Friday in China and took in 35 million yuan ($5.1 million) during the first weekend.

It still has some way to go to overtake Warner Bros's "Half-Blood Prince," which earned 43 million yuan during its second weekend, but the Hong Kong thriller about police eavesdropping is now gearing up through good word of mouth.

The Poly Bona-distributed film took 8 million yuan on Tuesday, a typically slower day for business, matching the Chinese record held by previous films in the same genre before its first week is over.

"It has been a while since the last crime thriller released in China, 'Flash Point,' which took around 40 million yuan, so the 'Overheard' gross so far is encouraging", said Jeffrey Chan, CEO of Distribution Workshop.

The Hong Kong-China co-produced animation "McDull Wudang" also fared well across China, taking in a 33 million yuan gross over the weekend and breaking the opening weekend record made by the previous Chinese-produced animation, "Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf" in February.

Starring a naive pig long popular in Hong Kong on a martial arts quest a la "Kung Fu Panda," "McDull" was partly financed by the Hong Kong government subsidy Film Development Fund and is expected to become the first Chinese-made animation to break 100 million yuan.

"Overheard" is scheduled for a July 30 release in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and August in Taiwan. "McDull Wudang" is scheduled for August 13 in Hong Kong.