Foreign films take most of Q1 China boxoffice

'Avatar' leads final charge at end of record run

BEIJING -- Imported films led by "Avatar" topped China's booming boxoffice from Jan. through Mar., grossing 1.8 billion yuan ($256 million), or 60% of the quarterly total, the Chinese government Web site said on Thursday.

The quarterly total was 2.9 billion yuan ($429 million) gross, with Chinese cinema chains Wanda Cinema Line, China Film Stellar Theater Chain and Shanghai United Circuit leading the pack, the news item said.

Following leading imports such as Fox's "Avatar" -- which grossed an all-time record of $194 million in China -- domestic Chinese films and Hong Kong co-productions made up the next largest slice of the domestic boxoffice pie.

The No. 2 and 3 hits after "Avatar" were Bona Entertainment's "Little Big Soldier," starring Jackie Chan, and the Shanghai Film Group's "14 Blades," starring Donnie Yen.

China's boxoffice rose 43% in 2009 to hit 6.2 billion yuan ($909 million).  Chinese law dictates that films imported on a boxoffice gross revenue-sharing basis are limited to 20 per year.