'Inception' gets September China release

Nolan film to compete with Zhang Yimou, John Woo

BEIJING -- Christopher Nolan's "Inception" will be released in China, just in time for a week-long national holiday -- but so will top Chinese directors Zhang Yimou, Tsui Hark and John Woo, Chinese media reported Monday.

"Inception" bows in China September 21, and given its two main assets -- dazzling effects and Leonardo DiCaprio -- should do well at the local boxoffice. However, "Hero" and Beijing Olympics opening ceremony director Zhang Yimou's new film "The Love of the Hawthorn Tree" comes out Sept. 16.

"Infernal Affairs" director Andrew Lau's "Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen" opens the same day as "Inception." John Woo's "Reign of Assassins" joins the fray on Sept. 28, with Tsui Hark's "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame" coming in two days before the Oct. 1 holiday on Sept. 29.

DiCaprio was China's leading leading man for 12 years as the star of James Cameron's "Titanic," which was the country's all-time boxoffice hit until late 2009. Although Nolan's "The Dark Knight" topped boxoffice takes all over the world, the film did not receive an official release in China. However, the effects in Cameron's "Avatar" took in more than any other film in Chinese history, taking in about $200 million and establishing the viability of 3D movies here.

China's boxoffice grossed $909 million in the first six months of 2010, and could reach $1.5 billion by the end of the year.