Opening ceremony dents H.K. boxoffice

Weekend rebounds after Friday night slump

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HONG KONG -- The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on Friday kept moviegoers glued to the small screen, if local boxoffice results are any indicator.

According to data from the Hong Kong and Kowloon Motion Pictures Industry Assn., last week's boxoffice champ, "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," took in HK$1.15 million ($148,000) on Friday, marking a more than two-thirds drop from HK$3.5 million earned the Friday before.

Cantonese-language new release "La Lingerie," directed by Chan Hing-Ka and Janet Chun, topped the Friday boxoffice top 10 with HK$1.26 million, also only a third the gross of the previous week's winner. The 10 top boxoffice earners on Friday also dropped about HK$1 million to HK$4.31 million compared with Aug. 1's HK$5.39 million.

"The opening ceremony certainly had an impact on the Friday boxoffice intake," said a spokesperson for "Mummy" distributor Edko Films. "A drop in admission is expected for the second week, but usually not to this extent. Since the Friday takings rely mostly on the night showings, the Olympics opening ceremony ... (drew) cinemagoers away."

The impact of the opening ceremony on grosses was particularly evident given that the numbers perked back up Saturday and Sunday. Warner Bros.' "Get Smart," which earned just HK$818,000 on Friday, came in second overall for the weekend with HK$3.35 million.