'Republic' opens third in Hong Kong

'District 9,' '3D Garfield's Pet Force' outpace Chinese hit

HONG KONG -- Star-studded Chinese hit "Founding of a Republic" opened in Hong Kong on Chinese National Day, but despite the timely release, the cinematic reinterpretation of the establishment of communist regime in China fell short of topping the boxoffice charts on its first day by a small margin.

Distributed by Media Asia in Hong Kong, the film took HK$1.07 million ($138,000) on its opening day on 37 screens and came in third. It was a close finish between the top three openings this week, separated by just HK$30,000 ($3,800) – the Thursday boxoffice crown went to the Peter Jackson-produced sc ifi mockumentary "District 9," released by Edko Films in Hong Kong, which raked in HK$1.1 million on 34 screens; while the second place went to the Panasia distributed "3D Garfield's Pet Force," a buffed-up and dubbed version of the U.S. direct-to-video animated feature, which took HK$1.08 million on 28 screens.

The higher admission prices of the film's 3D showings by 30% helped the cat cartoon's opening boxoffice total, while the festive discount offered as a part of the Chinese National Day celebration did the opposite for that of "Founding," which has grossed over 270 million yuan ($39.5 million) in China since its Sept. 16 opening and is expected to break 400 million yuan.

The Hong Kong distributor of "Founding" has offered the reduced price of HK$50, a 16-40% discount, for local group bookings of more than 50 tickets; grosses of the discounted group booking will tally at HK$800,000 from Oct 1-4, according to Media Asia.

Also opening on Thursday was musical "Fame," distributed by Golden Scene, which grossed HK$392,000 on 25 screens on its first day. Edko's other new release, director Ang Lee's "Taking Woodstock," which has a Category III rating and restricted to audience over the age of 18, took HK$63,000 on 6 screens.