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Painted Skin puts China back on top

Painted Skin puts China back on top

By Stephen Cremin

Wed, 04 July 2012, 09:15 AM (HKT)

Box Office News

Wuershan 烏爾善's Painted Skin: The Resurrection 畫皮Ⅱ (2012) broke box office records in China this weekend where it had the biggest opening yet for a local film.

The 130-minute action-fantasy-romance, screening exclusively in 3-D, grossed RMB298 million ($47.3 million) on 6.65 million admissions over four days at an average ticket price of RMB45 ($7.13). Tickets in Beijing retailed for as much as RMB120 ($19.02), in line with prices for Hollywood 3-D films in China.

It is historically the third highest opening in China, following this year's 3-D revival of Titanic (1997) and last year's Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011). Titanic took RMB468 million ($74.2 million) in its first six days; Transformers, also shown in 3-D, took RMB401 million ($63.6 million) in its first four days in cinemas.

By comparison, Avatar (2009) took RMB287 million ($45.5 million at current exchange rates) in its first week on release. Strong demand and a shortage of 3-D screens at the time contributed to the science-fiction film's record 10-week run at the top of the box office, a feat that Resurrection will likely not match.

However, Resurrection will likely dominate local cinemas in the coming weeks and exceed $100 million. New films opening this month include Patrick LEUNG 梁柏堅's Wu Dang 大武當之天地密碼 (2012), CHEN Kaige 陳凱歌's Caught in the Web 搜索 (2012), and The Four 四大名捕 (2012), co-directed by Gordon CHAN 陳嘉上.

Although Hollywood films — including The Hunger Games (2012), Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012), Men In Black 3 (2012) and The Avengers (2012) — are still playing in Chinese cinemas, there are no US films scheduled to open in China until 25 June. That date marks the belated release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (2011).

It has been 24 weeks — almost six months — since another Chinese film topped the local box office charts, Derek YEE 爾冬陞's The Great Magician 大魔術師 (2012) in mid-January. The dominance of Hollywood films — in particular 3-D films — has been a major concern for the local industry this year.

Resurrection is co-produced and distributed by Huayi Brothers Media Corporation 華誼兄弟傳媒股份有限公司. After a lukewarm 2011, during which it focused on production, it has a strong lineup of titles in post-production including FENG Xiaogang 馮小剛's war drama Back to 1942 一九四二 (2012).

Huayi's previous box office successes include Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame 狄仁杰之通天帝國 (2010) (RMB109 million in five days), Aftershock 唐山大地震 (2010) (RMB180 million in four days) and If You Are the One II 非誠勿擾Ⅱ (2010) (RMB210 million in five days).

In 2008, Gordon Chan's Painted Skin 畫皮 (2008) made approximately RMB232 million on its theatrical run in China. Resurrection reunites most of the original cast but is officially not a sequel. The decision to convert the new film to 3-D was first announced during the Cannes Film Festival in May.

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