Zhang's epic nabs just under $1.45 mil in bow

Chinese-language epic “Hero” shattered all-time box office records in its native land Friday, taking in a domestic gross of more than 12 million Chinese renminbi, or just under $1.45 million, on its first day of release.

The Zhang Yimou-directed pic, known locally as “Ying Xiong,” opened in 200 theaters nationwide and broke attendance records at every one, according to distrib Miramax Films.

In its 26 Beijing runs alone, “Hero” grossed more than $230,000 despite inclement weather. Theaters sold out all shows and even added more showtimes as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 2a.m. to meet the demand.

Pic, set amid the upheaval during the unification of China at the start of the Quin dynasty in 200 B.C., stars action-pic mainstay Jet Li, as well as fellow Chinese thesps Jiang Wen, Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu Wai.

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