‘Initial D’ revs up B.O. around Asia

Pic clocked up HK$3.12 million in its first lap

LONDON — Asian street-racing actioner “Initial D” roared off the line in five territories over the weekend, landing in pole position in three, for a weekend cume of $6.71 million.

The Japanese manga adaptation, directed by Hong Kong helmers Andrew Mak and Alan Lau, beat the duo’s “Infernal Affairs” opening-day record in Hong Kong.

Handled by Media Asia on the island, it clocked up HK$3.12 million ($401,000) in its first lap and a weekend total of $1.93 million off 99 screens. It was the highest first-weekend gross of the year.

In China, where Poly Bona took it for a spin on 450 screens, it also was the top opener, pulling in ¥24 million ($2.9 million). Opening-day take was $847,000, the highest first-day total this year.

Delivering Malaysia’s best opening of 2005, pic pulled in 1.4 million Malaysian ringgits ($368,000) for distrib AOE.

Pic was the No. 1 opener among Chinese films in Singapore and Taiwan, where local titles usually finish a long way behind Hollywood heavyweights.

With local singing star Jay Chou in his first starring role, Taiwanese distrib Long Shan opened pic on 66 screens and earned 25 million Taiwanese new dollars ($797,000). Shaw Bros. grossed S$1.2 million ($716,000) at 38 Singapore venues.

“Initial D” will receive a staggered start in other Asian territories, with Thailand set for an early August bow and the Japanese debut falling in mid-September.

Hong Kong producer Media Asia is expecting the biggest numbers from Japan, where theatrical release is handled by Gaga and home entertainment will be through Avex.

The pic is set in Japan, and such was the interest from hysterical fans that locations had to be kept secret.

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