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‘Fire’ charms China

'Harry' rakes in $8.21 mil

The boy wizard has cast his spell on Chinese auds. “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” has taken in $8.21 million at the box office in just 10 days and looks to be the biggest imported film in China this year.

“Without question, the box office will reach 80 million yuan ($10 million) and quite possibly 100 million yuan ($12 million),” said Weng Li of Chinese distributor China Film Group.

The “Harry Potter” series has proven immensely popular in China. The fourth installment was the first to open simultaneously with the U.S. bow on Nov. 18.

The movie scored a publicity coup when California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger attended the preem in Shanghai during his November visit to China.

A visit to Beijing by the ethnic Chinese, Scottish-born Katie Leung, who plays Cho in the pic, also helped woo mainland auds.

Despite rigid censorship and an ongoing lack of topnotch moviehouses, China’s bigscreen appetite is growing: B.O. looks set to jump 30% to $250 million this year.

The cinema traditionally has not been a mainstay of China’s social life, but the arrival of multiplexes in shopping malls, along with foreign investment in the chains, is driving a strong rise in the biz.

Since June, “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” have taken in $9.3 million and $7.64 million, respectively, in China.

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