007 pic remains on top of the box office

HONG KONG — “Quantum of Solace” remained on top of the box office in Asia by virtue of its wide release, ahead of “Red Cliff,” currently showing only in Japan.

Sony Pictures Releasing Intl.’s James Bond pic collected $5.56 million in its fourth frame for some territories and was showing mid-chart fatigue in most. Pic was on top in only Taiwan and Indonesia.

First part of the John Woo-helmed “Cliff” was released in much of Asia in July, but in Japan preemed at the beginning of November after it opened the Tokyo Film Festival. Rights owners Avex and distribber Toho-Towa have managed to keep it on top of the chart for fifth successive week and added $2.33 million this weekend from 548 outings for a cume of $39.3 million. Local distribbers now forecast that it will hit $50 million.

Toho’s “I Want to be a Shellfish” held second place in the Nippon chart, dropping only 24% to $2.05 million from 330 locations for a 10-day cume of $9.19 million.

Universal’s “Death Race” opened in Japan only in fifth place with $743,000 from 225 locations, while “Saw V” opened sixth with $684,000 from a tighter 123 screens.

Elsewhere in Asia, performance at the Korean B.O. delivered the region’s highest numbers. First weekend perf of local romantic drama “Hello Schoolgirl” and third frame for “Portrait of a Beauty” were so close that different data sources reverse their standings.

According to Rentrak, “Portrait” emerged on top for the third week adding $1.39 million from 475 locations and extended its cume to $8.23 million. Rentrak positioned “Schoolgirl” as scoring $1.37 million from 459 locations and a cume of $1.66 million including previews. Distributor CJ Entertainment handled both releases.

Korean charts also included three other local pics “Antique,” “Overspeed Scandal” and “My Wife Got Married” at No.5, 6 and 9 respectively, giving Korean-made efforts five out of the top 10.

Data offered some solace to “Quantum,” which added $679,000 in fourth place and a cume of $9.35 million, and a strong perf for Julianne Moore starrer “Blindness.” Helped by the popularity in Korea of the original novel, pic only slipped to third for Sidus FNH, grossing $710,000 for a local cume of $2.32 million.

Other international titles also did well with SK Telecom’s Hong Kong thriller “Connected” taking its cume to $726,000 from 252 screens and Swedish vampire pic “Let the Right One In” adding $46,000 for a three-week cume of $281,000 from a tight 42-screen release.

Chinese-language films — Mandarin and Cantonese — scored an unusual victory at the Hong Kong box office over a quiet four-day weekend.

Lark Film Distribution’s police procedural thriller “Beast Stalker,” a Cantonese-language Hong Kong-China co-production between Emperor Entertainment Group and Sil-Metropole, took $377,000 from a wide 35-print release in its first week to take top spot.

Three other Chinese-language films preemed this week; Cantonese-romantic comedy “Nobody’s Perfect” in third spot, the conspiracy thriller “Ballistic” seventh with coming-of-ager “Miao Miao,” a Taiwanese-Hong Kong co-production presented in Mandarin, in 10th place.

“Perfect” scored $167,000 from a 34-print release, while “Ballistic” took $35,000 from 28 prints and “Miao Miao” $20,300 from 10 prints.

Gross for Taiwanese hit “Cape No.7″ dropped only 13% to $227,000 in second weekend and pic slipped to second place. Distributors, Lighten and Group Power added seven screens, helping film to an 11-day Hong Kong cume of $590,000.

In Taiwan itself, “Cape” held 10th place in its 15th week. Rentrak data, which does not cover the whole territory, puts local cume at $7.05 million. Producer‘s own numbers place it closer to $8 million.

Behind “Quantum,” territory saw six new releases score top ten rankings. These included Sony’s “Quarantine” with $62,000, Fox Intl.’s “Big Stan” with $61,000 in second and third spots, and Good Films Workshop’s local drama “Parking” taking $12,300.

Running on a different time-scale, Singapore chart was headed by a third-week win for “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa,” with $266,000 for a local cume of $2.55 million. Warner Intl.’s “Body of Lies,” in its second week, took second place with $170,000 and a cume of $556,000, and its “Four Christmases” opened third with $164,000 from 26 venues. Taiwan’s “Cape” opened in eighth place scoring $72,000 for Universal Intl. from 12 locations, and delivering a cume of $108,000 including last week’s previews.

“Twilight” opened on top in Malaysia, biting in to $294,000 from 53 sites, and in Thailand bowed stronger with $733,000 from 119 locations for Mongkol Major.

With reliable Chinese data unavailable, local producers reported Zhang Jianya’s comedy romancer “Fit Lover” as delivering Yuan 25 million ($3.65 million) in its first week of release date (Nov. 26 to Nov. 30,) while Ma Liwen’s “Desire of Heart” has notched a cume of $.38 million.

In India, UTV Motion Pictures reported that its buddy movie satire “Oye Lucky Lucky Oye” scored Rs46.1 million ($915,000) in its opening frame. Company said that Mumbai terror attacks significantly damped Friday take, but that revenue enjoyed a big bounce over Saturday and Sunday.

(Han Sunhee in Seoul, Marcus Lim in Hong Kong and Mark Schilling in Tokyo contributed to this report.)

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