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Chinese box office more than doubles

Nov. 20 - Feb. 20 brings in $440 million

The Year of the Tiger got off to a roaring start for Chinese cinemas, with B.O. more than doubling during the three-month period between Nov. 20 and Feb. 20 to three billion yuan ($440 million).

This is a major quarter in Chinese cinema as it includes some of the major festivals and holidays such as Christmas, which is proving increasingly important in China, New Year, Chinese Spring Festival and Valentine’s Day.

The big boost to earnings during the period came from two Hollywood films — “2012,” which has taken $67.5 million, and “Avatar,” which has taken $180 million so far.

China Film Group said that there were 30 new films screened during the period, and said that January’s B.O. in China was a boffo $170 million, a new record.

Other highlights include Teddy Chan’s “Bodyguards and Assassins,” which took $11 million on its opening weekend. Jackie Chan’s road movie “Little Big Soldier” scored $12.3 million during the Spring Festival holiday, while “Hot Summer Days” has earned $12 billion in B.O.

The state film group also said that “Avatar” had proven a major boon for 3D screens. In September 2007, China had 82 3D screens, rising to 110 by the end of 2008 and to more than 600 by the end of 2009. China Film Group data shows that there are currently over 970 3D screens, which amounts to two thirds of all 3D screens in Asia.

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