BEIJING — Zhang Yimou’s $45 million Oscar contender “Curse of the Golden Flower” followed up its record-breaking opening weekend B.O. of $12.5 million with a 50 million yuan ($6.4 million) take in the second weekend.
The second weekend collection elevates it to China’s biggest pic of 2006, with a record $24.73 millionB.O. so far, according to local media.
China’s foreign-language Oscar hopeful took in nearly $2 million on 826 prints within five hours of its bow earlier in December, and its boffo weekend take beats the $9.6 million Chen Kaige’s “The Promise” made in its preem weekend in 2005.
“Curse,” which stars Gong Li, Chow Yun-fat and Taiwan pop sensation Jay Chow in a tale of an imperial family’s vicious decline, is on track to be China’s most popular film ever, a title still held by James Cameron’s “Titanic,” which set a B.O. record of $44 million in 1998.
The pic has hit the B.O. of other big releases, including the Tony Leung starrer “Confession of Pain,” which also features Takeshi Kaneshiro, and Xu Jinglei. “Confession” bowed on Dec. 17 and collected $3 million in the first weekend.
“Curse” is dominating the movie theaters, with all digital screens in the big cinemas given over to the Zhang pic — there were three times as many Beijing cinemas showing “Curse” Dec. 23 weekend as were showing “Confession.”
The dominance of the Zhang pic has angered many in the industry. Distributors of “Confession,” Beijing Polybona Film Distribution are said to be furious at “Curse” occupying the digital cinema chains.
Helmer Jia Zhangke’s “Still Life,” which won at Venice, was also released in December, but its take was small as expected, yielding B.O. of $187,500. It was also denied a digital release by the success of “Curse.”