HONG KONG – Jiang Wen’s “Gone With The Bullets” topped the Chinese box office with a powerful $54.3 million opening.

That was enough to make the satirical comedy one of the biggest films anywhere in the world this week, but the scale of its victory was not as large as many industry watchers had anticipated.

Last minute anxieties about passing censorship and a smattering of mixed reviews may have held back the score for “Bullets,” which no longer seems a shoo-in to be the biggest Chinese-language film of the year.

But its performance was enough to ease aside Chinese romantic comedy “Fleet of Time,” which had held top spot for the past two weeks. “Fleet” slipped 56% to a score of $15.9 million over the seven days to Sunday. That gave “Fleet” a 17 day total of $88.9 million.

And it eclipsed “The Crossing, Part I” the first instalment of John Woo’s two-part epic which eeked out only $3.24 million in its third week, for a 20 day cumulative score of $29.8 million.

With Hollywood films not allowed to release in the crucial December period only U.S. title in the top ten was Brad Pitt vehicle “Fury,” which added $600,000 to edge its 31 day score to $19.2 million.

Korean period actioner, “Roaring Currents,” a blockbuster in its home market, added $1.5 million to score $3.98 million after 10 days.

Art house titles struggle in China’s mainstream, multiplex cinema landscape and Lou Ye’s prize-winning “Blind Massage” added $500,000 to hit $1.25 million after 24 days of release.