The timing could not have been more perfect. Just when the naysayers were casting doubts over the ability of Chinese-made productions to lure the local into cinemas, along comes Painted Skin: The Resurrection to put things right.
The mythical action-romance has pulled in an estimated 298 million yuan (37.5 million euros) on debut -- the biggest ever opening for a Chinese movie, and third only to Titanic's 468 million yuan (59 million euros) in 1997 and last year's Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which collected 401 million yuan (50.4 million euros).
But, as Film Business Asia rightly points out, the film has been given a nice little boost by the fact that it is being shown exclusively in 3D and that cinema owners are charging up to 120 yuan (15 euros) per ticket, much higher than the average price in China for a film of around 40 yuan (five euros).
Still, it's an impressive effort from the film, directed by the Mongolian up-and-comer Wuershan and starring Zhou Xun and Vicki Zhao Wei, and it brings to an end the run of Hollywood films at the top of the Chinese box office charts, which had stretched back 24 weeks.
Rest of Asia caught up in Spider-Man's web
The weight of Hollywood's influence in Asia was not to be denied over the past week in Japan, meanwhile, with The Amazing Spider-Man opening on a record 1,092 screens -- enough, of course, to make sure it left its rivals in its wake.
Compare that to the 304 screens that took the biggest hit in Japan so far this year -- the local comedy Thermae Romae -- and you can see what the web-crawler's foes were up against.
The Marc Webb-directed Spider-Man franchise reboot picked up US$11.3 million (nine million euros) on debut to lead the charts in Japan, according to Tokyo Hive.
South Korea painted pretty much the same picture. Spidey picked up an estimated 1.7 million admissions on debut, with the closest challenge to that coming from The Emperor's Concubine with just over 122,000, according to Han Cinema.
See the trailer ...
Painted Skin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcDbDcbM8cs