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"The Da Vinci Code" craze catches Chinese audience
Latest Updated by 2006-05-23 09:52:20
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"The Da Vinci Code" craze catches Chinese audience

"The Da Vinci Code," a Hollywood blockbuster adapted from Dan Brown's same-name best-seller, won Chinese audience over its opening weekend.

Insiders said that box office revenue might have hit nearly 40 million yuan (5 million U.S. dollars) on the Chinese mainland since its release on Wednesday.

A spokesman surnamed Zhang with the Huaxia Film Distribution Co., Ltd, the film's distributor in the northeastern, eastern and southwestern regions, told Xinhua Monday the box office revenue has reached 19 million yuan (2.4 million U.S. dollars) in these regions.

The rest revenue has gone to the northwestern, northern, central and southern regions, but the revenue information has been unavailable from the China Film Group Corporation (CFGC), the film's distributor in the regions.

Zhang, however, estimated that the entire mainland box office over the opening weekend could double the figure of Huaxia.

At the film's China premiere Wednesday evening, four-and-a-half hours before the film's show at the Cannes Film Festival, Xu Bing, a spokesman with the CFGC, predicted The Da Vinci Code is likely to reap over 60 million yuan (7.5 million U.S. dollars) on the mainland.

Zhang attributed the film's success in China to its all-star cast featuring Oscar-winning Tom Hanks and France's Audrey Tautou, famous shooting backdrops like the Louvre Museum and its controversial plots about Christianity.

The U.S. director Ron Howard's 125-million-dollar film is based on the premise that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child by her, which the Roman Catholic Church stopped at nothing to try to cover up.

"Besides, Chinese audience have special preference over treasure-seeking or riddle-cracking plots. National Treasure, for instance, also had a very good turnover last year," Zhang told Xinhua.

The weekend buzz has seen many Beijing theaters full and some theaters have started to add more shows on their schedules, according to local media.

Despite worldwide protests from Christian groups, the most eagerly awaited movie of the year still recorded a 224-million-dollar worldwide opening, the second-biggest debut ever at the global box office, according to Columbia Pictures.

In the United States and Canada alone, the film sold about 77 million U.S. dollars worth of tickets at movie theaters in the first three days.

To cash in on the craze, Beijing Caissa International Travel Service Co., Ltd. announced plans to offer people who want to crack the cryptex themselves a six-day tour to France in July or August, where tourists can see "The Mona Lisa" and "Madonna of the Rocks" in the Louvre museum at cost of 12,600 yuan (1,575 U.S. dollars).

Spend 6,000 yuan (750 U.S. dollars) more and tourists can extend the tour for two days in London, fulfilling Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu's route to find the Holy Grail, the Beijing Daily Messenger reported on Monday.

If they pay 26,000 yuan (3,250 U.S. dollars), they will be able to stay for another two days in Italy and find out whether the person sits right to Jesus is Mary Magdalene in the Last Supper, the newspaper said.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China View website
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