A still photo of "The Flowers of War." [Photo: douban.com]
'The Flowers of War', Zhang Yimou's epic Nanjing-set drama, has joined the elite club of Chinese films that have grossed more than half a billion RMB.
By 1 Jan it had scored RMB489 million ($77.5 million) according to official numbers; producers claim that it has now hit the RMB523 million ($83 million) mark, three weeks after its 15 Dec 2011 release.
The total makes it the sixth highest grossing film of all time in China and the third highest grossing Chinese film, behind only 'Let the Bullets Fly' (2010) and 'Aftershock' (2010).
The total also ranks Flowers as the third highest film of 2011 at the Chinese box office, behind Transformers: Dark of the Moon ($146 million) and Kung Fu Panda 2 ($92.2 million), and the top Chinese-language title.
Its Christmas box office rival 'Flying Swords of Dragon Gate' has also performed strongly, with a 1 Jan gross of RMB434 million ($68.7 million). Both the current releases are ahead of the previous top-scoring Chinese film of 2011 'Beginning of the Great Revival', which claimed RMB412 million ($65.3 million) in mid-year.
Flowers is China's official entry for the foreign-language Oscar and is currently scheduled for a 9 Mar 2012 release in North America through Wrekin Hill Entertainment.