CHINA: 'The Da Vinci Code' craze catches China

Film distributor says controversial plot about Christianity increased film's success

Times of India
Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Beijing --- The Da Vinci Code, a controversial Hollywood blockbuster has won Chinese audience over in its opening weekend with box office collections set to top $5 million since its launch last week.

Insiders said that box office revenue might have hit nearly $5 million on the Chinese mainland since its release Wednesday.

A spokesman with the Huaxia Film Distribution Co., Ltd, the film's distributor in the northeastern, eastern and southwestern regions, said the box office revenue has reached $2.4 million in these regions.

The rest of the revenue has gone to the northwestern, northern, central and southern regions, but the revenue information has been unavailable from the China Film Group Corporation, the film's distributor in the regions, Xinhua news agency reported.

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 7.5 million USD on the Chinese mainland.

The report 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.

US 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.