Confession of Pain", widely regarded as a potential box office rival to Zhang Yimou’s latest blockbuster, "Curse of the Golden Flower", looks set to lose the year-end race.
"Confession", released on Dec. 17, collected 24 million yuan (3.08 million U.S. dollars) from Friday to Sunday, while "Curse", which debuted on Dec. 14, reaped another 50 million yuan (6.4 million U.S. dollars) in the same period, topping 2006 China’s domestic movie box office with a record 193 million yuan (24.73 million U.S. dollars).
The number of Beijing cinemas screening "Curse" was triple that of the cinemas showing "Confession" last weekend and the digital screening rooms of big cinemas were all reserved to play "Curse" only.
Wu Hehu, manager of Shanghai United Cinema Line Co. Ltd., said the cinema added screenings of "Confession" as 95 percent of seats were sold in previous screenings.
Confession of Pain, starring 2000 Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, and Xu Jinglei, is the story of a policeman’s intricate revenge for murder.
"Curse", which stars Gong Li, Chow Yun-Fat and Taiwan pop star Jay Chow, tells the story of an imperial family’s slow decline and features vast battle scenes between the sons of the reigning emperor and empress.
Director Jia Zhangke’s "Still Life", which earlier this year won the Venice Film Festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion, was also released in China this month.
The film, described by Jia as an "artistic project", has made only 1.5 million yuan (187,500 U.S. dollars) at the box office, but the director considers the coincidental timing of the release date with "Curse" to offer an alternative for Chinese audiences.