BEIJING — Science-fiction blockbuster “Avatar” grossed more than 33 million yuan (4.8 million dollars) on its opening day in China this week, setting a new record, state media reported Wednesday.

James Cameron’s ground-breaking 3-D epic surpassed Zhang Yimou’s “A Simple Noodle Story”, a remake of the Coen brothers’ “Blood Simple”, which earned 21 million yuan when it opened on December 10, Xinhua news agency said.
“Avatar”, which has already grossed one billion dollars worldwide, opened on Monday in China to enthusiastic crowds of filmgoers.

The movie tells the story of paralyzed war veteran Jake, who is sent on a mission from Earth to the planet Pandora, where he falls in love with a blue humanoid named Neytiri of the alien Na’vi race.

“The tickets for today were sold out before 10:00 am,” Song Lichen, the communications director for the China National Film Museum, where “Avatar” is being shown on the country’s largest IMAX screen, told Xinhua.

The agency quoted a spokesman for distributor China Film Group Corporation, Weng Li, as saying “Avatar” was likely to surpass disaster flick “2012” as the highest-grossing film of all time in China.
China currently allows 20 foreign films to be shown in local movie theatres every year on a revenue-sharing basis, according to Chinafilm.com, a government-linked website.

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