CHINA / National

'Da Vinci Code' opens with rich ticket sales
By Wang Shanshan/Liang Qiwen (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-05-20 10:06

"The Da Vinci Code" stormed box offices in major Chinese cities on the first day of its general release on Friday, despite the Chinese Catholic church's call for all believers to boycott the Hollywood movie.

By 5 pm, a 10-metre queue had built up outside the Cineplex in Beijing's up-scale Oriental Plaza, one of the dozens of cinemas showing the film in the city.

"Even the worst seats are selling like hotcakes," said the ticket-seller at the Cineplex, who identified himself only with the surname Zhang. "It is the most exciting time of the year."

The Cineplex is showing "The Da Vinci Code" on all six of its screens. It offers 14 shows a day nine of the subtitled version and five of the dubbed version.

In Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, more than half the seats in cinemas affiliated with China Movie Southern New Line were sold during the day on Friday, said Xie Weijia, general manager of CMSNL, one of the two companies to screen the movie in the city.

"That's really a high ratio in the daytime on a workday," Xie remarked.

He expected most cinemas to be filled to capacity this weekend, adding his company has reaped ticket revenue of more than 3 million yuan (US$370,000) on the first day.

Also on Friday, the Chinese Catholic church issued a notice to all its branches nationwide asking all followers to "firmly boycott" "The Da Vinci Code," accusing the movie of going against and distorting the tenets and history of the Catholic church, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

"The contents of both the movie and the novel 'The Da Vinci Code' are totally fictional," said the notice jointly issued by the China Patriotic Catholic Association and the Bishops' Conference of the Chinese Catholic Church.

All those who went to the movie and were interviewed by China Daily in Beijing said they are not religious.

In Guangzhou, Huang Chenxing, an office worker, said: "I did not quite understand the religious content of the film, as I have never read the book and I have little background knowledge of the religion."


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