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Super hit 'Peacock' bucks art film trend
Updated: 2005-03-31 09:18

Chinese mainland director Gu Changwei's directorial debut "Kong Que" (Peacock) has proved that so-called art films can also be a big draw at the box office.

A scene for Gu Changwei's directorial debut "Kong Que" (Peacock)

The film, which picked up a Silver Bear at this year's Berlin International Film Festival, took in around 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million) in roughly one month during its national screening, a record for Chinese art films.

Locally, ticket sales for "Peacock" exceeded 700,000 yuan during the same period after the film premiered on February 18.

"Peacock" has changed a stereotype that art films are usually box office poison, said Wu Hehu, marketing director of Shanghai United Cinema Lines, the city's leading cinema chain.

"It has even outperformed some commercial films screened on Valentine's Day."

The movie's international success, according to Wu, is a big impetus for its domestic ticket sales.

Soon after its success at the Berlin festival, the distributor printed 20 more copies to satisfy increasing demand from cinema chains across China.

"Makers of art films used to be low-key and had little sense of marketing," Wu added. "But the crew of 'Peacock' has been different. Their active role in promoting the movie around China gave it a strong momentum at the box office."

Xu hao, a movie buff, was upbeat about the future of Chinese art films.

"Actually we are surrounded by too many Hollywood blockbusters and commercial movies," he said. "We're hoping for a diversified film market, where art films will also play an important role."

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