Avatar sets box office record in China,grossing 540 mln yuan

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Director James Cameron (L) and wife actress Suzy Amis arrive at the Fox after party after the 67th annual Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles, California January 17, 2010.

BEIJING, Jan. 20 -- Global hit "Avatar" had grossed about 540 million yuan (79.7 million U.S. dollars) in China since its premiere on Jan. 4 to become the most successful film in the country.

Tong Gang, director of film bureau of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) released the figure at a symposium on the Hollywood blockbuster Tuesday.

Weng Li, spokesman of the China Film Group Corporation, the film's distributor in China, was not immediately available for further information of the box office on Wednesday.

The film broke the box office record set by '2012.' The disaster film had raked in 460 million yuan in 2009 after it premiered in China on Nov. 13.

Responding to the recent reports that Chinese cinemas are pulling the 2D version of the blockbuster from screens across the country, Zhang Hongsen, deputy director of the film bureau, said the act was a natural result of the market response, because the box office returns of 2D version had been low.

Tong said the box office for the 2D version of the blockbuster only accounted for one third of the total revenue.

"The screening of 2D version of Avatar will end on Thursday," Li Xianping, general manager of Beijing Ziguang Cinema, told Xinhua Wednesday.

She said the tickets for 2D version simply did not sell in her cinema even on weekends but the two 3D theaters had been crowded with audience.

"I believe the 3D Avatar will continue its run till Spring Festival," She said. The festival, known as Chinese Lunar New Year, falls on Feb. 14 this year.