Tom Cruise seems to have outdone himself at the Chinese box office over the past week, with his latest film Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol taking over at the top of the box office charts.
American studio Paramount has announced the film collected an estimated 157 million yuan (19 million euros) on its first weekend of release, outstripping by five times the opening efforts of the last film in the franchise, 2006's Mission: Impossible III.
China has just come out of the Lunar New Year holiday period -- traditionally a boom time for cinemas -- and the latest MI film has been going head-to-head with Robert Downey, Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which has now picked up and estimated 145 million yuan (17.4 million euros) since its release on January 15.
It's yet another indication of the current power of the Chinese box office, reaffirmed this week by the Shanghai-based industry watcher Artisan Gateway, which has confirmed reports that around 13 billion yuan (1.6 billion euros) in tickets were sold across the nation in 2011, a rise of 29 percent year on year.
The company reported Transformers 3: The Dark Side of the Moon came out on top for the year with just over one billion yuan (130 million euros), followed by Kung Fu Panda 2 (617 million yuan or 74 million euros) and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (479 million yuan or 57 million euros). Zhang Yimou's The Flowers of War was the best of the locals in 2011, with an estimated 466 million yuan (56 million euros) -- and it's still in cinemas, although no updated figure on its total has been confirmed.
In Japan, the nostalgic drama Always: Sunset on Third Street 3 has continued to hold sway into its second week of release, a further US$5.3 million (four million euros) in takings helping the film to a total now of US$18.6 million (14 million euros), according to Box Office Mojo.
And in South Korea, the courtroom drama Unbowed ended the week on top with just over 717,000 admissions for a two-week total of 1.8 million.