While Greater China gears up for the Lunar New Year box office season, the big film news in Asia this week has been the fact that there is only one Asian production left in the running for this year's foreign language Oscar.
China itself had high hopes for the Zhang Yimou-directed box office smash The Flowers Of War -- which stars Oscar winner Christian Bale -- but it has failed to make the cut as 63 foreign films were cut down to a final list of nine overnight. They will now again be cut down for the final list of five nominees, which will be announced on January 24.
Left in the running for Asia is the Taiwanese epic Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, which had originally been released in two parts in its homeland but had a combined version screened as well in order to qualify for the Oscars.
Altogether the various versions picked up around NT $660 million (17 million euros) at the domestic box office, according to Film Business Asia. The film charts the story of a tribe of indigenous Taiwanese who fought against the Japanese invasion of the island in the 1930s.
No box office figures were available from China this week as a string of domestic comedies and international blockbusters such as Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol line up for the riches offered over the Chinese New Year (which begins January 23). It is traditionally a huge season for filmmakers as people make use of the three-day holiday to go to the movies.
Figures were available for other countries in the region, however, with Japan still led by the latest installment of the Mission: Impossible franchise, which picked up just over US$2.6 million (two million euros) in the past week for a five-week total now of US$57.8 million (45 million euros) according to Box Office Mojo.
The big hit in South Korea over the past week, meanwhile, has been DreamWorks' Puss In Boots, which Han Cinema reports collected just over 705,000 admissions.
The films remaining in contention for the best foreign film Oscar: Bullhead (director: Michael R. Roskam; Belgium), Monsieur Lazhar (director: Philippe Falardeau; Canada), Superclásico (director: Ole Christian Madsen; Denmark), Pina (director: Wim Wenders; Germany), A Separation (director: Asghar Farhadi; Iran); Footnote (director Joseph Cedar; Israel), Omar Killed Me (director: Roschdy Zem; Morocco), In Darkness (director: Agnieszka Holland; Poland), Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (director: Wei Te-sheng; Taiwan).