Despite opening during the Beijing Olympics, Chinese comedy Almost Perfect has grossed $6.72m (RMB46m), making itthe best-selling local comedy of recent years.

The film's distributor Polybona and production company Happy Star Culture and Media Corp yesterday celebrated its unexpected box office success.

Previously, the biggest local comedies of the past two yearsincluded Crossed Lines, which grossed $4.8m (RMB33m) in late 2007, and Ning Hao's 2006 Crazy Stone, with $3.36m (RMB23m).

Almost Perfect is the feature debut ofWang Yuelun, who had been making music videos and commercials before making feature films. Starring Huang Yi (Plastic City) and made with a budget less than $1.46m (RMB10m), the film is set in the Ming Dynasty, and tells the story of a prince seeking a wood-sculpture classic book.

Happy Star founder and former TV celebrity Li Xiang announced at yesterday's celebration party that Wang is signing a three-film deal with the production company.

Released on August 1, one week before the Beijing Olympic Games, the film played on 200 prints and 200 digital screens. The box office gross took off in the second week, when the film took $3.7m (RMB25m), which was a surprise for distributors and exhibitors, including distribution company Polybona.

Cinema owners analysed that timing is a main factor that boosted the film's box office performance. As blockbuster Red Cliff was slowing down in sales, and the rest of the holdovers were all Olympic-related films, Almost Perfect became the only local attraction for young moviegoers.

Besides, as The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor, which was originally scheduled to open at the same time as Almost Perfect, delayed its China release date to September, the film was released with no competitors in the cinemas.

Cinema owners also estimated that movie-going dropped between 20% to 30% during the Beijing Olympic Games. And as the games ended on Aug 24, business is expected to bounce back with the releases of The Hulk (released on Aug 20), The Mummy 3 (September 3) and Painted Skin (scheduled for Sept 26).