Chinese director ZhangYimou's martial arts epic House Of FlyingDaggers has become the biggestever opener in China.

Released on 360 printsacross China, the hugely anticipated period film was the number one earner overthe weekend (July 16-18), collecting $6.7m (RMB55m).

The opening figure passedthe previous record held by Zhang's Hero,which earned $6.2m (RM52m) on 300 prints in its first three days when it wasreleased during Christmas 2002.

Distributor Beijing NewPicture Film has put in place stringent anti-piracy measures to ensure the newfilm isn't pirated, said the company's deputy manager Qin Lixin.

A successful anti-piracycampaign was carried out for Herowhich partly contributed to its healthy total box office revenue of $29m.

House of Flying Daggers was also boosted by the fact that it opened duringan official blackout period for foreign films, which runs from mid-June forseven weeks. Hollywood summer blockbusters such as the third Harry Potter, Shrek 2 and Spider-Man 2 can only be released afterthe ban is lifted in August.

Over in Hong Kong, the runof House of Flying Daggers was equally spectacular, grossing $1m(HK$7.7m) in five days. The film will be rolled out in Singapore and Malaysiaon July 29 and August 5 respectively.