Big Shot's Funeral, Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia's production of Feng Xiaogang's comedy starring Donald Sutherland, has earned $4.3m in less than four weeks on release across China, becoming the highest-grossing domestically-produced title in the country's history.

Developed and produced as part of the studio's commitment to local language productions in China, Big Shot's Funeral was released by local distributor Huayi Brothers on Dec 21, immediately becoming a runaway hit. The movie surpassed previous box office champion Be There Or Be Square, also directed by Xiaogang, which earned $4.2m (RMB 34.9m) during the 1998-99 holiday season.

"People in China have not been this excited by a film in quite some time," said Barbara Robinson, managing director of Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia. "Big Shot's Funeral tickles a funny bone and resonates with a crowd. We are drawing the kind of business that exceeds our expectations and exhibitors are thrilled with the film's performance. Without a doubt, Big Shot's Funeral will continue to show box office strength well into the New Year."

Upcoming local language productions from Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia include: Double Vision, a thriller from Taiwan director Chen Kuo-Fu, The Missing Gun, a mainland Chinese film from first-time director Lu Chuan, Warriors Of Heaven & Earth, a 7th century mainland adventure epic written and directed by He Ping and an untitled Hong Kong action film directed by Cory Yuen.