The 2009 Chinese New Year holidays ended on Sunday (Feb 1) with outstanding box office results in mainland China. The one-week holiday took in around $29.2m (RMB200m) in box office receipts, which is a 30% increase on the same period in 2008.

Around 15 films were on release during the week between Jan 25 to Feb 1, among which ten films were new releases. In 2008, only seven films were released during the same period.

Andrew Lau's romantic comedy Look For A Star and Ning Hao's black comedy Crazy Racer took the lead in the competitive box office race. Look For A Star opened on Jan 26 and took in $7.3m (RMB50m) in six days. Crazy Racer opened on Jan 20 with a first-weekend gross of around $2.63m (RMB18m). During the Chinese New Year holidays the film took in more than $5.11m (RMB35m), for a total of $7.74m (RMB53m) according to China Film Group.

Local animation film Pleasant Goat And Big Bad Wolf was another dark horse during the holidays. The film, a movie version of a well-known TV cartoon show, earned around $4.82m (RMB33m). Including its first-weekend gross, the film has so far made $7.3m (RMB50m).

Hong Kong comedy All's Well Ends Well made more than $4.38m (RMB30m) according to mainland distributor Enlight Media. Meanwhile holdover Red Cliff II reached a cumulative gross of $34.45m (RMB236m).

Local films, especially comedies, outdid foreign releases. Japanese title 10 Promises To My Dog made around $730,000 (RMB5m), while the gross of Nicole Kidman-starrer Australia was only available in a few cities before press time. However, nation-wide gross of the film is estimated to be lower than $1.46m (RMB10M).

The total gross of the January box office reached $87.59m (RMB600m), which also sets a new record for monthly box office figures, and is mostly due to the increase in the number of releases.

The colder weather during the 2009 Chinese New Year was another factor influencing the box office boost as audiences opted for indoor entertainment rather than outdoor activities.