Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon set yet another box office record Wednesday night as it became the highest-grossing foreign-language film ever released in the UK.
The Mandarin-language film, which is still only in its third week on release, has taken $4,483,784 (£3,078,380) to date. The previous record of $4,423,087 (£3,036,708) was held by Oscar winner Life Is Beautiful, which opened in February 1999.
The film, distributed in the UK by Columbia TriStar, looks set to build on its record-breaking gross in the weeks to come. Columbia will add a further 15 prints on Friday, taking the total across the UK and Ireland to 120, still fairly limited when compared to current chart toppers Cast Away (on 393 prints) and Columbia's own Vertical Limit (391 prints). Crouching Tiger has held the highest screen average in the UK chart for each of its three weekends on release.
Records are also being broken in North America where the film is distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. With a current gross of $37.3m, it has become the biggest Chinese-language film in US history. Its current worldwide gross stands at over $65m.
The wuxia pian martial arts film is also likely to benefit from its Golden Globe wins on Sunday night, and anticipated Oscar nominations. Ang took best director and the film won best foreign-language film at the Globes.
TOP TEN FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILMS IN THE UK
Title (Distributor) Country Of Origin (Release Date) Total Gross
1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Col TriStar) Ch-Tai-US (5-Jan-01) £3,078,380*
2. Life Is Beautiful (BVI) It (12-Feb-99) £3,036,220
3. Cyrano de Bergerac (Artificial Eye) Fr (1-Jan-91) £2,458,175
4. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Yash Raj Films) Ind (Aug-98) £1,498,006
5. The Lover (Guild) Fr (19-Jun-92) £1,375,697
6. Il Postino (BVI) It (Oct-95) £1,273,708
7. All About My Mother (Pathe) Sp-Fr (27-Aug-99) £1,179,824
8. Farewell My Concubine (Artificial Eye) Ch-HK (7-Jan-94) £1,039,622
9. Cinema Paradiso (Palace) It-Fr (23-Feb-90) £1,022,000
10. Buena Vista Social Club (FilmFour) Ger-US-Fr-Cuba (17-Sep-99) £955,278
* Still on general release