Feng Xiaogang's war movie The Assembly grossed $2.03m (RMB15m) on its opening day in China yesterday, according to producer and distributor Huayi Brothers Pictures. The figure equals the record set by Zhang Yimou's 2006 hit, Curse Of The Golden Flower.

The film, which opened on Thursday (Dec 20), was released on 650 film prints and 150 digital copies across the country, which is the second biggest ever print run for a Chinese-language film, behind Peter Ho-Sun Chan's The Warlords, which opened on more than 1,000 prints and digital copies one week earlier.

Produced by Huayi Brothers, Media Asia, Shanghai Film Group and Zhejiang Film and TV Group, the $10m war drama is dubbed as Chinese version of Saving Private Ryan, depicting severe battle scenes of the Chinese civil war in 1948 and the Korean War in 1950. Actor Zhang Hanyu plays a persistent military commander who painstakingly searches for his 46 soldiers who were killed in a battle.

Released at the end of 2007, The Assembly and Chan's The Warlords are seen as the two important local blockbusters of the year. The box office of The Warlords reached $17.65m (RMB130m) up to Thursday in mainland China. The Assembly is aiming to reach RMB200m, according to Huayi Brothers president Wang Zhonglei.

The Assembly will open in Hong Kong and South-East Asia in early January. Besides Asia, Czech distributor AQS and Hungary's Cinetel will share distribution of the film in Eastern Europe while Brazil 's Prime Pictures has also acquired the film.