China Film Group’s The Founding Of A Republic, a patriotic film made to celebrate the 60th anniversary of People’s Republic of China, was given the widest release ever in China on Sep 16, and unsurprisingly scored a record-breaking opening half day.

The film was originally scheduled to open on Sept 17, but was pushed ahead to 2pm on Sept 16. Its nationwide gross reached $1.9m (RMB14m) up until midnight of Sep 16, which is the best half-day sales record in Chinese film history.

Previously, China’s highest opening-day records were Red Cliff with $3.66m (RMB25m) and Transformers: Revenge of theFallen with $3.22m (RMB22m). However, both figures were for a whole day’s screenings.

China Film Group prepared 1,450 prints for the film’s opening day. At the film’s premiere, China Film Group chairman Han Sanping said he expected total box office to reach $65.89m (RMB450m). If that target is reached, the film would outgross Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen to become the biggest film ever in China.

The film revolves around the political struggle between the Chinese communist party and the then ruling Nationalist Party in the run-up to China’s civil war in 1947. It also details the set up of the new communist China in 1949. 

Around 200 Chinese stars were recruited to perform in the film, either for free or for discounted pay, including Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Zhang Ziyi, Vicky Zhao Wei, Leon Lai and Andy Lau.

Media Asia will release the film in Hong Kong on October 1, which is China’s National Day holiday.

In addition, UIP is planning to release the film in Taiwan early next year. This will mark the first time that a Chinese film with propaganda elements has opened in Taiwan.

UIP originally planned to release the film in Taiwan this month. However, Taiwan allows only ten mainland films to be imported each year, and the quota has already been used up for 2009.

Before the release, the film will have to be approved by Taiwan’s Government Information Office (GIO). However, UIP expressed confidence in passing censorship.