After years of falling revenues or at best flat growth, Hong Kong was back on its feet in 2007 with total box office revenues at $129.63m (HK$1.01bn), the best in recent years, according to local industry body, the Motion Picture Industry Association (MPIA).

It not only represented a big jump of 11.46% from the previous year, but also the first time the box office bounced back to above HK$1bn level since 2001.

Of the 182 foreign films released, the two top performers of the year were Spider-Man 3 and Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, each exceeding HK$50m ($6.41 m). Ang Lee's multiple award-winning Lust, Caution was the top Chinese-language film with nearly HK$50m.

'The opening of new cinemas with new technology helped whip up public interest,' said UA Cinema Circuit's general manager CL Chan.

Last year, UA opened Hong Kong's first IMAX theatre: 'The release of Beowulf on 3D accounted for nearly 20% of the film's total box office in Hong Kong. We collected another 6% from UA Windsor which was also playing the film on 3D,' added Chan. 'More blockbuster films have been lined up for IMAX and 3D in 2008 to keep cinema-goers' interest.'

Although the overall box office was robust, the local sector failed to pull itself out of the doldrums. A record-low of 50 local films were released which grossed a combined $29.19m (HK$227.66m), down 23.86% from 2006. Local market share shrank further to 22.52%, compared to 31% from the year before.

However, the local figures didn't include Lust, Caution, which has some Hong Kong elements and would have boosted local films' market share, but which was classified as a Taiwanese film by the MPIA.

No local film broke the $3.85 (HK$30m) barrier, as the two top Hong Kong films Protege and The Warlords were below that mark as of Dec 30. 2006 top local film Fearless was slightly above that.

'The higher overall box office was a reflection of the booming economy, but the local production level remained too low which brought down the box office for local films,' said Woody Tsung, chief executive of MPIA in Hong Kong.

Admission prices went up in mid-December with an average of additional $0.64 (HK$5) per ticket.

Top 10 films in Hong Kong (Jan 1 - Dec 30, 2007 )

1. Spider-Man 3 - $7.05m (HK$55,016,986)

2. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix - $6.72m (HK$52,417,858)

3. Lust, Caution* - $6.24m (HK$48,691,157)

4. Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End - $5.36m (HK$41,840,517)

5. Transformers - $5.09m (HK$39,715,730)

6. Night At The Museum - $4.81m (HK$37,537,116)

7. Protege - $3.40m (HK$26,530,848)

8. Ratatouille - $3.24m (HK$25,257,320)

9. The Warlords* - $2.87m (HK$23,227,187)

10. Shrek 3 - $2.70m (HK$21,075,316)

Top 10 Hong Kong films in Hong Kong (Jan 1 - Dec 30, 2007 )

1. Protege - $3.40m (HK$26,530,848)

2. The Warlords* - $2.87m (HK$23,227,187)

3. Secret - $1.86m (HK$14,481,972)

4. Invisible Target - $1.70m (HK$13,232,308)

5. Love Is Not All Around - $1.56m (HK$12,190,605)

6. Brothers - $1.44m (HK$11,246,894)

7. Mad Detective* - $1.42m (HK$11,075,317)

8. Simply Actors - $1.20m (HK$9,356,010)

9. Hooked On You - $1.19m (HK$9,288,355)

10. Flashpoint - $1.16m (HK$9,016,184)

* Still on release

Source: MPIA