Hong Kong action thriller Infernal Affairs grossed an astounding $330,000 (HK$2.57m) when it opened in its home territory on Thursday night (December 12) - the biggest opening of the year in Hong Kong and the biggest opener of all time outside a public holiday.

By the end of the weekend (Dec 15) the film had reached $1.7m at the Hong Kong box office.

The star-studded Media Asia production opened on 76 screens - Hong Kong's widest release ever - and racked up a record-breaking 399 shows on its opening day. In comparison, the previous biggest opener of 2002, Golden Harvest's Marry A Rich Man, grossed $138,000 (HK$1.07m) on its opening day in February - less than half the haul of Infernal Affairs.

However the film faces stiff competition in coming weeks as Zhang Yimou's Hero, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets and Die Another Day are all scheduled to open in Hong Kong over the Christmas holiday period.

Infernal Affairs has been billed as a return to the "golden era" of Hong Kong filmmaking in the 1980s and has garnered rave reviews in the Chinese-language press. It stars four previous winners of the best actor prize at the Hong Kong Film Awards - Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Andy Lau, Eric Tsang and Anthony Wong. Hong Kong heartthrobs Edison Chen and Shawn Yue and popular actresses Sammi Cheng and Kelly Chen also star.

The film also performed strongly in Singapore and Malaysia, where it was released day-and-date with Hong Kong by Shaw Organisation and Golden Screen respectively. In Singapore the film grossed $49,700 (S$86,797), breaking the opening day box office gross of mega-hit Shaolin Soccer in the territory. In Malaysia it grossed a healthy $24,975 (Ringgits 94,881). The film also opens today (December 13) in Taiwan.