Peter Jackson's King Kong has lumbered past the RMB100m($12.4m) threshold at the mainland Chinese box office to become thetop-grossing imported film of the past five years and the third biggest foreignfilm in the history of Chinese cinema.

Up until Monday (Feb 27), King Kong had taken in RMB100.49m sinceits release on Jan 12, according to the film's mainland Chinese distributorHuaxia Film Distribution Co.

Since China opened itsmarket to revenue-sharing imported films in 1994, four blockbusters have grossedmore than RMB100 million: Titanic in1998, which grossed $40m (RMB320m); PearlHarbor in 2001 with $13m (RMB105m); Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle True Lies in 1994, which grossed justover RMB100m, and the recent King Kong.

The quality of the film andthe timing of its release are the main factors behind King Kong's success in China, according to a Huaxia promotions manager whopreferred not to be named.

King Kongopened one week before the Chinese New Year holidays. As TheChronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is scheduled fora March release in the China market, KingKong was the only blockbuster film competing with Jet Li's Fearless over Chinese New Year.

Also, the opening date of King Kong was one month later than its US release which is another reason for its box officesuccess, according to Huaxia. Jackson's three Lord Of The Rings movies were released on average two and a halfmonths later than their US or world release.

Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King grossed $11m (RMB89m) in 2004. However, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire,which was released simultaneously with the US last November, had a slightly higher gross of $12m(RMB96m), the highest gross for foreign films in 2005.