Park Chan-wook'sVenice-bound Sympathy For Lady Vengeance has notched the highestgrossing opening weekend in South Korean history, narrowly beating out lastyear's record-breaking Tae Guk Gi.

The film, the finalinstalment of Park's so-called "revenge trilogy," which also includesOldboy (2003) and Sympathy For Mr Vengeance (2002), sold 1.46mtickets between July 28 and 31, amounting to approximately $9.3m in box officetake.

Although initially openingon 370 screens, the release was quickly expanded to 420, which amounts to overa quarter of the nation's screens.

The record-breakingperformance in its domestic market for distributor CJ Entertainment comes inaddition to having racked up $5m of presales on a $4.2m budget.

Locally the major drawappears to be Park himself, who has become a local hero after winning the GrandPrix at Cannes in 2004, with Lady Vengeance's Venice competition berthintensifying interest in the film.

Another Venice-bound production, Tsui Hark'saction-packed extravaganza Seven Swords, set to open the Venice FilmFestival out of competition on August 31, enjoyed a strong opening weekend inChina (July 29-31) with a $3.15m (RMB25.5m) take over 500 screens.

While its Hong Kong boxoffice of $330,000 (HK$2.57m) over 41 screens was good, takings were reduced bythe length of the $16m epic - at 153mins, cinemas had to reduce their normalnumber of screenings.

Figures in Taiwan andMalaysia were average, with $94,000 over 16 screens in Taipei alone and a $107,000take over 42 screens in Malaysia.