Malaysia 's box office continued to grow in 2006 with total takings reaching an all-time high of $75.7m (RM265.2m) from 314 releases, a 9% increase on record takings of $69.6m (RM243.6m) the previous year.

Following consistent growth since 2001, the 2006 box office is 131% bigger than six years ago. Prior to 2006, the country scored double-digit box office growth for four consecutive years with an average of 20.75% per annum growth.

The joint venture of BVI and CTS released the top three grossing films in 2006: Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which took $2.94m (RM10.3m) and also became the country's fourth highest-grossing film ever; Fearless, which took $2.54m (RM8.9m), and Casino Royale with $2.46m (RM8.6m).

Malay-language films also triumphed with the two biggest local hits in four years. Billed as Malaysia 's first superhero film, the special effects-laden Cicak-Man took an impressive $1.43m (RM5m) and topped the local film chart as well as cracking the overall top 10. Meanwhile, Remp-It, a controversial film about illegal motorbike racers, grossed $1.14m (RM4m).

The Malay-language films grossed a combined box office of $8.5m (RM29.8m), representing 11.2% of the total market share.

'Although the 2006 growth is no longer in double digits as in past years, it has still managed a very optimistic 9%,' says Nicholas Yong, UIP managing director for Malaysia and Singapore. 'The continued growth can be attributed to the additional screens being built, suitable products for the local market and an increasing acceptance of foreign-language products being introduced locally.'

Last year saw the addition of 29 new screens with the opening of Cathay Cineleisure Damansara, Silver Screen Cineplex Tawau, TGV Tebrau City, Iswaria Perdana Fajar as well as five screens added to existing Cathay City Square.

The box office was also boosted by the release of more foreign-language films - 48% more than the year before. Thai black magic horror Art Of The Devil 2 became the highest grossing Thai film ever with $0.43m (RM1.5m). Other Thai hits included Dorm and Ghost Game (both $0.31m apiece).

Malaysia Top Ten Films 2006

1. Pirates Of The Caribbean : Dead Man's Chest (BVI) $2.94m (RM10.3m)
2. Fearless (BVI) $2.54m (RM8.9m)
3. Casino Royale (BVI) $2.46m (RM8.6m)
4. X-Men: The Last Stand (Fox) $2.06m (RM7.2m)
5. Superman Returns (WB) $2.06m (RM7.2m)
6. Mission Impossible III (UIP) $2.03m (RM7.1m)
7. Rob-B-Hood (GSC) $1.88m (RM6.6m)
8. The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift (UIP) $1.60m (RM5.6m)
9. Cicak Man (Kru Films) $1.43m (RM5m)
10. Eragon (Fox) $1.34m (RM4.7m)

Malaysia Top Ten Local Films 2006

1. Cicak Man - $1.43m (RM5m)
2. Remp-It - $1.14m (RM4m)
3. Nana Tanjung - $0.86m (RM3m)
4. Bujang Senang - $0.77m (RM2.7m)
5. Buli Balik - $0.63m (RM2.2m)
6. Cinta - $0.57m (RM2m)
7. Castello - $0.40m (RM1.4m)
8. Diva Popular - $0.29m (RM1m)
9. Senario Pemburu Emas Yamashita - $256,900 (RM900,000)
10. Man Laksa - $224,365 (RM786,000)