Box office during the seven-day National Day holiday period in mainland China reached a record $24.85m (RMB170m), according to figures released yesterday, which is a 220% increase on the same period last year.

Gordon Chan's fantasy drama Painted Skin, Benny Chan's action thriller Connected and 3D movie Journey To The Centre Of The Earth stand out as the three top-grossing films during the week Sept 29-Oct 5.

Painted Skin grossed $16m (RMB110m) during the seven days marking a new record for National Day holiday box office. Connected grossed $3.16m (RMB21.6m) during the holidays, which is seven times that of its first-weekend gross.

Journey To The Centre Of The Earth took in $3.07m (RMB21m) during the holidays, also a new record for 3D movies in mainland China.

Painted Skin has also become one of the fastest films to break the RMB100m threshold in China. The film grossed over RMB100m on its sixth day of screening, which ties with Curse Of The Golden Flower in 2006 and is second to the performance of Red Cliff which broke the RMB100m benchmark in four days.

In total, Painted Skin has grossed $24.85m (RMB170m) up until Wednesday night. In Hong Kong, the film took in around $900,000 (HK$7m) and in Singapore and Malaysia the box office gross is estimated at just under $1m, according to Michael Lai, sales manager of Eastern Mordor, which handles international sales of the film.

This means that the pan-Asian gross of the film stands at around $26.5m. The film will open in Korea on October 23 on more than 240 screens, with Art Service handling Korean distribution, according to Lai.

Analysts attribute the 220% growth to two factors. Firstly, films released during the holidays had higher print release and screen counts than in previous years. Painted Skin was released on around 1,200 screens (611 film prints, plus more than 500 digital screens). Connected was releasedon more than 400 prints and 300 digital screens.

The recent increase in digital screens has helped toboost the scale of releases in China.As ofthe end of August 2008, there were 800 2K digital screens in mainland China, according to the Film Bureau under the State Administration Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).

Secondly, this year's October holidays have seen the release of more diverse genres of films.In addition tofantasy and action genres such as Painted Skin and Connected,audiences could seeFrench adventure comedy Asterix Aux Jeux Olympiques, German animation Hui Buh: The Castle Ghost and Chinese contemporary comedy Set Off.

Each of these smaller releases grossed between $360,000 (RMB2.5m) to $730, 000 (RMB5m) during the holiday period.