As Shrek The Third stays in the top three at the US box office, Chinese state-owned film agencies have confirmed that it won't be released in China

until late August, and will then only be given a digital release.

According to China Film Digital Cinema Corp, the film will be screened exclusively on around 150 digital screens across the country. The news contradicts earlier rumours that the film would not be imported into China at all because the first two Shrek movies performed poorly at the local box office. The first Shrek grossed just $1.57m (RMB12m) in China in 2004.

However, there's an upside to the news as it confirms that China 's digital circuit is able to screen Hollywood pictures once again. The country's digital cinemas are now in the process of upgrading their facilities in order to meet with the standards imposed by the US studios' Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI).

Hollywood movies have been absent from Chinese digital cinemas since July 2005. The DCI standards, announced in 2005, require 2K resolution projectors along with digital servers using the jpeg 2000 format. Most of the Chinese digital cinemas at the time had 1.3K resolution projectors, and were thus unable to screen films from the US studios.

Happy Feet was the first Hollywood film released in China 's digital cinemas after an 18-month hiatus. Last month, when Spiderman 3 had a day-and-date release in China, 24 digital cinemas screened the film at the same time.

A source from China Film Digital Cinema said there are currently 73 screens in China that meet DCI standards. There will be 150 DCI-compliant screens by the end of August in time for the release of Shrek The Third.