After a flat 2005, Singapore box office regained growth momentum in 2006 with a 6% year-on-year increase in total box office takings which amounted to $85.18m (S$131.08m) from 341 releases.

As with previous years, Hollywood mega blockbusters ruled the box office. The top grossing film was Fox's X-Men: The Last Stand with $3.14m (S$4.83m), which was followed closely by BVI's Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest with $2.98m (S$4.59m).

Although only one Singapore production figured in the top 10 chart, Jack Neo's long-awaited sequel I Not Stupid Too scooped $2.72m (S$4.18m) for third place - beating Mission: Impossible III ($2.70m), Superman Returns ($2.47m) and The Da Vinci Code ($2.06m).

Through word-of-mouth buzz, I Not Stupid Too took the top spot in its second and third week after opening at number two last January. It went on to become the second highest grossing local film ever in Singapore.

The local nascent film industry also made a splash in 2006 with a record nine new releases, including Royston Tan's 4:30, Kelvin Tong's Love Story, Woo Yen Yen and Colin Goh's Singapore Dreaming and the city-state's first 3D animation Zodiac: The Race Begins.

The only other Asian film in the top 10 was Fearless starring Jet Li which grossed $2.02m while Rob-B-Hood starring Jackie Chan ($1.35m) and Zhang Yimou's Curse Of The Golden Flower ($1.24m and still playing) were in the top 20.

Singapore box office fortunes were resurrected in 2006 partly thanks to the openings of the city-state's first new cinemas in seven years. Last March, Cathay reopened the landmark The Cathay building which houses an eight-screen multiplex while Golden Village launched a 15-screen flagship at Vivocity last October.

Meanwhile, Cathay is poised to open two new state-of-the-art multiplexes this year in two under-screened areas to further pull in the crowds. The eight-screen cinema at AMK Hub is scheduled for a May opening while the 10-screen cinema at Downtown East will be ready by December. Both cinemas have a combined seating capacity of 1,656.

Singapore Top Ten 2006

1. X-Men: The Last Stand (Fox) - $3.14m (S$4.83m)
2. Pirates Of The Caribbean 2(BVI) - $2.98m (S$4.59m)
3. I Not Stupid Too (MediaCorp Raintree/UIP) - $2.72m (S$4.18m)
4. Mission : Impossible III (UIP) - $2.70m (S$4.15m)
5. Superman Returns (WB) - $2.47m (S$3.81m)
6. The Da Vinci Code (SPRI) - $2.06m (S$3.18m)
7. *Casino Royale (SPRI) - $2.05m (S$3.16m)
8. Fearless (BVI) - $2.02m (S$3.11m)
9. *Night At The Museum (Fox) -$1.85m (S$2.85m)
10. *Happy Feet (GV) - $1.82 (S$2.81m)

* still on release after 31 December 2006