Zero Chou's idol drama Spider Lilies had a strong opening this weekend in Taipei, securing $71,400 on four prints for independent distributor Atom Cinema, and clinching fifth position in the chart.

The film's striking screen average of $17,850 is the third largest of the year, behind only 300 and Ghost Rider, and the highest for a local feature since the US-financed Double Vision opened through Buena Vista in 2002.

The drama tells the story of a webcam girl who is besotted with a female tattoo artist. Similarly gay-themed Reflections (Nantes, 2005) and I Don't Want To Sleep Alone (Venice, 2006) were still in theatres on Friday when Spider Lilies opened, but neither release is likely to break $30,000 (NT$1m).

Spider Lilies ' box office benefited from the casting of idols Rainie Yang and Isabella Leong and from distribution soon after its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in February where it won Taiwan cinema's first Teddy Award.

'We are very excited that a low budget, independent Taiwan film could compete so successfully on its opening weekend,' said Atom Cinema founder Liu Wei-jan. 'Zero belongs to a new generation of Taiwan directors who know how to draw audiences back with their vivid storytelling and stylish images.'

Taiwan's Three Dots Entertainment has sold distribution rights to nine territories: International Film (China), WE & Co (France), Salzgeber & Co (Germany), Deltamac (Hong Kong), International Data Group (Poland), Encore Films (Singapore), CNS Entertainment (South Korea), Sahamongkol Films (Thailand) and Wolfe Distribution (US).

The film will next open in Hong Kong on April 12 on at least six prints.