The US studios had a relatively good year in China in 2006, during which the 20 revenue-sharing films released in the country grossed $108.75m (RMB850m), an increase of 41% on the previous year.

China 's total box office was $335.5m (RMB2.62bn) last year (see Screendaily, Jan 8) which gives the 20 titles a 32% market share. In comparison, the 20 revenue-sharing films released in 2005 grossed $76.76m (RMB600m) and accounted for 30% of the market.

Two titles broke through the RMB100m ($12.79m) threshold which contributed to the 41% growth. Sony's The Da Vinci Code raked in $13.43m (RMB105m) to become the top-grossing foreign film in China in 2006, while UIP's King Kong came in second with $13.18m (RMB103m). In comparison, the top-grossing foreign film in 2005 - Warner Bros' Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire - grossed $12m (RMB93.9m).

The Da Vinci Code is so far the second highest-grossing foreign film in Chinese box office history, following Titanic which grossed $40.94m (RMB320m) in 1998. The record set by Titanic has yet to broken by any domestic or foreign film.

Among the top ten foreign films in 2006, eight grossed more than RMB50m ($6.4m), which also contributed to growth. In 2005, only four foreign films passed this threshold.

Animation films performed well in China in 2006 with both Garfield 2 and Ice Age 2, both distributed by Fox, making the top ten. Garfield 2 's haul of $7.37m (RMB57.58m) made it the best-selling animation in Chinese film history.

China imports only 20 revenue-sharing foreign films each year, although further foreign titles can be imported on a flat fee basis, as long as the total number of foreign films does not exceed one third of the overall number of releases.

Traditionally, more than 90% of the revenue-sharing imported films are distributed by the US studios.

Top Ten foreign films in China 2006

1. The Da Vinci Code - $13.43m (RMB105m)
2. King Kong - $13.06m (RMB102m)
3. Mission : Impossible III - $10.49m (RMB82m)
4. Poseidon - $8.81m (RMB68.9m)
5. Superman Returns - $8m (RMB62.5m)
6. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe - $7.8m (RMB60.99m)
7. Garfield 2 - $7.37m (RMB57.58m)
8. Eight Below - $7.09m (RMB55.4m)
9. Ice Age 2 - $4.4m (RMB34.4m)
10. The Transporter 2 - $3.89m (RMB30.38m)