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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 13:10 GMT
Potter 'sees off pirates' in China
Chinese Potter fans
China is the latest country to succumb to Pottermania
The first Harry Potter film has got off to a promising start at the Chinese box office, and has not suffered at the hands of film pirates, ticket sales figures indicate.

Warner Bros estimated that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone took $2m (£1.4m) from 300 theatres during its first week of release, according to Screen International.

Pirate versions of the film had been circulated last year in China, but in November 10 people were arrested by Hong Kong customs officers, who also seized 200 illegal copies of the film on DVD and video CD.

The film - known as Ha-li Bo-te in the region - is out-performing The Mummy Returns, another big Western hit in China.

Translators adapted some language for local audiences
Translators adapted some language for local audiences

A spokesman for the Shanghai Film Art Centre, where the film premièred on 26 January, said Harry Potter was not doing as well as Pearl Harbor, which was China's biggest hit of last year, taking $12.4m (£8.7m).

Harry Potter has been showing at a traditionally quiet time at the Chinese box office.

But it is expected to run over the Chinese New Year holiday period, between 12 February and 15 February, when children flock to the cinema.

The film opened in China just two months after its US release.

Illegal

Warner Bros rushed Harry Potter through China's lengthy clearance process in an attempt to beat video piracy.

But the film was readily available - illegally - in the country's main cities within a week of its US opening. It was later found in parts of Malaysia and Taiwan as well.

China allows the importation of 10 foreign films a year on a revenue-sharing basis, although this number is due to double following its admission to the World Trade Organisation.

Warner Bros was the first US studio to release a film in China, with The Fugitive in 1994.


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27 Nov 01 | Entertainment
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