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Smaug fires up box office in China and Japan

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug has continued its good run in China. Opening after the end of the Chinese New Year holidays, Smaug has added US$26.57 million during its first full week on screens. After 10 days it’s taken just shy of US$60 million.

In Japan, the last of the major territories to open Smaug, the film premiered on 681 screens, taking US$3.9 million on its opening weekend – an improvement over There And Back Again’s US$2.9 million opening weekend in Japan last year.

The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug: Heeeere's Johnny!

The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug: Heeeere’s Johnny!

Back in China, where delayed releases have long caused titles to lose potential income to piracy, a new initiative to combat piracy has come into play.

The Film and Television Copyright Alliance was formed by the Copyright Protection Centre of China, China Television Artists Association and China Film Association.

This organisation proposes a Digital Copyright Identifier (DCI) system, under which the new organisation will offer fee clearing services and assist with online copyright protection.

The alliance isn’t entirely Chinese, with the Korea Broadcasting Commission also represented on the organising committee.

Internationally, the move is being greeted cautiously. While nobody is about to come out and say reducing piracy is a bad thing, there are concerns that China will use a claimed improvement in the piracy situation as part of a continuing stratgey to deny entry to foreign features.

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