There's an old saying in the film world that when it comes to predicting success, nobody knows anything, and it has rung true at the Chinese box office over the past week.
The American 3D extravaganza John Carter has been a major disaster at most places it has screened around the world but it shot straight to the top of the charts on release in China, collecting 188 million yuan (22.3 million euros) over its first 10 days -- almost half its total takings from North America and 10 percent of its global collect, according to Film Business Asia.
There was a surprise in second place, too, with the US-based Korean drama Late Autumn picking up 27.8 million yuan (3.3 million euros) -- almost as much on debut as the film took over its entire run in South Korea, where it finished with US$5.5 million (4.1 million euros).
The film stars Chinese actress Tang Wei -- who shot to stardom in Oscar-winner Ang Lee's controversial Lust, Caution in 2007 -- as a prisoner out on parole who strikes up a friendship with a man on the run (Hyun Bin).
It was once again a week for lovers of Japan's favorite blue robotic cat as Doraemon: Nobita and the Island of Miracles - Animal Adventure made it to four consecutive weeks at the top. The film has now collected almost US$25 million (18.7 million euros) after week four added an estimated US$3 million (2.3 million euros) to its coffers, according to Tokyo Hive.
The animated romance We Were There held down second place in Japan with takings of US$2.6 million (1.9 million euros), for a two-week total of just on US$12 million (8.9 million euros).
South Korean film-goers over the past week have warmed to the school-room romance Architecture 101, which made it to the top of the chart on its second week of release.
Director Lee Yong-joo's drama -- which stars young hearththrobs Eom Tae-woong and Han Ga-in and pop singer Suzy -- picked up 565,000 admissions over the week and has now sold just on 720,000 tickets.
Rounding things out in Hong Kong was the international hit The Hunger Games, with the tale of killer kiddies collecting a respectable US$720,000 (540,000 euros).
Late Autumn trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlVkcfEWlHA