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BY2002, HONGKONGcinema was apparently fin-ished as a viable business. Despite a substantialoutput (about ninety releases), box office receiptswere slim, and imported films claimed about 60%of them. Attendance hovered at around twentymillion per year, as it had since 1997—a far cryfrom the sixty million or so of the booming 1980s.Exhibitors cut ticket prices on Tuesdays andWednesdays, but this did nothing to compensatefor the vast losses due to video piracy.In December there appeared a film that raisedhopes for a new era. Infernal Affairsopened oneighty screens, an exceptionally wide release.Featuring an all-star cast headed by two matineeidols, it became a must-see movie. In the final twoweeks of the year, it scooped up US$5.6 milliondollars, twice that of any other local film releasedin 2002. It even beat the top import, Harry Potterand the Chamber of Secrets. By the end of its run,Infernal Affairshad earned US$7 million. It con-firmed Media Asia’s position as a major producer-distributor an...