BEIJING - Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution" raked in $5.4 million in its first four days of release in China, despite cuts by censors.
Citing the film's distributor here, China Film Group Corp., the official Xinhua News Agency said the sexually explicit spy thriller already was on track to become one of the year's biggest box-office draws.
"The movie has so far had the best box-office returns of all the movies shown in our theater over the past three months," Xinhua quoted Chen Ji, a manager with the Oriental New Century Theater in Beijing, as saying.
Several minutes were cut from the film to make it palatable to Chinese censors who forbid nudity, profanity and behavior viewed as immoral or politically subversive.
"Lust, Caution" has taken in $3.4 million domestically in six weeks of U.S. release, playing in a relatively small number of theaters. (The distributor is Focus Features.)
"Lust, Caution," which took top honors at the Venice Film Festival, tells the story of a group of patriotic Chinese students who hatch a plot to assassinate the Japanese-allied intelligence chief in World War II-era Shanghai.
Lee, winner of the best-director Oscar for 2005's "Brokeback Mountain," has called it a "very Chinese" film, while its explicit sex scenes earned it the restrictive NC-17 rating in the U.S.