Stephen Chow's still got it. Now in his mid 40's, the Chinese comic actor par excellence has slowed down his output since his prolific earlier days (i.e. the early 90s), when it wasn't unusual for him to appear in three, four or more flicks per year. Firmly in control of his own projects as star, writer, and director, his last two films (Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle) have been comedy gold and incredibly successful at the worldwide box office.

His latest, CJ7, a family-oriented fantasy comedy about a kid and a cute alien critter, opened a few days ago in Asia and is making ordinary moviegoers act like postal carriers. (You know, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night ...") Varietyreports that thousands of people in mainland China "defied blizzards" just to see the film, pushing the box office take to 60 million yuan ($8.35 million) in just four days of release. It's been equally successful in Hong Kong, grossing HK$15.8 million ($2.03 million) on a massive 100 screens, according to Variety. A different source, Box Office Mojo, puts the gross at $2.11 million, which translates into $24,894 per screen at 85 locations. And in Taiwan, Variety says partial figures peg the total so far at NT$35 million ($1.09 million).

As Monika reported, Chow talked up the film at a recent press conference. The reviews so far has been mixed to good, but not ecstatic (see Variety, Twitch, LoveHKFilm). CJ7 opens in New York and Los Angeles on March 7, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics; hopefully the rest of us won't have to wait much longer to see it. To get an early taste, check out the trailer.