THE film industry is hoping for bumper box office takings at the Lunar New Year to reinvigorate its ailing fortunes. After a disappointing festive season last year, followed by a switch in audience interest from Hong Kong to foreign productions, hopes are being pinned on the release of local 'blockbusters'. Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories Motion Picture Industry Association chief executive Peter Tsi Ka-kei said Western films, which traditionally lagged way behind Cantonese-language productions, were drawing closer. Local movies would have attracted 80 per cent of box office takings a few years ago but he estimated the ratio had now dropped to 60 per cent, with the rest going to non-Hong Kong productions. Mr Tsi said the time was right for a swing back to Cantonese films after poor takings in the second half of 1994 and 'quite a bad' 1995. Hong Kong spent $31 million on an estimated 590,000 cinema tickets over three days of the Chinese New Year in 1995, down from $36 million and 678,441 tickets the previous year. Studios had put more effort into their releases for the Lunar New Year, said Mr Tsi. While more creative resources might have been deployed on the films, they will continue to rely on the same big-name local stars such as Jackie Chan, Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing and Stephen Chiau Sing-chi. Jackie Chan's action-packed Rumble in the Bronx was the most popular film during the 1995 festive season, as well as the top performer for the year. This year he is starring in First Strike. Other Hong Kong films pitched to the holiday crowds include Age of Miracles starring Anita Yuen Wing-yee, and Stephen Chiau in Forbidden City Cop. But Hong Kong Theatres Association vice-chairman Kong Cho-yee said: 'People are fed up with local pictures.' Among the latest Western films which could benefit if he is correct, are Jim Carrey's Ace Ventura - When Nature Calls, the full-length animation Toy Story, and the film about a pig that thinks it's a sheep, Babe. All are expected to be big attractions.