Although it may be a bit early to declare a full-blown revival of Hong Kong cinema, the first three months of the year have been encouraging for the local film industry. Apart from a few weeks in which The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Thai kickboxing flick, Ong-Bak, held sway, Hong Kong movies have topped the box office every week. And while we haven't seen any hits of the magnitude of Infernal Affairs, there have been a number of strong performers in the past three months, including Lunar New Year comedies Fantasia and Magic Kitchen, romantic drama Leaving Me, Loving You and the Pang brothers' chiller The Eye 2. The upcoming Easter holiday (March 9) also looks promising, with two big Chinese movies set for release. In one corner is China Star's romantic comedy, Love on the Rocks, starring Louis Koo Tin-lok, Gigi Leung Wing-kei and Charlene Choi Cheuk-yin. Directed by Chan Hing-ka - who last year turned out comedy hits Good Times, Bed Times and Naked Ambition - the film is about a couple who have a trial separation that ends at Easter. In the other corner is Stephen Fung Tak-lun's Enter the Phoenix, an action comedy starring Daniel Wu as the gay son of a triad kingpin. Adrian Kwan's Christian-themed movie The Miracle Box - presumably a less graphic religious offering than Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ - will also be released at Easter. However, local film executives aren't cracking open the bubbly just yet. 'Box office returns seem to be improving,' says China Star's general manager of distribution, Ann Hung. 'But we have to wait until summer to really get an idea of how local films are performing.' Media Asia executive director John Chong points out that the film industry faces stiff competition this year, particularly during the crucial summer months. 'The lineup of movies is strong,' he says. 'But Euro 2004 and the Olympics are likely to affect the box office.' The Euro 2004 soccer tournament, to be held in Portugal in June and July, and the Olympics, which take place in Athens in August, are expected to have a negative impact on box office around the world. But at least in Hong Kong there should be some interesting movies to entertain anyone who manages to drag themselves away from a TV screen. Media Asia's detective drama Breaking News, directed by Johnnie To Kei-fung, and Universe Entertainment's action flick Heat Team, directed by Dante Lam Chiu-yin, will both be released in June, and The Twins Effect II is scheduled to open in August. New Police Story, starring Jackie Chan, is set for release in September, new films from Joe Ma Wai-ho and hot newcomer Ronald Cheng Chung-kei are also expected to be released during the summer. Ma, who is renowned for his light and fluffy comedies - and, therefore, makes perfect summer movies - is putting together a film with the English working title Father Dearest, which is set to star Miriam Yeung Chin-wah and Michael Hui Koon-man. The film marks a comeback for Hui, who was a big star in the 1970s, along with his brothers Ricky and Sam. He's been lined up to play Yeung's father. Lau Ching-wan is set to play her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Cheng, who starred in last year's sleeper hit Dragon Loaded, has started shooting a comedy set in the world of high fashion - I Want to be a Model - which is scheduled for release in June. Like Dragon Loaded, it is directed by Vincent Kok Tak-chiu and produced by Cheng's manager Paco Wong Pak-ko and concert promoter Abba Chan Tak-chi. Cheng will be wearing plenty of over-the-top high-fashion costumes in the film, and has recently been spotted on location sporting an afro. Karena Lam Ka-yan is also starring in the film, and has to 'play ugly' in a role as an overweight police officer. Kenny Bee also stars as an over-the-hill model. While the summer movie season officially starts in June, there are also several high-profile releases scheduled for May - traditionally a quiet month at the box office. Wong Ching-po's gangster thriller Jiang Hu, starring Andy Lau Tak-wah and Jacky Cheung Hok-yau, is set for release next month, along with China Star's Driving Miss Wealthy, a comedy about a chauffeur to the rich and famous, starring Lau Ching-wan and Gigi Leung Wing-kei. Meanwhile, Derek Yee Tung-sing's One Nite in Mongkok, starring Daniel Wu and Cecilia Cheung Pak-chi, is scheduled to open on May 20. Mandarin Films may also release Escape from Hong Kong Island, starring Jordan Chan Siu-chun and Chapman To Man-chat, next month. It marks the directing debut of actor Simon Loui Yu-yeung, and is a black comedy about a senior executive who gets fired and sets out on a mission to find a new job. All of which means that there's plenty to look forward to over the coming months. But it looks as if fans of Stephen Chiau Sing-chi may have to wait a bit longer to see his upcoming film, Kung Fu Hustle. Originally scheduled for a summer release, the film has undergone additional shooting and is now likely to open at Christmas.