Despite stiff competition from entertainment centres, Vietnamese-made films attracted big crowds at cinemas in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.

One of the blockbusters, Bong Ma Hoc Duong (Ghost at School), drew thousands of young moviegoers to Galaxy, Megastar and BHD Maximart cinemas.

Audiences queued up in front of the cinemas' ticket kiosks for the chance to watch the country's first 3-D film featuring an amusing story of an online author haunted by three ghosts.

The horror comedy attracted dozens of young pop stars and fashion models including Wanbi Tuan Anh, Truong Quynh Anh and Dinh Ngoc Diep.

Attracting more than 300,000 filmgoers, the 1 million USD-film Bong Ma Hoc Duong grossed 22 billion VND (1.1 million USD) after 12 days of release in only HCM City and Hanoi .

"We believe our film will set a record in ticket sales this Tet," said Phan To Hong Hai, a member of Thien Ngan Studios' managing board, the film's producer.

District 5's Megastar HungVuong cinema attracted 10,000 people a day, an increase of 20 percent over the same period last year.

Thien Ngan's competitor, BHD Company, also believes in the financial success of its production, the comedy film Co Dau Dai Chien (War of the Brides).

The producer said the film's Vietnamese-American director Victor Vu had brought something new to fans.

Co Dau Dai Chien revolves around the love of a group of young people living in urban areas, portrayed by Huy Khanh, Phi Thanh Van and Van Trang.

It attracted 230,000 audiences in 10 days, earning 14.2 billion VND in ticket sales. The numbers are expected to be higher in coming days.

The private film company Phuoc Sang's Thien Su... 99 (The Cherub... 99) features a love story, offering comedy and exciting action.

The film contains a large cast of well-known artists, including young singers Khong Tu Quynh and Ngo Kien Huy. Like its competitors, Phuoc Sang also spent a large sum on filming.

"Comedies will be big hits with youngsters looking for more lighthearted entertainment," said Phuoc Sang, the film's director.

The film is being screened at cinemas across the country, and has thus far earned a profit of 9 billion VND.

In HCM City , thousands of families have also flocked to theatres as well as cinemas.

Cat Phuong of the HCM City Small Drama Theatre said that mostly big drama troupes and theatres, including Phu Nhuan and Hoang Thai Thanh, staged more comedic plays during Tet and Valentine's Day.

The theatre's two plays, Chua Yeu Sao Hieu Duoc (Can't Understand Without Love) and Cuc Yeu (Fall in Love), feature performances of young artists, including Hoang Anh and Diem Chau.

"We will continue to stage comedies in the upcoming weeks instead of showing serious productions as we had originally planned," said a representative of Hoang Thai Thanh Drama Stage.

All the tickets for the theatre's three plays have been sold out for two months.

Phuong also predicts that comedies will continue to draw audiences to the theatre until International Women's Day on March 8. /.