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‘Star Wars’ Passes $100 Million In China

Star Wars: The Force Awakens” passed $100 million at the mainland Chinese box office on Tuesday (Jan. 19.)

Data from local box office tracking service Entgroup shows the film’s gross exceeding RMB659 million, shortly after 2pm on its 11th day of release. China’s currency has slipped considerably against the dollar in recent months, but at current official rates of exchange that converts as $100.2 million.

The score represents good success for the franchise, which had little exposure in the Middle Kingdom before the current seventh episode. In 2015 eight Hollywood films and 12 Chinese films achieved $100 million.

China was the last territory in the world to open “The Force Awakens,” something that allowed Disney to use some of the international momentum to boost Chinese audience awareness. The studio went to unusual lengths – including lighting up a portion of the Great Wall of China and hiring a local pop star as brand spokesman – to maximize recognition and awareness. The release is handled by China Film Group and Huaxia Distribution.

The picture opened on a Saturday (Jan. 9) and broke records with a $53 million opening weekend. Since the initial weekend, the performance has slowed considerably. It appears to be holding well on weekdays, but was beaten into second place over the weekend just gone.

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