‘Star Wars’ Soars to Stellar Opening in China

Star Wars The Force Awakens Rey
Courtesy of Disney

Disney’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has opened with a record-setting $33 million in China on Saturday.

The studio said the seventh Star Wars set Chinese records for best Disney opening day and the best Saturday opening day.

China, the second-largest market in the world after the U.S., is the final territory in the world to receive the blockbuster.

Chinese box office tracking service Ent Group reported a gross of $29.3 million for “The Force Awakens” from 82,900 screenings on Saturday. It also reported that the film had a cumulative in China of $31.7 million achieved from 5.18 million ticket sales. (In an earlier report Ent showed figures of $27.8 million from just under 78,900 screenings, and a cumulative total of $30.7 million achieved from 4.48 million ticket sales.)

Those numbers, however, imply a per ticket average of $5.66, the highest for any movie currently on release in China, reflecting the premiums that can still be achieved from 3D screenings and weekend releases. They also point to a strong average gross of $1,375 per screen.

The local figures also show “Star Wars” dominating the box office with a market share of some 71% on Saturday. Second placed film, “Detective Chinatown” earned $3.96 million ahead of “Mr Six,” with $2.34.

While the numbers fall largely within recent estimates of the opening day score, local analysts have cautioned against extrapolating too much from the first day. “The Force Awakens” benefits from an unusual Saturday release for a Hollywood movie. And the curiosity level will be unusually high with the film being the first major international picture to release in China for a month.

“The Force Awakens,” directed by J.J. Abrams, is expected to become the the third-largest worldwide grosser of all time this weekend, passing the $1.67 billion grossed worldwide by “Jurassic World” last year. After less than a month in theaters, it will trail only “Avatar” at $2.78 billion and “Titanic” at $2.19 billion.

The space saga set a U.S. record on Wednesday by passing “Avatar” and has a domestic gross of $781 million as of Friday.

Disney has marketed “The Force Awakens” aggressively in China, where the “Star Wars” saga has a short history because the first six films have not been released commercially — although they have played on television and in legal and illegal home entertainment formats.

Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, robots BB8 and R2D2, director JJ Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy were all on hand at a Dec. 27 premiere in Shanghai. “The Force Awakens” will come off screens in China by Feb. 8, the first day of the peak Chinese New Year season.

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  1. Rex says:

    Even though this isn’t quite the “record” the article is making it out to be — as others have duly noted in the comments here — it will at least serve as yet ANOTHER movie that reminds Mainland Chinese audiences how hopeless their own cinema is in comparison, and how much LESS it would make were it not unreasonably aided and favoured by their friggin’ government.

  2. Steve Chow says:

    The three prequel films did get released theatrically. You’re wrong about that.

  3. God’s mind in us is communicating to us in our mind in us. Isn’t that a form of telepathy? God wants us to love others not wanting to work ill to others not beige mischievous. telling that mountain to be cast into the sea is levitation. Jesus levitated himself to walk on the water.

  4. Jacques Strappe says:

    That’s all that’s left for the sad, pathetic, miserable trolls now is to do their happy dance that The Force Awakens won’t beat Avatar. Dance like nobody’s watching, douches.

  5. Russ says:

    So it opened at half the amount Furious 7 made. So by that calculation it should make about $180M. So will probably come way under the estimated $300M. No chance of catching Avatar’s worldwide box office now. May not even catch Titanic.

    • Carl C. says:

      It’s bigger than Age of Ultron’s opening ($30 million), and that movie ended up with $240+ million.

      • Stella Maris says:

        @JJ maybe piracy is affecting the film, though these people dont understand, this film is best experienced on a clear copy much more on a big screen or 3D.

      • JJ says:

        Checked box office data for Avengers 2, it opened on a Tuesday grossing 30M, then 4 days later on Saturday it made 38M. TFA is underperforming that film. My final gross prediction: US 900M, China 200M, rest of the world 1 B, total 2.1B.

      • JJ says:

        Avengers opened on a weekday though. 32M on a Saturday is not impressive.

    • JJ says:

      SW films have always been “US-Centric”. Looking at the domestic vs overseas gross ratio of almost 1:1, I knew very early on that Avatar’s worldwide record is out of reach. Avatar had a ratio of almost 1:3.

  6. George Lucas is doing what no movie is doing. His movie is changing hearts. He is making people to be reborn like Jesus wants being like a kid again in their heart.

    • Lucas’ spirit has been erased after the debacles that were episodes 1-3. Oh and Jonathan, please heed your own advice telling someone to shut up for voicing their opinion is not a positive action. Remember, he who casts the first stone….

      • I have the truth,. People who have falsehood should speak? What he stared continues. The childlike qualities are still there. People see them. Nothing positive is coming from you. Stones are coming from you.

    • Tim says:

      George Lucas sold the rights to Star Wars in 2012. And please lay off with religious nonsense.

      • Brian says:

        dude chill, star wars has lots of themes, a major one being religion and spirituality. what do you think the jedi order is? the force, the dark side? a savior’s rebirth through lineage, etc – the list goes on, it should be pretty obvious to anyone who’s seen the movies.

        glad to see Lucas out, he kinda lost the creativity and storytelling after Episode 5.

      • The spirit of George Lucas is still in it. Can’t people take a positive word? people who say nothing good need to shut up. Scribes and pharisees said nothing good either. They were defiled religious people. They that speak against me are like them. Look at yourself.

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