Despite analysts worrying about an unpredictable market, Star Wars The Force Awakens debut in China yesterday was a success taking in $53 Million.
China is the last major market to show the new Star Wars movie. Its opening ranks as the best Saturday or Sunday debut ever in China.
This should please many fans around the world who saw China as the movie’s big chance to take the all-time worldwide grossing movie crown from Avatar.
Internationally, “The Force Awakens” picked up another $104.3 million this weekend, bringing its worldwide haul to a massive $1.73 billion. It is now the third highest-grossing movie in history, shooting past “Jurassic World’s” $1.67 billion global gross, with only Titanic and Avatar standing in the way of global domination.
Disney has invested heavily in “Star Wars,” plunking down more than $4 billion in 2012 for rights to Lucasfilm, the company behind the franchise. It has plans to not only create a new trilogy of films, but also to launch a series of standalone spinoffs. Given that China is the second-biggest source of ticket sales in the world and is expected to bypass the U.S. as the world’s top film market, success in the country is critical.
Anticipation for “The Force Awakens” was always fevered. More than a decade separated director J.J. Abrams’ update on the saga of Jedi knights and shadowy adherents of the Dark Side and the George Lucas prequels that proceeded them. However, China had no strong ties to the “Star Wars” franchise — a gap in their pop culture knowledge that Disney had to fill.
To that end, the studio’s campaign emphasized the film’s outer space setting and action-heavy plot. It also fanned some Middle Kingdom excitement by partnering with local pop star and social media icon Lu Han as a brand ambassador. Lu crafted an “Inner Force” music video earlier this month that served as an introduction to the space opera mythology.
“It shows that no one is better at building a brand than Disney,” said Greg Foster, CEO of Imax Entertainment.