Star Wars Flicks To Be Screened In China

Disney is D-E-S-P-E-R-A-T-E to break Star Wars in China, where there’s a potential audience of two billion and American blockbusters are finally making big bank there.

Star Wars has always had a spotty record in the PRC. While Hong Kong got all of the films when they were first released, Eps IV-VI never got a formal release in China proper. The prequels did, but I think they were a little ahead of China’s economic boom that has created a large middle class. Most Chinese, if they knew anything about Star Wars, were likely introduced to the saga through bootleg video in a country where piracy of Western intellectual property is rampant and actually backed by the government. (Stay tuned for the Backstroke of the West 10th Anniversary Special!)

So ahead of TFA’s release, they are formally screening all six films next month at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

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6 Responses to “Star Wars Flicks To Be Screened In China”

  1. mes520 Says:

    Makes sense, China has become a big player in the box office.

  2. Tarrlok Says:

    I’ve seen it claimed that international audiences are not as receptive to science fiction as North American (plus maybe British Isles and Australasian) audiences are. Just from going through analyses of the box office performance of films like the PT and the Star Trek reboots, they were said to be more dependent on Anglophone countries and the USA in particular than various fantasy and action flicks.

    This would make softening up the Chinese market for TFA a worthwhile endeavour for Disney. I expect that they know better than to take the “Please don’t hurt us, hateboys!” approach they’ve taken for marketing TFA in other parts of the world.

  3. madmediaman Says:

    Not convinced they will do terribly well in China. Marvel’s films have been fairly poor performers in the PRC, and sci-fi has not done terribly well there over the past decade. Action films and historical epics dominate Chinese box office.

    Ironically, due to the larger tapestry of the Prequels, and the sense of galactic history presented in I-III I would not at all be surprised if the Prequels perform BETTER than the OT in China.

    • madmediaman Says:

      When I say Marvel films have performed poorly, I’m talking relative to the performance of other films. For example I think Hobbitt: Battle of the Five Armies has mad more than any Marvel release today in China. And outside of Transformers sci-fi is a non-starter there.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        I decided to see for myself how “Avengers 2” was doing in China. Fairly well, around $260 million so far, though not as well as “Fast & Furious 7.” “Tomorrowland” opened at the top of the box office this week but it wasn’t a real big opening either. The L.A. Times thinks Universal will end up ruling China this year with “Jurassic World” (dinosaurs) and “Minions” (little guys with huge international appeal) expected to do really well.

      • madmediaman Says:

        That’s the first Marvel Studios film to do that well in that market. My guess is brand recognition is finally kicking in. Star Wars as laargely an unknown quantity in China, and I suspect TFA will struggle a bit to find an audience there.

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