"Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the seventh installment in the blockbuster sci-fi franchise, premiered in China Sunday night.
Director J.J. Abrams walked the red carpet with producer Kathleen Kennedy and the film's leading stars, John Boyega and Daisy Ridley. They shared their excitement about the film opening in China.
Fans gathered outside Shanghai Grand Theater to catch a glimpse of the stars. Many dressed up as their favorite Star Wars characters.
Nearly four decades since the first "Star Wars" debuted, "The Force Awakens" has been setting box-office records around the world after opening December 18. As of yesterday, it had grossed US$1 billion, reaching the milestone in just 12 days, faster than any other movie in history. It has also set records for the biggest opening weekend in North America, the most ticket sales on Christmas Day, and the best second-weekend earnings.
The records are not just in North America, either. It scored the biggest worldwide debut with US$529 million. It even topped $100 million in IMAX screenings in 10 days, another global record.
And all these records were all achieved without China, the world's second-largest film market. Though Chinese fans still have to wait close to two weeks before it fully opens here, Star Wars has become a hot topic in town. An exhibition featuring limited editions of Star Wars models has attracted many fans to a downtown shopping mall.
Li Shijie, 30, brought his lightsaber and Stormtrooper helmet to the exhibition right before the film's premiere. He planned to apply for a poster from the exhibition and asked for signatures on the red carpet.
Other fans who did not have the chance to attend the red-carpet premier last night have been going to the exhibition to snap photos of the various characters on display. Some expats in town are also excited about the upcoming screening in China.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will open in China January 9. Many are expecting it to set new records in China. Currently, the most profitable Hollywood film in China is "Fast and Furious 7," which earned $390 million. The highest grossing film of all time is "Avatar," which raked in $2.8 billion globally.