The latest Star Wars movie broke the $1 billion mark before fans in China could see it, but producers anticipate "The Force Awakens" will play "very very well" in the world's second-biggest film market.
The film opens in China on Jan. 9.
Director J.J. Abrams watched the Chinese premiere in Shanghai with a Chinese audience. He told a news conference that he was thrilled to see people "laughing and cheering in exactly the same places that we've seen other audiences."
"It's a testament to the power of cinema, that it does not matter where you're from, you can get caught up in a story," Abrams said.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" took 12 days to earn $1 billion worldwide, becoming the fastest movie to achieve such a feat. The previous movie to reach $1 billion the fastest was "Jurassic World," which did it in 13 days in June — and which had the benefit of record grosses in China.
"Star Wars" producer Kathleen Kennedy said the movie's success to date was "a huge surprise."