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The Force has awoken in China.
Disney and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens made a stellar landing in the Middle Kingdom on Saturday, grossing an estimated $33 million to score the biggest Saturday opening ever in China for any film, according to preliminary results released by Disney.
International Weekend 1/10/16
|1. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens||$104.3M||$921.4M|
|2. The Revenant||$20.2M||$20.2M|
|3. The Hateful Eight||$12.0M||$12.5M|
|4. The Good Dinosaur||$12.0M||$148.7M|
|5. Detective Chinatown||$11.8M||$93.0M|
|6. Quo Vado?||$11.5M||$52.0M|
|7. Daddy’s Home||$10.2M||$37.9M|
|8. Sherlock: The Abominable Bride||$9.0M||$28.0M|
|9. The Peanuts Movie||$8.6M||$92.2M|
|10. Joy (2015)||$7.5M||$24.1M|
It’s also the biggest opening day in history for the studio, as well as the second-biggest single-day gross of all time behind Furious 7 ($54.4 million), which debuted on a Sunday.
Other top opening-day grosses in China include Avengers: Age of Ultron ($29.2 million), Transformers: Age of Extinction ($27.4 million) and Terminator: Genisys ($26.7 million). Local fantasy-adventure film Monster Hunt holds the record for the largest single-day debut by a Chinese film with $27.7 million.
J.J. Abrams-directed Force Awakens has already surpassed Avatar to rank as the highest-grossing film ever in North America, not accounting for inflation. Sometime on Saturday it is expected to extend its lead in the history books, becoming the first pic to ever cross the $800 million mark domestically.
This weekend, Force Awakens will also sail past the $1.669 billion grossed worldwide by Jurassic World to become the No. 3 movie of all time behind Avatar ($2.78 billion) and Titanic ($2.19 billion), not accounting for inflation.
China, now the world’s second-largest film market, was the final territory in which Force Awakens will open. Its performance there over the coming weeks will help determine just how high in the record books the seventh episode in the Star Wars saga can climb.
Disney has marketed the Force Awakens aggressively in China, where the Star Wars franchise doesn’t have the same legacy as in North America or Europe.
The only other international title currently at the China box office is Sherlock: The Abominable Bride. Other Hollywood movies set to open soon include The Last Witch Hunter on Jan. 15, The Walk on Jan. 22 and Alvin and the Chipmunks on Jan. 22. The release plans for these titles are anticipated to be comparatively modest, however.
Force Awakens won’t face a major Hollywood challenger until Kung Fu Panda 3 hits Chinese theaters on Jan. 29.
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William H. Macy