Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened in China over the weekend and instantly broke box-office records in the country with its huge opening salvo. The seventh installment to the franchise grossed $53 million on Saturday and Sunday in the region, and it’s widely believed that the film’s impressive performance in the territory will ultimately lead to it toppling Avatar’s record-breaking box office haul.
What makes Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ performance in China even more impressive is that pirated copies of J.J. Abrams’ seventh installment to the franchise have been released online, and it’s believed that hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people have already watched it illegally.
Currently, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has a box office total around the world of $1.73 billion after just three weeks of release. It is now the third highest-grossing film of all time behind James Cameron’s films Titanic and Avatar.
Titanic ultimately ended up grossing $2.187 billion at the box office in 1997, after being re-released in April 2012. Avatar went on to gross $2.788 billion in 2009, and while it’s believed that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will have no problem toppling Titanic’s sum it still remains to be seen if it will have the momentum to even reach, let alone surpass, Avatar’s record breaking sum.
The highest grossing U.S. film in Chinese box office film is Furious 7, which went on to take in $390.91 million back in the spring of 2015. It’s believed that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will have to make around $100 million more than this total to come close to Avatar’s sum, and their record-breaking opening figures suggest that’s well within their reach.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Chinese box office total is expected to have the final say in whether it makes it past Avatar’s total.
Chinese box office figures are becoming more integral to the overall tally of films. In fact, according to the Financial Times, China is even expected to eclipse the U.S. as the world’s largest film market within the next two years. The biggest film releases have performed just as well in China as they have in the U.S. in recent years.
J.J Abrams admitted at the Television Critics Association, via IGN, that he is grateful to everyone who has been to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, before then apologizing to parents who have been forced to take their children to see it on numerous occasions.
“I’m grateful to anyone who’s gone to see the movie. When I hear anecdotally people have gone seven, eight times, I just want to apologize to, I’m guessing their parents. No, but honestly I’m just very grateful, and I can’t believe that it’s done. It was three years of very tense work by a lot of people.
“So I’m just so happy that all the work that everyone did — even the people you don’t see in the movie, the puppeteers who were painted out — I watched them in 125-degree heat in Abu Dhabi bring BB-8 to life, and then we mercilessly painted them out of the movie. I’m just so glad people get to see all the work that this amazing crew and cast did. So, whatever the numbers are… I’m honestly just so grateful that the movie’s out there and has been well-received.”
Over the weekend, Star Wars: The Force Awakens became the first film to ever pass $800 million at the U.S. box office, while it also passed Skyfall to become the highest-grossing film in U.K. history, while it’s now also the highest-grossing Disney release ever in Russia too.
[Image via Lucasfilm]