Disney has confirmed this week that J.J. Abrams’ wildly anticipated reboot “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will get a January 9, 2016 release date in China.
While the film opens across North America and other major international territories on December 18, audiences in the Middle Kingdom will have to wait a little longer as foreign film quotas for 2015 are already filled.
“We are thrilled to bring Star Wars: The Force Awakens to China on January 9th,” said John Hsu, Disney’s general manager in China. “We’re excited to be rolling out our marketing campaign and to connect with new fans in China through Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Disney also unveiled a tailor-made poster for the Chinese market that happened to crop out a few characters:
— Ray Kwong (@raykwong) December 1, 2015
China’s strict film regulators closely control when imported movies open inside the country, and against what local competition.
Disney has worked hard to market the new movie and the storied franchise in China, in spite of the regulations. Back in October, 500 Storm Troopers took over China’s Great Wall for a promotional event that quickly went viral.
In another marketing move earlier this year, Disney and 20th Century Fox teamed up with Chinese Internet giant Tencent to make the entire Star Wars saga available for streaming by Chinese viewers online.
There is little doubt that Disney itself is already huge in China. Judging by this queue for a new brand store opening and the hype over the Disneyland soon to be opened in Shanghai, Star Wars is sure to do well.
January will be a busy month for Hollywood in China, with the third entry in the extremely popular Kung Fu Panda franchise being released on the 29th.
While you’re sitting tight for the release date to come around, sit back and enjoy the exciting trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens:
By Daniel Paul