Jurassic World just knocked out Avengers for the biggest global box office weekend ever, but I think we all know the real monster at the global box office is coming at the end of the year, when Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in December. China is certainly going to be responsible for a lot of the coin that the new Star Wars makes overseas, but the interesting thing is, unlike the rest of the world, the original Star Wars films were never shown in China when they were originally released. Episode VII is hitting theaters in a place where Episodes I-VI were never really a part of the culture.
Now, the Shanghai International Film Festival is showing all six Star Wars films this week, including the first screenings ever in mainland Chinese theaters of the original trilogy, although there are currently no plans for a larger nationwide release. Of course, many hardcore fans of the series have seen the movies through bootleg DVD’s, which are widely available in China, but until now, no one had seen them the way they were meant to — on the big screen.
Of course, Disney wants to prepare audiences in China to the full six-part story before dropping part seven on them, and showing the original six films is a huge way to bring up audience awareness. “The huge buzz and excitement generated is going to be great for the Star Wars franchise and the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens” said a rep from Disney. So, just what did the Chinese fans think of these original revered movies, beloved by millions the world over? One fan said “Although the character design is weak, the leading actress not beautiful, the leading actor not handsome and the action parts like children fighting, placed in 1977, the visual effects are amazing,”
Well, I think young Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill were perfectly adorable back in the day, but in modern Hollywood, they probably wouldn’t get cast in those parts today, simply because they look like real people and not like perfectly-chiseled models who live at the gym. So, I can’t criticize the Chinese fans too much for that comment. Oh well, you can’t please everybody.