Star Wars: The Force Awakens broke records in China with an estimated 33 million dollars in ticket sales on opening day, the Walt Disney Co said.
It was the company's biggest opening day ever in China and the film industry's highest Saturday opening, Disney said. The film has already broken all North American earnings records.
A strong showing in China, the world's second-biggest movie market, could push Star Wars ahead of Avatar to become the world's top-grossing film of all time. Some Chinese film fans said they were unsure whether the movie would have a sustained wide appeal in the country. "I want to watch all the previous Star Wars films before I see the new one since, otherwise, I might not understand it," said 33-year-old Helen Lai. "But that's more than 13 hours. I'm not sure I'll have the time." The first three Star Wars movies were not released to the Chinese market in the 1970s and 1980s, when the country's economy was mostly closed to outsiders.
China still restricts foreign movie imports to 34 titles a year out of concern that opening up completely to the foreign market would damage its domestic film industry. The latest instalment of the blockbuster film franchise shattered the North American record of 760.5 million dollars set by 2009's Avatar on Wednesday.
Avatar remains the top-grossing film worldwide, with 2.8 billion dollars in earnings.