The box office hit "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is set for wide release in several countries this weekend, and industry analysts are watching China with particular interest. The 1.3 billion-person nation could push the latest "Star Wars" chapter over the threshold of international box office records set by “Avatar,” CNBC reported Thursday.
"A big studio film can expect to have anywhere from two-thirds to 40 percent of its total global box office coming from the international market," Daniel Loría, BoxOffice Media's managing editor, told CNBC. "China, for example, is a huge market, that was nowhere near the size it is today back when the last ['Star Wars'] film was released," he said.
Disney said "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has shattered records in North America, grossing $764 million through Wednesday, Forbes reported. The film reunited some of the series’ most popular characters and actors, including Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Harrison Ford as Han Solo, achieving critical and commercial success.
— Star Wars (@starwars) January 7, 2016
The lucrative franchise, sold by creator George Lucas to Disney in 2012, has now set its sights on breaking international records. James Cameron's 2009 blockbuster "Avatar" currently holds the international revenue record with $2.8 billion. "Star Wars" had earned $1.5 billion worldwide as of Thursday and would need a boost from large international markets such as China to push past "Avatar."
Industry analysts told International Business Times earlier this week presales of “Star Wars” tickets in China had been underwhelming and could signal a slow weekend. Presales for midnight premieres Friday hovered around 2.2 million yuan, or $330,000 Monday, said Jonathan Papish, an industry analyst for China Film Insider, with Saturday tickets reaching 8.7 million yuan, or $1.3 million.