China Expat & Travel Blogger. ATTRACTIONS & THINGS TO DO IN CHINA. See My Fun TRAVEL Adventures in China!
I can’t believe I had to wait a full 22 days for Star Wars: The Force Awakens to hit theaters across China. In just a few days after its release in America, the internet was flooded with film reviews, spoilers, box office stats, and comments about the film that only managed to amplify my desire to see the movie.
To make matters worse, there were Star Wars: The Force Awakens ads everywhere across Chinese websites and bus stops scattered around Kunshan, the city where I lived.
And because I actually lived in China, I was personally there to witness the trending topic of John Boyega—a Black Englishmen and co-lead of the film—and his image being downsized on the movie's poster to reportedly grant bigger space for the film's more recognizable, international star Harrison Ford. Let’s just say that it wasn’t a decision I agreed with no matter how much Hollywood would dismiss it as being “just business”, but I digress.
The day started with a trip to Shanghai. My girlfriend and I landed in Pudong around 10:00am to sign the contract for my new apartment, thus securing the next chapter of my life in a city of some 24 million people.
While in Shanghai I also noticed plenty of Star Wars: The Force Awakens ads at EVERY metro station.
We arrived back in Kunshan around 4:30pm. There was a big group of us heading out to see the movie that night—13 to be exact—and my first order of business was to buy all of our tickets online. It turns out that Kunshan’s sole IMAX theater had already sold out its 7:30pm showing and the next show time wasn’t until 10:10pm, but at 150RMB a head, we figured it was best to catch the 8:20pm show at Auchan.
With the tickets bought, we hopped in a taxi around 6:20pm to meet up with the others and grab a bite to eat before the movie.
Before long we arrived at Auchan and the infamous ladies of square dancing were out in full.
We met our friends at a Korean BBQ restaurant, where we scarfed down Korean rice bowls and drunk out of 2 pitchers of Soju mixed with beer. By 8:10pm we paid the tab and left to the theater.
It was Saturday night and the entrance to the theater was pretty crowded, but it definitely wasn't as densely packed as, let’s say, when Fast and Furious 7 hit the big screen. Now that was a momentous occasion.
Some of the crew snagged some popcorn and drinks while others made their way to the ticket check. And then it happened. My friend—who shall remain nameless—suddenly exclaimed that he couldn’t find his ticket. Are you f**king kidding me!
We missed the first 10 minutes of the movie before he arrived back with his tickets. Turns out he left them at the Korean BBQ restaurant.
And so there we were, inside and finally catching Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Aside from the few people answering phone calls, chatting on WeChat, and snapping photos of the screen to post on social media, we watched the movie without a hitch.
I found it exciting to see a group of new, younger, and diverse stars leading the film. Everything else, including the laughable Abercrombie model villain, return of Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca, miscellaneous characters, and overall storyline, I felt, were completely irrelevant and EXTREMELY rushed.
In fact, by the time the credits rolled many of us were confused as to what we had just witnessed, with my friend going so far as to claim that he ‘d boycott the next Star Wars films if Disney produced them. Now that was funny!
Regardless of the outcome, January 9th, 2016 was a great night for avid Star Wars fans in China. Later I’d see tons of photos and stories of other expats in the country detailing their experience catching the flick on opening day.
By Monday I found out that the movie grossed some 50 million dollars opening weekend, which was a truly amazing feat. And with 2016’s lineup of highly anticipated blockbuster movies around the way, including Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Independence Day: Resurrection, I can’t wait to tell you all about my next movie night adventure in China!