Things to Do in Kunshan, China + ATTRACTIONS + UNIQUE EXPERIENCES. SEE MY TRAVEL ADVENTUReS IN KUNSHAN! | by a FORMER Kunshan Expat
I can’t believe I had to wait a full 22 days for Star Wars: The Force Awakens to hit theatres across China. A few days after its release in America, the internet was flooded with endless film reviews, spoilers, box office stats, and posts about the film that only managed to amplify my desire to see the movie. In addition, I caught wind of Star Wars: The Force Awakens ads everywhere across Chinese websites, subway stations in Shanghai, and bus stops scattered throughout Kunshan, the city in which I lived.
I was also on-hand to witness to the trending topic of John Boyega—a Black Englishmen and co-lead of the film—and his image being reduced in size on the movie poster to supposedly allow greater space for the more recognizable Harrison Ford, with the hope that it would help to sway more of the Chinese audience into heading to the theaters. 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 began with a trip to Shanghai. My girlfriend and I headed there around 10:00am to sign the contract for my new apartment, thus securing the next chapter of my life in the city of some 24 million people.
While transiting back and forth on the metro, I noticed plenty of Star Wars: The Force Awakens ads at every station.
I saw several fathers take their sons over to examine the posters, while the majority of the crowds simply caught a glimpse of the ads as they rushed to catch the next subway.
After handling paperwork and finalizing a few things, 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 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, at 150rmb a head. With that in mind, we figured it was best to catch the 8:20pm show at Auchan.
With the tickets successfully bought, my girlfriend and I hopped in a taxi around 6:20pm to meet up with the others for a bite to eat before the movie. It was rush hour and the roads were jam-packed with cars and e-bikes, but the anticipation of finally seeing the film kept us enthusiastic and motivated.
Before long we arrived at Auchan.
The infamous ladies of square dancing were out in full, so I snapped a few photos to capture the moment.
After awhile we met up with our friends and ended up at a Korean BBQ restaurant on the 4th floor. We drunk out of 2 pitchers of Soju mixed with beer and mostly stuffed down Korean rice bowls. Around 8:10pm we paid the tab and headed to the theater.
It was Saturday night and the entrance to the theater was pretty crowded, but not as densely packed as it was when, let’s say, Fast and Furious 7 hit the big screen.
Some of the crew snagged some popcorn and drinks while others made their way to the ticket check. Everything was smooth, and then suddenly, my friend—who shall remain nameless—suddenly exclaimed that he couldn’t find his ticket! Arrgh!
After anxiously waiting for him and missing the first 10 minutes of the movie, he had finally arrived with the tickets in tow. Turns out that he left them at the Korean BBQ restaurant! By the time we stumbled into the movie, Finn, cloaked in Storm Trooper gear, had already been plotting Poe’s escape.
Aside from a few people answering phone calls, chatting on WeChat, and snapping photos of the screen to post in their Moments during the action, we watched the movie without a hitch. Without going into too much detail, I found it exciting to see the new, younger, and diverse co-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, 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!
Regardless of the outcome, January 9th, 2016 was a great night for avid Star Wars fans in China. Later, I’d encounter tons of photos and stories of other foreigners across China about their experience catching the flick on opening day. By Monday I had 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!
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