Star Wars hits China with Great Wall stunt

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Disney held a promotion event for its new Stars Wars: The Force Awakens on the Great Wall in Beijing, China recently ahead of the movie’s global premiere in December.

The latest trailer for the Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted on Oct 19 and quickly attracted more than 17,000 tweets per minute, according to Twitter, and was viewed on YouTube more than 220,000 times within the first 20 minutes.

Tickets for the film’s US release on Dec 18 went on pre-sale at the same time as the trailer, with US ticket seller Fandango crashing temporarily.

A Chinese version trailer was released on Oct 20 during the event at the Great Wall, which attracted over two hundred Star Wars fans to China’s iconic landmark.

Wang Xu, 36, who came all the way from Shanghai for the commercial event, said he was growing with Star Wars.

“It’s been 30 years since the first time I watched the Star Wars series. I grew up with it, and it made me fall in love with movies, especially science fiction movies like Star Wars. The affection for Star Wars has not eased in past 30 years. As more episodes were released, the affection increased dramatically. So I felt very excited to watch this trailer and to participate in this event. I registered to take part in the event immediately after I learned about it,” said Wang.

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Fans holding toy lightsabers arrive at Juyongguan section of the Great Wall of China for a promotional event for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

“Actually I don’t watch science fiction movies much. I was here with my friend today. But I still felt so excited after watching this latest trailer with great effects. I look forward to its release and I will go watch it in theatre with my friends,” said 23-year-old student Liu Zhenwei.

The film is expected to gross about US$100mil (RM420mil) in North America on its opening weekend, Rentrak’s senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said, adding that it could earn over US$2bil (RM8.4bil) globally.

Star Wars, created by filmmaker George Lucas, has grossed more than US$4.4bil (RM18.48bil) globally since 1977 with six films. The Force Awakens is the first of three new “Star Wars” movies being produced by Disney since it purchased the Lucasfilm franchise in 2012 for US$4.05bil (RM17.01bil).

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to open in the US and Malaysia on Dec 18 and is expected to hit Chinese theatres early next year. – Reuters

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Impresive line of Stormtroopers at the Great Wall of China.