'Star Wars' producer calls movie's success 'a huge surprise'

SHANGHAI -- The latest Star Wars movie broke the $1 billion mark before fans in China could see it, but producers anticipate "The Force Awakens" will play "very very well" in the world's second-biggest film market.

See Full Article

The film opens in China on Jan. 9.

Director J.J. Abrams watched the Chinese premiere in Shanghai with a Chinese audience Sunday night. He told a news conference Monday that he was thrilled to see people "laughing and cheering in exactly the same places that we've seen other audiences."

"It's a testament to the power of cinema, that it does not matter where you're from, you can get caught up in a story," Abrams said.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" took 12 days to earn $1 billion worldwide, becoming the fastest movie to achieve such a feat. The previous movie to reach $1 billion the fastest was "Jurassic World," which did it in 13 days in June -- and which had the benefit of record grosses in China.

"Star Wars" producer Kathleen Kennedy said the movie's success to date was "a huge surprise."

"We certainly hoped for enormous success but I think the fact that we crossed the billion-dollars ... it's almost so overwhelming it's difficult to really process just what the response has been to the movie so far, and it hasn't even opened here yet," she said.

"Certainly we're hoping and anticipating that it will play very very well here."

The Chinese market has become increasingly important for Hollywood as revenues from movie theatres stagnate at home. Some movies have incorporated Chinese characters or stories to try to appeal to the Chinese movie-going audience.

Asked whether "Star Wars" movies would do the same in the future, Kennedy said they had just finished shooting "Rogue One," the first stand alone "Star Wars" story. Hong Kong martial arts actor Donnie Yen and Chinese actor and director Jiang Wen have roles in it.

"They play wonderful characters and certainly there are many mythologies inside Chinese literature that I know we can explore in the future and find ways in which we can integrate some of those stories into the Star Wars universe," said Kennedy.


Latest Entertainment News

  • 'Gilmore Girls' fangirl writes cookbook inspired by TV show

    Entertainment CTV News
    Just in time for the highly anticipated return of "Gilmore Girls" next month, a fangirl has written a cookbook inspired by the caffeinated, fast-food, deep-fried-loving tastebuds of one of TV's most beloved mother-daughter duos. Fans of the show will undoubtedly have cleared November 25 on their calendars to watch the first of four episodes debuting on Netflix. Source
  • Salma Hayek: Trump made story up because she wouldn't date him

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Mexican actress Salma Hayek has accused U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump of telling tales about her after turning down his advances. The Frida star opened up about her links to the Republican during an appearance on radio show El Show del Mandril on Friday, and wanted to set the record straight about a story she claimed Trump’s associates leaked to the National Enquirer. Source
  • Gord Downie's Secret Path enhances his legacy

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Have you ever felt like you were witnessing history? I thought I was two months ago as The Tragically Hip wrapped up their Man Machine Poem tour in their hometown of Kingston and I was lucky enough to be inside the K-Rock Centre while about a third of the country watched it live on CBC. Source
  • Lindsay Lohan facing bankruptcy over unpaid rent: Reports

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Lindsay Lohan is allegedly facing bankruptcy after failing to pay the rent on her $4.3 million London flat. Lawyers for the landlord of the property, located in the exclusive Knightsbridge area of the British capital, have issued the 30-year-old with legal papers demanding payment of six months of overdue rent, totalling $95,000. Source
  • Nobel academy member calls Bob Dylan's silence 'arrogant'

    Entertainment CTV News
    STOCKHOLM -- A member of the Swedish Academy that awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature to Bob Dylan says the U.S. singer-songwriter's silence since receiving the honour is "impolite and arrogant." Per Wastberg said Dylan's lack of reaction was predictable but disrespectful nonetheless. Source
  • Donald Glover cast as Lando Calrissian in Han Solo film

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Donald Glover is joining the "Star Wars" universe. Disney announced Friday that the writer, actor and rapper will play Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Han Solo "Star Wars" film. Alden Ehrenreich was previously cast as the title character. Source
  • TV legend Carol Burnett signed to ABC sitcom project

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Carol Burnett fans: You'd be glad to have some more time together with this comedy legend, and she's likely headed back to series TV in a project Amy Poehler will executive produce. Source
  • ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 7 premiere: Who is Negan’s victim? We break down the odds

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Eeeny, meeny, miny, moe. Which Walking Dead character is going to go? AMC’s zombie apocalypse drama has never been shy about killing off the living as well as the undead. But the last season of The Walking Dead ended with a particularly cruel cliffhanger finale: after being captured by the charismatic, sadistic Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his ruthless gang of Saviors, Rick and pals were forced to kneel in a line while Negan introduced them to the new world order. Source
  • Donald Glover cast as Lando Calrissian in upcoming Star Wars spinoff

    Entertainment CBC News
    Actor and singer Donald Glover will be playing Lando Calrissian in the young Han Solo spin-off film from the Star Wars universe, Walt Disney Co. and Lucasfilm said on Friday. Glover, 33, creator and lead star of FX's new dramedy Atlanta, will play the role made famous by Billy Dee Williams in the original Star Wars films, 1980's The Empire Strikes Back and 1983's Return of the Jedi. Source
  • Donald Glover confirmed as Lando Calrissian in Han Solo 'Star Wars' spinoff

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES -- Former Community star Donald Glover is joining the Star Wars universe. Disney announced Friday that the writer, actor and rapper will play Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Han Solo Star Wars film. Alden Ehrenreich was previously cast as the title character. Source