Star Wars needs big sales in China if it's to set a global box office record. Fred Katayama reports.
The force is awakening in China. Proof? Around 700,000 online mentions of the new Star Wars movie since the start of December, according to a Reuters analysis of posts on the popular microblog Sina Weibo. That's more than any other film got in China this year. That's good news for the film's studio, Disney. The company is carrying out a massive marketing campaign in China to promote "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." It has one goal in mind - to make Star Wars more familiar to Chinese viewers - who weren't able to watch the original films in movie theaters until June. Analysts say the online mentions don't guarantee success at the box office when the movie opens in China on January 9th. And Disney could face an uphill battle because Chinese don't have close ties to the franchise. But it needs Star Wars' newest episode to be a smash hit in China to take a spot among the top-grossing films of all time. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, China is quickly catching up with the United States in box office sales.