Last updated: 04:46 PM ET, Tue June 16 2015

'Star Wars' Franchise Comes to China With First Movie Screenings Ever

Entertainment | Gabe Zaldivar | June 16, 2015

'Star Wars' Franchise Comes to China With First Movie Screenings Ever

Image via YouTube

Chinese movie fans finally got to see what might be the most popular franchise in the world as the Shanghai International Film Festival screens all six “Star Wars” movies for the first time in the country.

The only bad side is the obvious hours they have to suffer through Episode 1.

AFP, via, reports the George Lucas classic that is renowned throughout all corners of American pop culture has made its way into China almost 40 years since “Star Wars: A New Hope” opened in 1977 to great pomp.

The report reminds that while the movie’s blockbuster opening garnered five subsequent movies and a new iteration due out later this year in the form of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” it was ignored by Chinese cinema.

AFP explains, “In 1977 as foreign audiences followed the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia ‘a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,’ China had just emerged from the chaotic Cultural Revolution and had yet to launch economic reforms which would transform the Communist-ruled country.”

Around the same time American moviegoers eagerly awaited what was a promising romp through the stars:

An archived ABC News video illustrates the crush of fans garnered from a celebration outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (now the TCL Chinese Theatre):

The franchise has spawned various animated series, lines of toys including popular Lego fare and an ongoing convention for Jedi nerds to revel in their galactic joy.

It’s amazing to think that the most populated country had yet screened the movies in a theater, marking this as a momentous occasion for fans in China.

AFP reports screenings started on Sunday but that the reception was as you would expect as Tuesday’s showings were “nearly sold out.”

AFP spoke with Kerwin Lo who is the vice president and general manager of Walt Disney Studios China.

Lo had this to say about the occasion: “This will be the first-ever theatrical screening of the original trilogy in China. The huge buzz and excitement generated is going to be great for the Star Wars franchise and the upcoming 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’”

While many have undoubtedly seen the movies through other means, seeing such vibrant characters on a giant movie screen is a special moment every movie aficionado should have the opportunity to enjoy.

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