When Star Wars: A New Hope was released in 1977, China was fresh off a Cultural Revolution that left the country blind to most of Western culture. Now, for the first time ever, A New Hope and the rest of the original Star Wars trilogy will be shown in Chinese cinemas, giving Chinese moviegoers a chance to experience one of the greatest works of science fiction.
While there aren’t yet plans to show the film in theaters nationwide, the Shanghai International Film Festival is screening all six Star Wars films this week, open to the general public.
Kerwin Lo, the vice president of Walt Disney China, said in an interview that part of the reason the films are finally being shown is to garner interest in December’s seventh installment in the series, explaining, “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 Jurassic World just set the record for the biggest weekend opening in history, a strong international showing could surely boost The Force Awakens past them just a few months from now. Finally allowing the series into Chinese cinemas is a strong step to bring new fans into the fold in time for the first new film in the series in 10 years.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is due out December 18th in the U.S. No Chinese release date has been set yet.