Record-breaking ‘Star Wars’ opens in China

BEIJING – The record-breaking “Star Wars” opened Saturday in China, where it is far from certain to draw in enough moviegoers to knock off “Avatar” as the world’s all-time biggest grossing movie. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is the highest ever grossing film in the North American market, where it was released three weeks ago.

But internationally, it still has a long way to go to beat “Avatar,” James Cameron’s science-fiction movie with blue aliens. The international box office of the latest “Star Wars” movie stands at $1.6 billion, compared to the $2.8 billion “Avatar” made in 2009.

Richard Huang, an analyst at Nomura Securities, expects the movie to roughly match the $229 million in Chinese box-office sales that “Jurassic World” generated last year.

Not many Chinese are familiar with “Star Wars.” The franchise’s three prequel films released from 1999 to 2005 were shown in China, but at a time when there were much fewer screens in the country.