Even more crucial than the plans to the Death Star, “Rogue One” has finally landed a Chinese release date. It will debut on January 6, 2017, similar to the January 2016 opening given to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Disney is hoping for big ticket sales in China for “Rogue One,” but it faces a bit of an uphill battle. The “Star Wars” franchise does not have the same cultural cache in China as in the United States, and it’s shown in the sales for previous films. For example, “The Force Awakens,” which dominated the U.S. box office, was only Disney’s twelfth best performer at the Chinese box office for 2016.
However, two of China’s biggest stars have supporting roles in “Rogue One” — and their characters even have a great bromance. Donnie Yen plays Chirrut Imwe, a blind, spiritual warrior-monk, while Jiang Wen plays his more practical brother-in-arms Baze Malbus, a hard-hitting, heavily armed soldier.
Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm, recently spoke to CBR about how the growing importance of markets like China influenced the movie’s more diverse casting. “I think having a cast that represents and reflects the world today, and having characters that people can relate to all over the world — this is very much a global industry,” she said, “Films mean something to people all over the world.”
As the world’s second-largest film market after the United States, and with the potential to eclipse the United States in the next few decades, China can massively increase a movie’s international box office. However, movies must first receive the approval of the Chinese government, which is not always guaranteed; “Deadpool” and “Suicide Squad” are just two recent examples that were banned from Chinese theaters as a result of their content.
“Rogue One,” however, has been given the go-ahead.
Set outside of the main sequel trilogy that began with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Rogue One” is set just before 1977’s “Star Wars” and details the Rebel plot to steal the Death Star plans from the Empire. Directed by Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla,” “Monsters”) from a script by Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz, “Rogue One” stars Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna and Riz Ahmed.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opens on December 16 in the United States, and on January 6 in China.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)
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