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'Star Wars' ticket sales cross US$100m at China box office
[TOKYO] Walt Disney Co.'s "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" led China's box office for a second week, pushing ticket sales in the world's second-largest movie market past US$100 million.
The seventh installment of the space epic created by George Lucas generated 658.9 million yuan (S$143.8 million) at 14:20 pm local time on Tuesday, after debuting in China earlier this month, according to researcher Entgroup Inc.
Disney is counting on China to bolster earnings from the epic after buying the "Star Wars" franchise in 2012 and announcing plans to make more installments. While the latest episode slipped from first place to third this past weekend in the US, Nomura Holdings Inc estimates it will bring in US$230 million over its full run in mainland China cinemas.
China, where ticket sales grew almost 50 per cent last year, is seen by analysts as becoming the biggest movie market in the world as soon as 2017. The last three "Star Wars" movies, released in China between 1999 and 2005, generated less than US$20 million in ticket sales in the country, according to Box Office Mojo.