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Star Wars Episode III Hits China Screens

The long-awaited sixth and final installment of the Star Wars epic, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, hit Chinese movie screens in major cities including Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Guangzhou on May 20, just a day after its international premiere.

Beijing, however, can boast about an earlier peek screening of the movie on May 18. Stella theater in the Haidian District began selling tickets for the premiere on May 13. The sold-out screening saw some fans turn up in full Star Wars regalia.

Local celebrities like Xu Jinglei and Wu Qilong were there to add a touch of glamour to the night's events.

Daniel R. Glickman, president of the US Motion Picture Association, too, attended the premiere, and was on-hand to explain the film's plot to fans.

Xiang Ming, general supervisor of 20th Century Fox China Affairs, commented that the Star Wars films are masterpieces, and was very optimistic about the film's box office performance in China.

Box office takings were relatively small for the first half of this year -- only 50 million yuan (about US$6 million). "Because the summer heavyweights haven't been released, a box-office surge is sure to come after Star Wars, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and some other films."

Episode III is expected to rake in 70-80 million yuan (US$8.46-9.67 million) in China, according to the film's distributors.

(China.org.cn by Li Xiao, May 20, 2005)

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