'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Will Open in China Earlier Than Expected

Many people consider the Star Wars saga to be a worldwide phenomenon and, while the films regularly perform well in a variety of international markets, the overseas box office numbers rarely compare to the series' success in the United States. Possibly to help capitalize on global buzz, the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story will reportedly make its debut in China on May 25th, the same day it hits theaters in North America.

A new trend with blockbuster releases is to debut in a handful of foreign markets a few days before a film's release in North America, while other regions must wait weeks, or even months, for the film to debut. The Star Wars films have regularly debuted a substantial amount of time after a North American release, and, with China being the second-largest box office market, marks a movie's final push for their final numbers.

The official strategy behind this approach is unclear, although it could be an attempt to get the film out before the arrival of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, a franchise which has worldwide appeal. Additionally, with Solo: A Star Wars Story requiring little to no knowledge about the rest of the franchise, the film could be a good opportunity to introduce Chinese audiences to the galaxy far, far away.

Despite being such a large market, the Star Wars saga has failed to make a major impact in China for a number of reasons.

With The Last Jedi being the third Star Wars film released in three consecutive years, China is seemingly overwhelmed by the amount of content necessary to understand the whole story. The Last Jedi was pulled from virtually every screen after less than three weeks, with its opening weekend numbers failing to even surpass Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

“For a lot of fans, the story of Rogue One made us think of our own country’s revolutionary history,” Chen Tao, who runs a Chinese Star Wars fan forum, pointed out. “A lot of characters in it were just like the Communist Party members who sacrificed themselves for the revolution.”

The earlier release date isn't the only tweak to the film's release in China, as the film will reportedly be released with the title "Ranger Solo." This will help prevent audiences from being overwhelmed by feeling as though they need to have seen the previous nine Star Wars films to understand Solo's plot.

Solo: A Star Wars Story lands in theaters on May 25th.

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[H/T The Hollywood Reporter]