SCREENDAILY – Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is set be released in China on Jan 9, 2016, the Walt Disney Company has announced.

The JJ Abrams-directed entry in the blockbuster franchise will have its North American premiere on Dec 14 and its London premiere on December 15.

It will then open in several smaller European, MENA and Asian territories on Dec 16 and 17, before opening in North America and the UK on Dec 18, and India and Pakistan on Dec 25.

John Hsu, general manager of Disney’s Chinese studio, said: “We’re excited to be rolling out our marketing campaign and to connect with new fans in China through Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

This week, Ridley Scott’s Sci-Fi The Martian landed a strong $50m five-day opening in the China market, taking its international total to $326.9m to date, making it Ridley Scott’s biggest international release.

Disney will be hoping that The Force Awakens can repeat the success of 2015’s biggest international releases in China, which saw Jurassic World, Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Fast and Furious 7 all make it into the territory’s top ten highest grossing films of all time, with the latter grossing over $390m on its way to grossing $1.5bn worldwide.

The film’s Chinese poster has also been revealed.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – Organizers of the Dubai International Film Festival, set to take place Dec. 9-17, may well be hoping there isn’t a mass exodus of film fans on the penultimate day of the Middle East event.

In an announcement made Tuesday, Abu Dhabi, just an hour’s drive away, was revealed as the host for the regional premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Dec. 16.

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, had indeed been expected to claim hosting rights for the title, having providing its second major shooting location after the U.K.’s Pinewood Studios. A vast film set in the sand dunes was created for a 10-day shoot on the “frontier desert planet” of Jakku that took place in May of last year.

But with the region’s biggest film festival taking place just up the road, there had been some talk that Dubai might have been able to entice The Force Awakens into its screening schedule.

STAR WARS – Today in a special behind-the-scenes video, Harrison Ford surprised donors from around the world with the announcement of a new Omaze fundraising campaign in support of Star Wars: Force for Change’s mission to empower people to make an impact on the world around them. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will see two winners presented with tickets for them and three guests each to attend the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in either Los Angeles or London, walk the red carpet, and meet the cast.

Fifteen global causes were individually chosen by J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and the cast, which will benefit equally from the funds raised. Among the charities are UNICEF, Feeding America and Malala Fund. For as little as a $10 contribution made through the Omaze fundraising platform participants will be automatically entered for a chance to win and to help these incredible causes.

“A year and a half ago, we launched a brand new initiative called Star Wars: Force for Change that aims to inspire all of us to make a positive difference in the world,” said J.J. Abrams, director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and founder of Bad Robot Productions. “If you were among those who originally donated, thank you. But if you missed out, here’s your chance to join us. My favorite part: instead of benefiting just one cause, this time each member of the cast has nominated a cause they’re passionate about.”

“The Star Wars community blew us away in the last campaign by donating more than $4.26 million for UNICEF Innovation Labs and programs,” said Ryan Cummins, Omaze co-founder and co-CEO. “Omaze is honored to give Star Wars fans another once-in-a-lifetime experience thanks to Lucasfilm, Disney, and Bad Robot.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Premiere Grand Prize includes:

  • Two winners will get tickets for themselves and three guests each to the red carpet premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in London or Los Angeles
  • They will walk the red carpet and meet the cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and experience the magic of Star Wars on a silver screen for the first time in ten years.
  • Airfare and accommodation in a 4-star hotel is included

The campaign ends on December 4 at 11:59 p.m. PT.

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