Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker has been confirmed for release in China, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. It’s due out on December 20, which is the same day the film is releasing in the rest of the world. This means that Star Wars fans in China will be able to enjoy the movie along with everyone else.
This is significant for a few reasons. China puts limits on the number of Hollywood movies allowed into the country each year–it used to be 34, but that number has been quietly relaxed in recent years as Hollywood films make huge money in the country. Some Hollywood franchises have found enormous success in China, including the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Fast & Furious movies (Furious 7 outgrossed The Force Awakens outside of America). The growing importance of China to Hollywood has led to an increase in Chinese co-financed productions, such as The Meg and Terminator: Dark Fate (which was made largely because of the success of Terminator: Genisys in China, but unfortunately has not performed well.)
It’s also significant because China has been far less exposed to Star Wars, with the original trilogy not releasing in the country until 2015, leading up to the release of The Force Awakens. Rogue One and The Last Jedi also performed poorly in the country upon release. However, Disney and Tecent have teamed up to release several Star Wars novels in Chinese for the first time, hoping to spark enthusiasm for the end of the saga. It remains to be seen whether the movie will make a significant profit in China or not.
The Rise of Skywalker is not expected to struggle at all in the USA, with (conservative) estimates putting its opening weekend at around $200 million. The Force Awakens remains the highest grossing release ever in the USA, bringing in $936,662,225 domestically.