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After impressing both critically and commercially in the United States and other international territories, Star Trek Beyond finally opened this past weekend in China, a country that's become one of the most important cinematic markets in recent years. The third adventure featuring the rebooted Enterprise crew got off to a great start, making $31.3 million in its debut and boosting the movie's worldwide haul to over $131 million. Needless to say, this was a fantastic opening weekend in China, and it was thanks to key investment support for the new Star Trek movie.
As reported by Deadline, Star Trek Beyond's China showing was backed by Alibaba and Huahua Media, who created a targeted promotional campaign to get moviegoers in the country excited for the movie. This included dedicating an entire episode of the popular variety series Happy Camp to the movie, where stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana showed up to participate. As an added bonus, Happy Camp's co-host Xie Na and her husband Zhang Jie have a huge following on the social media site Weibo, allowing them to plug the movie even further, with Zhang acting as the "film's Chinese ambassador." Thanks to this campaign and the other efforts from these media groups, Star Trek Beyond ended up scoring the top spot on the international box office chart.
Summer 2016 hasn't been a great season for blockbusters, but it's been even worse in China. As Deadline noted, while August has seen some improvement with movies like Jason Bourne and Ice Age: Collision Course, for the most part the Chinese box office just hasn't hasn't been doing well, especially when you factor in how Ghostbusters and Suicide Squad weren't released in the country. Fortunately, Star Trek Beyond has helped even the scales a little bit, getting off to a bigger start than Star Trek Into Darkness did in China in 2013, as well as soaring past the $30 million the movie earned in other offshore markets in late July.
Taking place approximately two and a half years after Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Trek Beyond follows the Enterprise crew being marooned on a strange planet after the ship is destroyed by a horde of drone ships. Once on the surface, they have to fight for survival and prevent main antagonist Krall (played by Idris Elba) and his forces from carrying out an even bigger attack on the Federation. The Star Trek movie series is already slated to continue with Star Trek 4, which will see the return of Chris Hemsworth as George Kirk, Captain James T. Kirk's father, who perished aboard the Kelvin at the beginning of 2009's Star Trek.
Star Trek Beyond is still showing in theaters all over, and make sure to click here to read our review of the movie.