China has been an economic powerhouse for a few decades now. As recently as 2011, economic data show they make the vast majority of personal computers, air conditioners, solar cells and mobile phones that are produced in the world. Of course, no one needs economic data to realize this. Just look at the label on over half the things you buy. China has also been gradually opening up as a society. Only Chinese films used to be shown in movie theaters in this country of well over a billion people. This has been changing recently as the number of theaters there has jumped by ten times in the last decade and a half. As one sign of how culturally isolated the Chinese had been for so long, the original three Star Wars movies were only just shown there this June 16.

Some may have downloaded pirated copies of the movies, but this is the first time anyone living in China has seen them on the big screen. The reaction was somewhat mixed but overall positive. Keith Mann reports that it got a rating of 8.3 out of 10 from viewers as well as tens of thousands of comments. Some were blown away by how good the special effects were for 1977. Presumably, it was the original copies of the original movies shown, therefore, and not the 1997 remakes with a few updated scenes. It is amazing to think that over a billion people were deprived of the awesomeness that is the original Star Wars trilogy for so long.

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