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Vietnam Immune to 'Star Wars' Fever

Last weekend, moviegoers the world over collectively went insane over the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Fans of the franchise purchased tickets weeks in advance, the internet was abuzz with plot speculation and grown men proudly sported full Jedi regalia in public.

But while the newest chapter of the Star Wars saga was met with enthusiasm from nearly everyone on Earth – the film raked in a record-setting US$517 million during its opening weekend – Vietnam was not feeling the Force quite as much as the rest of the world, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Instead, it was the Korean Wave that dominated the domestic box office, as comedy-drama Em La Ba Noi Cua Anh (Sweet 20) – a South Korean-funded remake of the 2014 film Miss Granny, in which a 70-year-old woman magically finds herself in the body of a 20-year-old – overpowered Luke, Leia and the new generation of Star Wars characters.

While Disney did not release official figures on Vietnam's Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening weekend, the company did concede that its film had not taken the top spot. However CJ E&M, the producer of Em La Ba Noi Cua Anh, announced that its movie pulled in an impressive US$554,845 during its second weekend for a total of US$1.9 million altogether.

For its part, South Korea was equally taken with homegrown films, as adventure drama The Himalayas won out over Star Wars: The Force Awakens there, too.

Only time will tell how the Force fares in its few remaining markets – the film doesn't debut in India until later this week, while China has to wait until January 9 to lay eyes on the new flick – but Star Wars: The Force Awakens has its work cut out for it. In India, Bollywood's pull will be a formidable challenge, while China, the world's second-largest movie market, has little connection to the original trilogy.

Disney, however, has been wise enough to recognize that if you can't beat the Korean Wave, you join it: the company recently enlisted former K-pop star Lu Han, sometimes described as China's Justin Bieber, to be the face of its Chinese Star Wars campaign.

[Photo via SCPR]

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