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Hong Kong watched THIS instead of ‘Star Wars’

Jessica Hartogs, Special to CNBC

The winner of one of Asia's top film awards is a controversial low-budget movie that cost approximately $70,000 to make and outstripped "Star Wars" in Hong Kong with its depiction of the former colony under stricter Chinese control.

"Ten Years," which on Sunday picked up the Best Film at the 35th Hong Kong's Film Awards, depicts Hong Kong in 2025 completely under mainland China's control.

It imagines a Hong Kong where Cantonese is replaced by Mandarin, and includes scenes with children in uniform policing adults, reminiscent of the child Red Guards of China's violent 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, reports the BBC.

"'Ten Years' exposed the fear of Hong Kong people (towards China)," said one of the film's directors, Chow Kwun-wai, according to the BBC.

Unsurprisingly, the movie has been banned in mainland China.

Martin Puddy | Getty Images

In Hong Kong however, although the movie played in fewer than 10 theaters and only had a run of eight weekends, it made nearly 6 million Hong Kong dollars ($773,704), more than 10 times what it cost to make, reported Quartz.

The movie outperformed the new "Star Wars" film in at least one theater when it opened (both movies opened in the same week), and bested the Disney blockbuster in box office earnings in Hong Kong in three out of four weekends, even though it played in far fewer theaters, according to Quartz.

The Hong Kong Film Awards ceremony was not broadcast in mainland China as it usually is, reported the BBC, and the Chinese state-media has mostly ignored the awards in its coverage of the weekend's news.

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