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The debut of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, brought out generations of fans of the legendary franchise with a record-setting opening night, CNN Money reports.

The J.J. Abrams-directed film pulled in $57 million at Thursday night’s U.S. box office, knocking out Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 for the biggest pre-opening in box office history. The Force Awakens also set records in the U.K., Ireland, and Germany before its premiere in the States.

So far, the movie has received positive reviews. Popular review site Rotten Tomatoes has the film at a 95 percent rating. The final scenes of the film have also been widely appreciated and were described as “tear-jerking” and “breathtaking.”

President Barack Obama also mentioned the film during his End Of The Year news conference. “OK everybody, I’ve got to get to Star Wars,” Obama said. He will be hosting a screening at the White House for children and families of war veterans.

Stormtroopers even burst into the room following the conference.

John Boyega, who plays stormtrooper Finn, was also a hit with fans. After the trailer was released earlier this year, many voiced their disdain for the film’s first Black leading character. On the other hand, many African-American sci-fi fans were stoked to see Boyega with a lightsaber in hand.

The International Business Times spoke to Danny Simmons, artist and co-creator of the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. He reiterated that many fans of comic books and sci-fi are African-American.

The IBT reports:

“If you’re going into a comic book store these days, there are so many black kids and kids of color running around in those places, spending huge amounts of dollars keeping this industry alive,” said Danny Simmons, a New York City comics fan who has been anticipating the “Star Wars” movie.

“Twenty years ago, he co-founded the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation with his brother, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, in part to increase minority representation in the art world and expand the idea of who fits under the science fiction umbrella, he said. “How come they don’t complain when white people are supplanted for historically black people in movie adaptations of the Bible? I think it’s a bunch of junk,” he said.

“Every superhero needs to evolve,” Simmons, 60, said. “What difference does the color make?”

Vox recently reported that many have taken advantage of the race debate in Hollywood in regards to Star Wars. There have been other actors of color in the franchise like Samuel L. Jackson, James Earl Jones, and Billy Dee Williams, but MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry spoke candidly about the film over the weekend and called it racist.

Regardless of the naysayers, fans are thrilled to see the film and have placed their own spin on the characters, including these cool fan art clips:

Will you be checking out The Force Awakens? Let us know in the comments below.

SOURCE: Vox, CNN Money, IBT | VIDEO CREDIT: Inform, YouTube | PHOTO CREDIT: Twitter


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“Star Wars” Breaks Records With $57 Million Debut, African-American Sci-Fi Fans Analyze Genre  was originally published on