Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One is packed full of references to the last thirty years of geek culture in the West, with cameos featuring everything from Back to the Future’s DeLorean to the Nintendo 64 classic GoldenEye 007 and even the Battletoads.

But this ode to Western pop culture is extremely popular in China -- with an audience that may be unfamiliar with many of the film’s references.

Warner Bros. China said on its official Weibo account that Ready Player One has earned over 800 million yuan (US$126 million) in China, more than the US$68.3 million gross so far in its home market.

Ready Player One is filled with geeky references. (Picture: Warner Bros.)

On China’s most popular review site Douban, the movie scores a 9.0, with over 263,000 people submitting a rating.

Some viewers admitted it was hard to follow all the pop culture references, but still enjoyed it anyway. One of the most upvoted comments says “It opens my eyes! For a gaming rookie like me, Ready Player One is indeed confusing… but it’s still a joyful and satisfying experience.”

And there are now countless number of stories in Chinese media dedicated to helping people understand the film’s references. The most upvoted long review on Douban says it breaks down “all 119 Easter Eggs in Ready Player One”. On China’s Q&A platform Zhihu, similar to Quora, the question “What are the hidden Easter Eggs and fun details in Ready Player One?” received 928 answers.

But beyond the geeky cameos, part of the reason for the film’s success may simply be that it’s a fun movie.

One user on Douban said: “Does the screenplay have logical problems? Are there problems with the characters’ motivation? Maybe. But nobody gives a ****!”