While the latest entry in the Star Wars saga has quickly become one of the most financially successful films of all time, it's been an absolute flop in the Middle Kingdom.
"The Last Jedi has already been completely pulled from cinemas here," said Jimmy Wu, chairman of Chinese movie theater chain Lumiere Pavilions. "It's performed much worse than we could have expected."
Star Wars movies have typically struggled to perform in the People's Republic, though few were as dismal as The Last Jedi.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens made $124 million during its run, which was below Disney's estimates at the time, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story totaled $69 million. But Star Wars: The Last Jedi will fail to pass $50 million it seems as it's being dropped from screens across the nation.
The THR report states that films such as Valerian and Geostorm beat out The Last Jedi, totaling $62 million and $65.6 million respectively.
The original Star Wars trilogy came out during a time of unrest in the country, and the 1977 film never saw a wide release. So the market has never really caught on to "Star Wars fever" like many other countries across the globe. But after less-than-stellar but still decent outings from the previous two films in the franchise, the drop of The Last Jedi should be alarming for Disney.
"We've seen the Star Wars franchise downgrading across all key measures," said James Li of Chinese market research firm Fanink. "Force Awakens was generally above average, Rogue One was about average, and Last Jedi was below average in every category — and you see this reflected at the box office."
Star Wars: The Last Jedi was walloped at the box office, being trounced by romcom The Ex-Files 3: Return of the Exes, which became a smash hit and has grossed $275 million since opening one week before.
"Because of the complex characters and themes, the prequels, and all of the multi-generational layers that are part of the culture, or cult, of Star Wars, it's been hard for young Chinese filmgoers to get into the franchise," said Li. "Star Wars has no legacy here… It will require something fresh to win back the Chinese audience."
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now playing in theaters… except in China.0comments