After only a week in China it looks like The Last Jedi may have already worn out its welcome, with showings of the latest Star Wars movie apparently plummeting by over 90%. Though the film has predictably done incredibly well domestically, it’s been previously noted that the film is having a rough time in China, even in its opening weekend. The Last Jedi only pulled in $28.7 million in its Chinese debut, setting it up to be a box office bomb in the region.
Admittedly it was always going to be difficult for a movie to reach the heights that The Force Awakens did, which garnered over $2 billion worldwide during its entire run. With that being the first Star Wars movie in years, the fanfare for the film was at an unmatched high. Duplicating that kind of success would have been an incredible feat.
Still, The Last Jedi has not done badly by any means, recently crossing $1.2 billion in the worldwide box office. Even though it had only been in theaters less than a month when 2017 ended, it was still the highest grossing movie of 2017. So the overall news is hardly terrible for the film. Though even with its impressive box office numbers there has been a huge disparity in reviews between critics and fans on Rotten Tomatoes, with it currently sitting at 90% from critics and just 49% from audiences reviews.
Apparently viewers in China are even less enamored with the franchise right now, as according to Forbes showings of The Last Jedi will drop this Friday from 34.5% of the area’s screenings to just 2.6%. The Last Jedi even earned less in its opening weekend than local comedy The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes which was already in its second week. Here now at the end of its debut week, The Last Jedi has only earned $34.2 million after a disappointing seven days. With screenings of the movie now set to plummet, that low revenue number is highly unlikely to increase by any significance.
For comparison, The Force Awakens finished out its Chinese box office just shy of $125 million, bringing in over $50 million in its first week alone. Given that drastic fall in numbers, it’s hard to imagine what the box office for Episode IX might be, if it even gets a Chinese release following The Last Jedi’s flat reception. Perhaps Chinese audiences simply don’t have the emotional connection to the franchise that Western fans do, with many English-speaking fans fondly able to recall seeing the original trilogy starting back in the ‘70s. Regardless of what the explanation for the disparity is, it will definitely hurt the Star Wars franchise’s ability to soar to new box office heights seeing as how China is the second biggest movie market in the world.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in theaters now.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019