A Disney executive recently responded to the low audience scores for Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi. The second installment in Lucasfilm's Star Wars sequel trilogy is now out in theaters and not only continues the story that started with J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens but lays the foundation for Abrams' 2019 film, Star Wars: Episode IX - the concluding chapter in the long-running Skywalker saga.
The Last Jedi is off to a strong start at the box office, earning an estimated $220 million domestically (the second-highest of all-time, behind The Force Awakens' approximately $248 million opening gross) and $450 million total globally, thus garnering the film the fifth highest-grossing opening weekend of all-time at the worldwide box office. Although The Last Jedi's Tomatometer score (93 percent) on Rotten Tomatoes is on par with The Force Awakens, the audience score is tied for the franchise's lowest audience rating of 57 percent. The same can be said for the film's audience ratings on both IMDb and Metacritic. And now, a Disney executive has responded to those scores.
Walt Disney Studios president of theatrical distribution Dave Hollis responded to Star Wars: The Last Jedi's low audience scores in a statement to Deadline this afternoon. Here's what he said:
“Rian Johnson, the cast, and the Lucasfilm team have delivered an experience that is totally Star Wars yet at the same time fresh, unexpected and new. That makes this a Star Wars film like audiences have never seen – it’s got people talking, puzzling over its mysteries, and it’s a lot to take in, and we see that as all positive, that should help set the film up for great word-of-mouth and repeat viewing as we enter the lucrative holiday period.”
While many people have expressed frustration with Lucasfilm's latest Star Wars outing - particularly the film's sophomoric humor and what some consider to be disappointing character reveals - it's also possible that the film's user scores have been brought down by design to its strange low level. User ratings typically fall in-line with critic scores, but stark divides do occur from time-to-time, especially with blockbuster films (e.g. Justice League). And since user scores are open to everyone, someone can bring down a film's rating just for pleasure.
Regardless of what's actually happening with Episode VIII's audience scores on IMDb, Metacritic, and Rotten Tomatoes, social media reactions prove that not everyone was satisfied with Johnson and Lucasfilm's decisions in The Last Jedi - but none of that has affected the film's box office performance... yet.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019