Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi has reportedly been pulled from all Chinese theaters two weeks after it released in the country. The highly-anticipated sequel to J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens marks the second chapter in Lucasfilm's Star Wars sequel trilogy and the third overall installment in their new Star Wars series under Walt Disney Studios' oversight. And while the movie has proven successful, it also became one of the most divisive installments of the franchise.
Shortly after The Last Jedi hit theaters in mid-December 2017, many moviegoers started voicing their discontent with Johnson's film. While it's arguable just how authentic the film's audience scores are, it's no secret that theater attendance is down sharply in comparison to The Force Awakens. Still, that doesn't mean the movie wasn't a commercial success. The Last Jedi quickly became the highest-grossing movie of 2017, surpassing Bill Condon's Beauty and the Beast (another Disney movie), and it even managed to cross the coveted billion-dollar mark in just over two weeks of release. And while it continues to blast past films on the global chart, it's not holding up overseas. A few days after being dropped from 92 percent of theaters in China, The Last Jedi has now been removed from Chinese theaters altogether.
In an interview with THR, Jimmy Wu, chairman of Chinese theater chain Lumiere Pavilions, said Star Wars: The Last Jedi is significantly underperforming in the country and has been removed from theaters as a result. He said: "The Last Jedi has already been completely pulled from cinemas here. It's performed much worse than we could have expected."
The Last Jedi earned $28.7 million in its opening weekend in China at the start of January. That number was the lowest of Lucasfilm's latest releases thus far; The Force Awakens grossed $52 million in its opening weekend, whereas Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opened to $30 million. While those movies went on to more than double their opening grosses in the country - with The Force Awakens earning $124 million and Rogue One taking in $69.5 million - The Last Jedi is, unfortunately, performing differently. Episode VIII added only $2.4 million in its second weekend in China. And now that it has reportedly been removed from all theaters, it will end its run in the world's second largest moviegoing market with only $31.1 million.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is undoubtedly an enormous success for Lucasfilm, especially when comparing the movie to the average blockbuster, but it's not performing as well as some might've thought (or hoped), certainly not in comparison to other Star Wars movies.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019