Try as they might, the Star Wars franchise can’t seem to work their Jedi Mind Tricks on China. While Star Wars: The Force Awakens had an admirable performance of around $124 million back in 2015, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s $69 million performance hinted at a downward trajectory for the franchise in the territory.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi was already off to a terrible start in its first weekend, only taking $28 million in its opening weekend (which didn’t even match Rogue One’s $30 million opening. Then, in its second weekend, The Last Jedi was pulled from 92 percent of theaters, making way for plenty of homegrown efforts from China. This resulted in its second weekend plummeting to $2.4 million.
Now, it sounds like the country has given up on The Last Jedi altogether. Jimmy Wu, chairman of nationwide Chinese cinema chain Lumiere Pavilions, has revealed to THR that the film is completely gone from theaters:
“The Last Jedi has already been completely pulled from cinemas here. It’s performed much worse than we could have expected.”
What’s the problem? Well, China never really got the original films were never really released wide, and as a result, there is very little connection viewers have with the material. Plus, with each film leaning heavier on its legacy, it certainly doesn’t help its accessibility.
“Star Wars has no legacy here,” Wu told the outlet. “It will require something fresh to win back the Chinese audience.”
Sadly, it’s becoming more and more obvious that if Hollywood wants to have big success in China, they’ll have to cater specific projects to that demographic. Though the big question is whether or not some sensibilities will carry over to America as well.
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