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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

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.

RELATED – Star Wars: [SPOILER]’s Death Allowed For Paradigm Shift In The Last Jedi

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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SOURCE: THR

  • Kratos

    “sum-ting-wong”, CHINA said.

  • Vector

    “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.”

    Really? I see no evidence of that. In fact, wouldn’t the success of the Fast & Furious (and others) franchise in China be a strong counterpoint?

    • Joseph Jammer Medina

      That’s a valid point.

  • Kronx

    It’s no shock it hasn’t caught on. There are 12 films, but this is episode 8 (if you count the Ewok films).

    We can’t even agree on the right order to watch the films.

  • TheFrank

    When Star Wars first premiered in 1977, a lot of people used it for their own agendas. One of those agendas was that Darth Vader and the Empire represented Communism and the Soviet Union. Before you laugh, my sister owns a paperback book that makes the argument that “Star Wars” (not the franchise, just the movie “A New Hope” because that’s all that there was at the time) is really just a commentary on Christianity versus Paganism. Seriously.

    Obviously, this comparison (which was more popular than people realize today) drew the ire of communist-minded people and the communist countries that loved them. Lest we forget, the nickname for one of USA’s missile-defense systems was called “Star Wars.”

    As a result, Star Wars never caught on in places like Russia & China, much like I’m sure that there won’t be any enthusiastic viewing parties for “Wolf Warrior 2” in the US (since, from what I’m told, America is not placed in high regards in that film).

    However, shamelessly pandering to China by adding locales and actors to movies for no other reason but to get foreign box office draw has had mixed results at best.

    In the end, it’s the movie that makes the money. The Chinese audience has their own tastes and Hollywood sometimes matches it and sometimes they don’t. With TLJ, they didn’t.

  • Kindofabigdeal

    They should have Ang Lee or Zhang Yimou do a Jedi/Sith war that delves deep into each orders philosophies. It should be pre-sabers and everyone uses vibroswords. The stylized jumps and fights will make sense because of the force. Now we should have significant Chinese casts, but also try to integrate international stars like how the Matrix did. Then we will see box office dividends on both ends.

  • Rad4Cap

    “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.”

    Yeah – that explains why TFA one did so well. :eyeroll:

    It is NEVER the FILM’S fault. It’s the VIEWER’S fault.

    This broken record is getting boring – and shameless.

  • jonathing

    show all 3 at the late night picture show at a discount rate then watch the merchandise sales come in sweeten deal by not charging print rental

  • Mr Smart

    China is a relatively tiny market and not worth all this discussion. The real victory is promoting the right values and a movie that has several empowered femayle leads. Star Wars 9 was a major milestone and victory and is a massive success. The only reason this movie failed in China was due to the tension dRUMPF created in that region with his insane tweets about starting WW3 with North Koera, anyway.

    • KilliK’s mother

      You are SO enlightened and forward thinking that you have seen the results of Star Wars 9 before they have even filmed it!

    • jonathing

      cancelled us tv shows have stayed alive by being saved by chinas tv viewers prison break being one them

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.