Talk about mixed fortunes.
Just as Star Wars: The Last Jedi prepares to enter the all-time top 10 – it’s already left Iron Man 3 ($1.21 billion) and Minions ($1.15 billion) in the dust – Forbes brings word that the Lucasfilm sequel has been written off as a box office flop in China. Truth be told, the writing has been on the wall for a while now, after The Last Jedi failed to dethrone Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes in its second week of release. Ouch.
It gets worse, too, as Chinese theaters have pulled 92 of screenings for Star Wars: The Last Jedi – not that you can blame them, either, as Rian Johnson’s somewhat contentious sequel just experienced one of, if not the biggest Friday-to-Friday box office plunges on record. Last week, for instance, The Last Jedi scored an admittedly soft $9.4 million on its debut, before adding an additional $553,000 seven days later.
That’s a week-on-week drop of 94 percent, though we don’t expect to find The Biggest Friday-to-Friday Decline Ever in Lucasfilm’s trophy cabinet anytime soon.
To their credit, the Star Wars series has always struggled to leave much of an impression on Chinese audiences. Two years ago, The Force Awakens earned $124 million in the Middle Kingdom, before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story notched $69.5 million.
For the sake of perspective, Fate of the Furious stormed all the way to $400 million in China, so this staggering disparity doesn’t affect all Western blockbusters. And let’s face it, with over $1.2 billion already in the bank, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is still a resounding success, no matter which way you spin the box office numbers. It’s now expected to finish its run in the ballpark of $1.6 billion.