Star Wars: The Last Jedi Yanked From Chinese Theaters After Dismal Box Office Run


No, you read that right.

Proving the Force is not strong with Chinese audiences, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been unceremoniously yanked from all cinemas in the Middle Kingdom following a truly dismal box office run.

The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop, revealing that The Last Jedi is no longer screening in China – hardly surprising, given its admittedly soft $28.7 million debut was compounded by one of, if not the biggest Friday-to-Friday box office plunges on record. In fact, that 92 percent drop meant Rian Johnson’s contentious follow-up limped to a miserable $2.4 million in its second weekend.

It’s said to be headed for a $50 million total in China, lower than even widely-derided flops such as Valerian ($62 million) and Geostorm ($65.6 million). In light of this poor reception, Jimmy Wu, chairman of nationwide Chinese cinema chain Lumiere Pavilions, had this to say to THR:

The Last Jedi has already been completely pulled from cinemas here. It’s performed much worse than we could have expected.

The Last Jedi‘s China release, which occurred on January 5th, clearly hasn’t gone to plan, then, and James Li believes it’s now difficult for “young Chinese filmgoers to get into the franchise.”

We’ve seen the Star Wars franchise downgrading across all key measures. Force Awakens was generally above average, Rogue One was about average, and Last Jedi was below average in every category — and you see this reflected at the box office.

To put things into perspective, the Star Wars series has always struggled to leave much of an impression on Chinese audiences. Back in 2015, The Force Awakens earned only $124 million in the Middle Kingdom, before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story notched $69.5 million.

Li continued:

Because of the complex characters and themes, the prequels, and all of the multi-generational layers that are part of the culture, or cult, of Star Wars, it’s been hard for young Chinese filmgoers to get into the franchise.

All in all, China is expected to contribute only $50 million to The Last Jedi‘s gross – a measly sum by today’s standards – though the Rian Johnson sequel should have no problem reaching $1.6 billion before its theatrical run comes to an end.