Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Continues To Fail At Chinese Box Office

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Lucasfilm’s quest to conquer the Chinese box office continues unabated.

While its latest release, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, launched to a tidal wave of hype and anticipation all across the globe, in China the J.J. Abrams-directed blockbuster is on course to become the least successful installment of the franchise thus far.

As of Monday, December 30th, The Rise of Skywalker ranked seventh at the box office behind a collection of local Chinese action films and dramas – chief among them being IP Man 4, which is currently leading the market with a cumulative haul of $97.6 million.

By stark contrast, Episode IX notched $2 million during its second weekend in the Middle Kingdom, forcing analysts to lower their predictions of the movie’s final tally to just $19.7 million, far below the $126 million grossed by The Force Awakens in 2015. To put things into perspective, Rogue One scooped a respectable $69.4 million in China back in 2016 – aided by the box office draw of Donnie Yen – while The Last Jedi netted $42.6 million two years ago.

Though it now stands as the second-largest film market on the planet, the China box office has been a notoriously difficult nut to crack for Hollywood studios and Lucasfilm, in particular. While there are many factors at play, experts attribute Star Wars‘ ongoing struggles to the country’s conservative entertainment, given the entire franchise – prequels and all – weren’t released in China until 2015, shortly before the arrival of The Force Awakens.

Without the lure of nostalgia, Chinese audiences have been largely ambivalent to Star Wars as a whole, so the dismal box office performance of The Rise of Skywalker – in the Middle Kingdom, at least – should come as no surprise.

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