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Last Jedi is already being pulled from theaters in China

01.17.2018

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is the biggest movie of 2017 around the world – but you wouldn’t think that by looking at the numbers in China. Barely nearing $40 million, the movie is an unmitigated disappointment in the Middle Kingdom, so much so that the movie is already being pulled from some theaters around the country.

As part of a report done by The Hollywood Reporter, chairman Chinese cinema chain Lumiere Pavilions, Jimmy Wu, said that the movie has “already been completely pulled from cinemas here" when on a phone interview from the city of Yancheng. He went on to say that the movie’s performance has been “much worse than we could have expected."

This news comes after the movie lost about 92% of its showtimes last weekend, as theater chains were opting to give more room to domestic releases and the newly-released JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (which had a $39 million opening). STAR WARS had a dismal $27 million opening in its first weekend in China (debuting January 5), with the number plummeting to just $2.4 million this past weekend. As the report notes, by the end of the movie's run it will probably come in lower than notable box office bombs – VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS ($62 million) and GEOSTORM ($65 million)

JEDI performed lower than even the average performances of the last two Star Wars movies – THE FORCE AWAKENS and ROGUE ONE – and James Li, co-founder of the market research group Fanink, said the poor performance of JEDI is the result of a growing franchise disinterest:

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.

Though JEDI did have to compete with popular domestic titles at the Chinese box office, many pundits are attributing the country’s lack of investment in the series as a reason for its performances. The previous Star Wars movies never got released in theaters in the country while they were blowing up everywhere else, meaning the fandom has never been as popular there. Given that these latest movies rely so much on the mythology of the original movies, audiences were mostly left confused and disinterested.

We can all agree that the reason why these movies are so big is that the franchise has such deep roots in our culture, with virtually everyone being familiar with the characters and story – even if they haven’t seen the movies! But, when it comes to China, it has vastly less importance, and to many viewers, it’s just a bunch of people in space talking about laser swords. Disney is going to have to go back to the drawing board when it comes to getting people over there on board with the series if they are to win over the second largest movie market in the world. Just fly everyone in the country over to Disneyland and give them a crash course.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is in theaters now. 

Source: THR

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