Chinese Theaters Drop 92% of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Screenings After Disappointing Opening
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been a huge global smash everywhere apart from China.
Just seven days after a disappointing opening weekend for Disney's blockbuster, The Last Jedi may have already worn out its welcome, with showings of the latest Star Wars movie apparently plummeting by over 90%. Forbes report that China’s movie exhibitors have dramatically cut showtimes by a huge 92 percent, which has taken it from its 34.5% share of the region’s total screenings last Friday to just 2.6 percent this Friday. The report adds that it is an unprecedented move in Chinese cinema history.
The Last Jedi even earned less in its opening weekend than local comedy The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes which was already in its second week. Here now at the end of its debut week, The Last Jedi has only earned $34.2 million after a disappointing seven days. With screenings of the movie now set to plummet, that low revenue number is highly unlikely to increase by any significance.
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. There are a number of reasons why, explored in a new article from China Film Insider, but one that stands out is that apparently Chinese audiences didn’t think the cast of Star Wars: The Last Jedi were attractive enough.
According to the report, Marvel movies are successful in China in part because they’re “filled with larger-than-life leads who meet the public’s aesthetic standards,” while Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s cast looks “ordinary by comparison.”
“These actors aren’t very beautiful, which may deter a lot of Chinese from seeing the recent films,” said Chen Tao, a Chinese Star Wars fan forum manager consulted for the report. “We fans often joke that if Finn were played by Will Smith, Chinese people might be more inclined to watch it, because he’s very handsome.”