|Directed by||:||Dean Devlin||Produced by||:||David Ellison, Dean Devlin, Dana Goldberg||Starring||:||Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara||Production company||:||Warner Bros. Pictures, Skydance Media, Electric Entertainment||Country||:||United States|
‘The Last Jedi’ Will Make Less Money In China Than ‘Geostorm’
The numbers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, laid out in a new Hollywood Reporter item, are in for its first two weekends of release in China — the second largest box-office market in the world — and they are not good. While many American blockbusters open in China with numbers comparable, or even better, than their opening weekends in America, The Last Jedi opened with only $28 million, or about a tenth of the $220 million opening weekend statewide. Even more devastating for the movie is the 92 percent plummet in its second weekend, when it only earned $2.4 million. For comparison’s sake, Ben Affleck’s Gigli, which suffered one of the biggest drops of all time at the American box office, only dropped 81 percent in its second weekend.
So what’s going on here? It’s certainly not that China rejects American blockbusters. The Fast and the Furious franchise is a massive hit in China. Last year’s The Fate of the Furious earned $392 million (compared to the $226 million it earned in America) while the latest Transformers movie racked up $100 million more there than it earned in the States. In fact, China has salvaged a lot of would-be box-office bombs, like Geostorm, which will earn more in China than The Last Jedi.
The problem is not specific to American movies or even sequels. It’s specific to movies franchises like Star Wars, which doesn’t possess the nostalgic hold over China the way it does in America. The original trilogy didn’t open in China, and China wasn’t yet a global force when the second trilogy came out in 1999 (Phantom Menace earned only $4 million at the Chinese box office). But it’s more than the simple lack of nostalgia, as The Hollywood Reporter explains, It’s also that the Star Wars films are built on a foundation that doesn’t exist in China.