last jedi

There is no nostalgia for ‘Star Wars’ in China, where neither the original trilogy nor the prequels were ever released, so there was never any false expectation that the box office champ everywhere else in the world was going to be a smash there.  But even so, the performance of ‘The Last Jedi’, which is opening there this weekend, is downright embarrassing on so many levels.

In 2015, in preparation for the release of ‘The Force Awakens, Disney lined the Great Wall of China with 500 Stormtroopers in an effort to drum up excitement.  ‘The Force Awakens’ opened in early 2016 and ended up earning $124 million in China, making it the #13 movie in that country for the year.  Perhaps in an even more blatant play for the Chinese audience, ‘Rogue One’ starred two of the nations hugest stars Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen.  It took in a remarkably weaker $69.5 million, placing it at #35 for 2017.  Both movies were #1 for their respective years in the U.S.

‘The Last Jedi’ will likely make $25M-$30M for the weekend.  In the U.S., it made $220M.

Despite opening on 35.6% of all China’s screens versus 32.3%, the latest ‘Star Wars’ is losing to local comedy ‘The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes’.  By early Friday, ‘The Last Jedi’ had earned $5M to ‘The Ex-File”s $11.6M.  That’s less than half.  So ‘The Ex-File’ should wind up with roughly twice what ‘The Last Jedi’ makes.  But adding insult to injury, ‘The Ex-File 3’ opened last weekend!

What is this movie?  Well…

The third and final film of the hugely popular EX-FILE series sees buddies Meng Yun (Han Geng) and Yu Fei (Ryan Zheng Kai) break up with their girlfriends and indulge themselves in living the bachelor lifestyle again. However, as their ex-girlfriends reemerge in their lives, their “Single Plan” starts to unravel!

Here’s the REAL kicker.  This movie follows the second installment in the series ‘The Ex-File 2: The Backup Strikes Back’.  So, yep, now place the current film behind that, ‘The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes’ and you’ll notice, these titles are TOTALLY RIPOFFS of those of the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy!  If they are unfamiliar with those movies, then how did they come up with these names?!

Just for the heck of it, here’s the trailer for this Chinese blockbuster:

Next week, ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ opens and the last ‘Fast and Furious’ movie, starring Dwayne Johnson, broke records there.  So, that certainly won’t help.

It looks like ‘Star Wars’ is the exception that proves the rule when it comes to the Chinese market.  U.S. flops like ‘Warcraft’ and (predictably) ‘The Great Wall’ were saved when they scored big in the Middle Kingdom.  Disney will just have to be happy with the $1.108 billion it’s made everywhere else.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter