Star Wars: The Last Jedi pulled from Chinese cinema chain following poor box office returns

Jack Shepherd

While Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been a massive box office success in the UK and US, other countries have been far less receptive.

Perhaps the most notable has been China, the second largest movie market behind the US. The eighth main-saga Star Wars instalment took $28.7 million over the first weekend, dropping 92 percent to $2.4 million in weekend two.

"The Last Jedi has already been completely pulled from cinemas here," chairman of nationwide Chinese cinema chain Lumiere Pavilions Jimmy Wu told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's performed much worse than we could have expected.”

The publication estimates The Last Jedi could end up taking less than $50 million in the country, far less than the $124 million The Force Awakens grossed and just below Rogue One’s $69 million.

According to the Beijing-based market research firm Fanink, the recent Star Wars films have received diminishing reviews from cinema-goers in the country, something that has corresponded to the box office numbers.

The Last Jedi has been behind local comedy The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes the past few weeks. Ironically, Return of the Exes — which tells of young bachelors whose former girlfriends exact revenge on them — was named after the sith Star Wars episode Return of the Jedi, while the second instalment in the franchise, The Backup Strikes Back, was named after The Empire Strikes Back.

Some box office analysts have put the relative disappointments of the Star Wars franchise in China partly down to the country not having the same nostalgia for the series as the UK and US.

The original Star Wars trilogy was not released in China in 1977, only reaching cinemas over there in 2015 in an attempt to drum up excitement for The Force Awakens.

Outside of China — which marks the last major territory for the film to be released — The Last Jedi continues to gross millions, taking over $1.2 billion worldwide so far.