The Force isn’t just weak in China, it’s pretty much non-existent.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been pulled from cinemas in parts of China after tanking with audiences. In its second week, box office receipts were down a jaw dropping 92%.
“The Last Jedi has already been completely pulled from cinemas here,” Jimmy Wu, chairman of nationwide Chinese cinema chain Lumiere Pavilions, told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s performed much worse than we could have expected.”
Wu was speaking from Yancheng, a mid-sized city in the country typical of where the bulk of China’s box office growth comes from.
The Last Jedi never found traction with audiences in China. The film earned just $28.7 million its first week, compared to the $220 million it made in the U.S. during just its opening weekend. Chinese ticket sales nosedived to $2.4 million in its second week. As a reference, that’s significantly less than the 2017 total box office take of Smurfs: The Lost Village, Ghost in the Shell, and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
While the saga of Luke Skywalker and the rest of the rebellion has captivated audiences in the U.S. since 1978, China has never been gripped by the same hysteria. The Force Awakens earned $124 million during its run in the country (compared to $596 million in the U.S.), but was only the 13th most popular film of the year in China. Last year’s Rogue One took in $69.5 million, compared to the $532 million it made in the U.S.
Still, The Last Jedi is hardly hurting. The film topped $1 billion in ticket sales worldwide in just three weeks before it even made it to China. It’s currently the eighth highest-grossing domestic film of all time—and will almost certainly climb higher on that list before it wraps up its theatrical run.