“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opened at No. 1 Friday in China with $9.7 million, a sharp decline from the January 2016 debut of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” With Thursday previews, that figure inches up to $10.4 million.
Variety notes Chinese theaters were relatively quiet Friday, bringing in just $15.9 million nationwide from all films, possibly due to heavy smog enveloping parts of the country.
By comparison, “The Force Awakens,” the first film in Disney/Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars” trilogy, grossed $27.8 million on its Saturday opening in China, on its way to a $53.2 million weekend. The movie ended its run in that country with $124 million, which was viewed as somewhat disappointing. However, its performance may have just been an early sign of the impending slowdown of the world’s second-largest film market. As highlighted last week, the growth of the Chinese market plummeted from 48 percent in 2015 to just 3.7 percent percent last year.
As of Friday, “Rogue One” has earned $898.5 million worldwide after 22 days of release, and has the second-highest domestic gross in the “Star Wars” franchise, behind “The Force Awakens.”
Set just prior to the events of 1977’s “Star Wars,” the film follows a ragtag group of Rebels who undertake the dangerous mission to steal the design plans for the Galactic Empire’s planet-destroying new superweapon, the Death Star.
Directed by Gareth Edwards, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker.
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