Star Wars: The Last Jedi is one of the franchise's most polarizing entries to date, but that hasn't prevented the film from crossing the $1 billion mark globally. One major market, however, has greeted the blockbuster with a more lukewarm reception: China.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Last Jedi earned $560,000 Friday in midnight previews, a far cry from the $2.5 million that The Force Awakens grossed in China during its opening night. Adding insult to injury, The Last Jedi also didn't even take the top spot, losing instead to Tian Yusheng's regional comedy The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes.
Star Wars has a tumultuous box office history in China, as evidenced by The Force Awakens performance there. While the film crushed stateside on its way to a record-setting No. 1 spot, the franchise revival only finished 13th on China's charts for 2016.
Analysts track the country's halfhearted relationship with the property all the way back to the franchise's original trilogy. A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi never received wide releases in China, meaning middle-aged citizens likely don't possess the same nostalgia for the saga that millions of other moviegoers around the globe do.
In theaters worldwide, director Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi stars Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Benicio Del Toro as ‘DJ’, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, and the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa.