The Last Jedi has been completely pulled from Chinese theaters after a disastrous second weekend at the box office. Chen Tao, a project manager and longtime Star Wars fan who runs a Chinese Star Wars forum says that one of the reasons the movie failed at the box office is because the actors "aren't very beautiful." That's definitely a new criticism that hasn't been brought up to Rian Johnson yet. The director might have to explain this one as he has every other decision that he's made for The Last Jedi.
Chen Tao reveals that the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies do so well in China because they feature well-known locations (sometimes) and because the actors all meet the "public's aesthetic standards." However, The Last Jedi's actors aren't as pretty as their more beautiful cousins in the MCU, according to Tao. He had this to say.
"These actors aren't very beautiful, which may deter a lot of Chinese from seeing the recent films. We fans often joke that if Finn were played by Will Smith, Chinese people might be more inclined to watch it, because he's very handsome."
Chen Tao's opinions are definitely up for debate on this one. There are many Star Wars fans who argue the exact opposite of the Chinese point of view of aesthetically pleasing actors. And shirtless Kylo Ren certainly has been a hit on social media with people all over the world.
There are a few other factors that led to the pulling of The Last Jedi from Chinese theaters in just over 2 weeks. The original trilogy was never shown in theaters, though they are played on TV frequently. The Force Awakens was the first Star Wars movie to hit theaters and it did pretty well, earning $124 million. However, The Last Jedi only earned a little over $28 million in its opening weekend and many believe it's because Chinese audiences aren't familiar with the backstory and are not interested in going back and watching 6 movies to completely understand what's going on.
Additionally, some believe that it's the blending of Eastern and Western mythology within the Star Wars universe that brings in some confusion for Chinese moviegoers; Medieval legends wrapped up in George Lucas' Akira Kurosawa inspiration. Market researcher James Li told the Hollywood Reporter that the emotional climax of The Last Jedi revolves around Luke Skywalker's reveal at the end, which only left Chinese audiences thinking "So who is this old guy, suddenly, and why are we supposed to care?"
Regardless, The Last Jedi performed much worse than anybody expected, including Chinese market researchers who believed that the movie would have at least done as well as 2015's The Force Awakens. More than likely, it's for a variety of reasons including that Chinese audiences just aren't as well versed in the culture of Star Wars and maybe the actors aren't pretty enough to get people into theaters like the MCU. The original quotes from Chen Tao are from SixthTone.