The Last Jedi has finally opened in China and it looks like the movie is going to be something of a bomb over there. China has emerged in recent years as an absolutely massive market for major Hollywood movies, making it increasingly important for a movie to do well there. Star Wars, despite being arguably the biggest franchise on the planet, has struggled in China during the Disney era and, with The Last Jedi, it's hit a new low.
China is the last major market that Star Wars: The Last Jedi was scheduled to roll out in, making its debut in Chinese theaters this weekend. If the box office from midnight previews is any indication, Disney and Lucasfilm can't count on the country adding to the box office total all that much. The Last Jedi earned just $560,000 in midnight previews. That puts it well behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opened to $2.5 million in midnight previews during its theatrical run.
What's worse is that Star Wars: The Last Jedi wasn't even the number one movie in midnight previews. The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes, a local comedy, looks to be earning more than double what The Last Jedi will this weekend in China. To add insult to injury, The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes is already heading into its second weekend at the box office in China, meaning that the latest Star Wars movie is going to lose to a comedy that has already been in theaters for a week.
Both The Force Awakens and Rogue One underperformed a bit, but thanks to strong North American box office totals and heavy interest from other international markets, both movies ultimately did very well. The Force Awakens finished with more than $2 billion worldwide, but just $124.1 million of that came from China. To put that in perspective, Captain America: Civil War, which grossed $1.15 billion worldwide, made $180.7 million in China. Rogue One, which made just over $1 billion worldwide, made only $69.4 million in China., with $30 million coming on its opening weekend.
At this rate, it looks like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which has already made $1.1 billion worldwide and cracked the all-time top 20 highest-grossing movies list, won't even make what Rogue One managed in China. And that's really saying something, considering that Rogue One relied on almost entirely new characters, while The Last Jedi has Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in it. Jedi The Hollywood Reporter notes that The Last Jedi could make some sort of a comeback, but it's not looking good. Disney and Lucasfilm, for whatever reason, are still struggling to make this new era of Star Wars movies connect with Chinese audiences.