Well, it's hard to say anyone saw this coming. Star Wars: The Last Jedi has finally arrived in theaters and fans are super excited about it. Or, at least they were. There was a ton of hype leading up to the release and, deservedly so, considering all of the questions Star Wars fans had after watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens two years ago. However, things are not going according to plan, as The Last Jedi now has a shockingly low audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. How low? Believe it or not, it's even lower than the score Justice League currently has.

This likely comes as a huge surprise to anyone who was following the news leading up to the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Following the movie's world premiere, the social media reactions were almost universally positive. That led to an incredibly positive first wave of reviews from critics. The movie currently holds a 93 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is great and ranks among the highest in the entire franchise. However, audiences don't seem to agree with critics on this one, as the audience rating is at an abysmal 56 percent.

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To say the least, this is not what Disney, Lucasfilm or director Rian Johnson had in mind. To put that in perspective, Justice League, a movie that isn't what one would call a critical darling, currently boasting a 40 percent critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, actually has a much better audience rating. As of this writing, Warner Bros. latest DC movie has an 80 percent audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This is just one example, but in both cases, we see that audiences can dramatically disagree with critics. Though, in the case of Star Wars, this is pretty unprecedented.

As hard as it may be to believe, as of this writing, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is actually the lowest-rated movie, in terms of audience rating, in the entire Star Wars franchise on Rotten Tomatoes. It's close, but Star Wars: Attack of the Clones barely edges it out at 57 percent. The Phantom Menace is next, with 59 percent. Considering how much Star Wars fans seem to hate those movies, it's pretty amazing that The Last Jedi is ranked so low by those who have seen it. But it's also worth noting that critics were much closer in alignment with fans on the prequels, as Attack of the Clones has a 66 percent Tomatometer score and The Phantom Menace has a 55 percent.

So what does this mean? The audience score could change as more people see Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but at the very least, this is a divisive movie. That could be problematic, as Lucasfilm has already handed Rian Johnson control of a brand new Star Wars trilogy, which he's going to plan out and will direct at least the first installment of. Given Lucasfilm's rough history with directors, having fired Phil Lord and Chris Miller from the Han Solo movie and Josh Trank from Boba Fett, not to mention this issues with Rogue One, can they really afford to have another director kicked off of a project?

That's not to say audience reaction will ensure that's going to happen. But Disney and Lucasfilm will have to take that into account, even if Star Wars: The Last Jedi dominates at the box office, which it looks like it's going to. In any case, this Rotten Tomatoes score for Star Wars: The Last Jedi is very interesting, as pretty much everyone expected this movie to be a home run for the franchise. There are no sure things in this business.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott