Star Wars: The Last Jedi is globally a massive box office hit… Except in China, from the looks of things. Following a disappointing opening weekend, distributors are making room for the likes of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and local hits by removing the movie from most theaters.
The thing about Star Wars is that, for a number of cultural reasons (such as the censorship of foreign media brought about by the Cultural Revolution, which prevented the series from playing in China when it came out in the 1970s and 1980s), China has never been into it that much. Even then, the measures that Chinese distributors are taking for this weekend are extreme, as Forbes has revealed that the film shed 92% of the theaters it was playing in the previous weekend. Seems like they had a bad feeling about this after the last two movies performed below expectations compared to everywhere else.
Is this franchise’s continued financial woes in the Middle Kingdom a sign of the end times for the seemingly-unstoppable juggernaut that is Disney? Well… No. Even with such a disappointing showing this Star Wars outing, it’s still the sixth-biggest market that the movie has played in with a total of over $32M — depending on how it does in the remainder of its run, it might just sneak past Australia’s $40M+ gross. If this were a franchise that did nowhere near as well as it does in the United States, then there would be reason for Lucasfilm to panic, but The Last Jedi is looking to outgross The Avengers at the domestic box office in a few weeks and earn its place as the fifth-biggest release in the United States when unadjusted for inflation.
But as it stands, part of the reason why Disney’s demands from theaters in the United States asked for so much of a cut in the first place is because they knew that based on the tepid response to Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story from Chinese audiences indicated that the Force wasn’t with them on this one. Ideally, Disney wants Star Wars to be a Marvel-level franchise over in China, but even still, they have other franchises to make up for that shortfall over there — in the last year alone, Marvel, Pirates of the Caribbean, and quite possibly Pixar after the breakout success of Coco all indicated that the company doesn’t need Star Wars to thrive in that region. There’s always room for experimentation with future films in the series to get closer to the tastes of Chinese audiences, but it seems as though the odds of that happening right now are 3720:1.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now playing in theaters. The movie’s cast includes Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, Domhnall Gleeson as General Armitage Hux, Benicio Del Toro as “DJ”, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, and Jimmy Vee as R2-D2.
10 Women Who Should Direct A ‘Star Wars’ Film
Everybody’s talking about Star Wars right now. Mostly good, but others not so good. Fandom is divided.
Another topic on everybody’s mind is Hollywood’s treatment of women and representation. Natalie Portman made a comment during the 75th Annual Golden Globes ceremony when introducing the Best Director category, pointing out the “all male nominees.” Some found this comment just right given the state of affairs at this year’s Golden Globes speaking out against unbalanced power dynamics between men and women in Hollywood in the wake of the sexual harassment scandals. Others found the comment rude. Whatever your opinions on the subject are it can’t be denied that you don’t see or hear about as many women directing movies, particularly big budget movies or highly sought-after Oscar bait films.
Star Wars is one of the most profitable franchises in the world. It is instantly recognizable and pretty much any Star Wars films are guaranteed to be a hit. Back in 2016, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy drew ire from some critics for saying the studio wanted to bring in a woman to direct Star Wars but wanted to make sure they had experience. However, Lucasfilm hired male directors with a range of experience to semi-seasoned (Phil Lord and Chris Miller) to barely any (Josh Trank) without hesitation and those investments haven’t really paid off. All nine Star Wars films have been directed by men and so will Episode IX and the next few spin-offs that we know about.
We’ve decided to highlight ten talented women directors that have more than enough experience, talent, and creative voice to helm a Star Wars movie, be it a saga film, Rian Johnson’s newly planned trilogy, or a spin-off film. Click Next to get started!
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