'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' flops in China on Friday debut

  • China
  • Friday, 20 Dec 2019

A woman is looking at a poster for the latest Star Wars movie, "The Rise of Skywalker", in Beijing. The most-awaited movie of the year throughout the world has been projected to be a poor show in China. - AFP

LOS ANGELES: "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" is expected to the biggest film of the weekend globally and in North America, where an opening weekend of US$170mil-US$200mil is likely.

But in China, it's on course to be the weakest-performing instalment of the new batch of "Star Wars" films.

On Friday, in its first official sessions in Chinese theatres, the film was barely crawling. By 5.30 p.m. local time, "The Rise of Skywalker" had earned just US$1.57mil, according to multiple data tracking services.

It stood in fourth place behind three Chinese titles.

Topping the chart with a comfortable 44% market share is the new release Donnie Yen-starring martial arts actioner "Ip Man 4: The Finale" with US$6.7mil.

Second place belongs to holdover crime thriller "Sheep Without A Shepherd," ahead of new release "Only Cloud Knows," a whimsical New Zealand-set romance from the acclaimed, but tarnished Feng Xiaogang, in third.

By 5.30pm, they had scored US$2.86mil and US$1.9mil respectively.

The 5.30pm figure for "Rise of Skywalker" produces a running total of US$5.15mil that includes a full day of previews on Wednesday, and midnight screenings on Thursday evening.

That wimpish performance gives online ticketing agency Maoyan reason to forecast a lifetime box office of just US$18mil for "Rise of Skywalker."

That figure, if accurate, points to "Rise of Skywalker" completing its China run with a cumulative score of less even than the opening weekend performances of the other "Skywalker" franchise titles.

And it strongly suggests that the "Star Wars" franchise may be in terminal decline in the Middle Kingdom.

In Jan 2016, "The Force Awakens" opened with a $52.3 million weekend and achieved a lifetime score of $126 million.

"Rogue One," the "Star Wars" side story, that released in Dec 2016 with Chinese stars Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen in prominent roles, managed US$30.6mil on opening and a lifetime US$69.4mil.

In 2017, "The Last Jedi" slipped further, registering an opening weekend of US$28.7mil and a lifetime cumulative of US$42.6mil. - Variety/ANN
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Star Wars , Poor Opening , China , Flop , Jedi , Movie Franchise


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