China Box Office: ‘Rogue One’ Opens To $31M, Drastically Down Due To China’s Air Pollution Keeping Moviegoers At Home
The next time silly nutcase Donald Trump tries to make right wingers envy China, just think about this. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story finally cruised into China over the weekend, completing its sweep of box offices around the world. But the Disney and Lucasfilm juggernaut closed out this final leg with something of a sputter.
The film earned $31 million from Friday to Sunday, according to studio figures, down 39 percent from The Force Awakens‘ $53.2 million haul during roughly the same weekend last year.
Although Rogue One‘s performance was nearly triple China’s second-place finisher — romantic-comedy holdover Some Like It Hot at $11.7 million — the decline from Force Awakens was particularly striking given that the spinoff features two of China’s biggest stars, Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen. Fans and critics around the world have praised the chemistry between the Chinese actors, so it comes as some surprise that the duo couldn’t help the film more on their home turf.
Terrible air pollution levels in Northern China on Friday and Saturday are believed to have kept some moviegoers home. And China’s box-office revenue has been flat or declining since the second quarter of last year, when a sudden correction hit the market following years of huge growth. The fabled Star Wars franchise also faces unique cultural challenges in China.
Rogue One opened on 381 of China’s Imax screens, earning just over $4 million on the giant format. That’s about half of Force Awakens‘ $8.1 million Imax opening.
Force Awakens earned $124.2 million, or 6 percent, of its $2.07 billion global total in China (the total was the 13th biggest gross in the country last year). With $914.4 million worldwide as of Sunday, Rogue One can be expected to finish past $1 billion, meaning it will need to earn at least $60 million in China for the country to make up an equivalent share of the total pie.