Rogue One fails to take Chinese box office by storm

Ben Arnold
Rogue One… has underperformed in China – Credit: Disney

While Star Wars spin-off ‘Rogue One’ has done pretty blazing business around the world, many box office analysts were waiting for its release in China to take it over the top.

But having opened in China last weekend, it appears to have underperformed, falling significantly short of expectations.

Though it hit the number one spot, it made $31 million (around £25 million) – over $20 million less than ‘The Force Awakens’ made over the same timeframe.

‘The Force Awakens’ scored $53 million (£43.6 million) on its opening weekend in 2015, with the Chinese market eventually contributing $124 million (£102 million) to its worldwide haul.

(Credit: Disney)

It was thought that thanks to starring roles for Chinese stars including Jiang Wen, who plays Baze Malbus, and Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe, that the film would have been more universally embraced.

But according to Lamplight Analytics (via Yahoo Movies US), a social media analysis firm based in Hong Kong, many film fans saw the casting as pandering.

Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter suggests that particularly bad air pollution in northern China over the weekend may also have hampered sales.

To add to this, the movie is being quickly followed at the multiplexes by the sci-fi ‘Passengers’, which opens this weekend.

Both its stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are firm favourites in China, with the movie having the extra marketing push of having been produced by Dalian Wanda Group, the hugely influential Chinese media conglomerate.

That said, ‘Rogue One’ has still done impressive business.

It’s heading for the $1 billion landmark, having made $914 million (£752 million) worldwide since its release just before Christmas.

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