‘Rogue One’ Off To Slow Start In China

By January 7, 2017
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Rogue One is getting a bit of a slow start in the world’s second-largest film market. Yeah, we’re talking about China.

The Star Wars anthology film earned $10.3 million on its opening day, according to Forbes, giving it an opening comparable to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (which had an $11.2 million first day) than a Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (which captured $18 million).

Rogue One is about to become the biggest movie in North America, and its total global take is inching past $850 million. But China is not impressed. And according to reporter Scott Mendelson, there might be good reason, citing China film reporter Jonathan Papish – it’s called Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Chinese audiences weren’t terribly taken with The Force Awakens. So (in) a skewed way, you might argue that Star Wars got Tomb Raider Trapped in what will soon be the biggest moviegoing market on Earth. And from what I’ve been told, the word of mouth isn’t much better for Rogue One.

It’s not like the Chinese audiences get the same rush as Americans do when (spoiler) does (spoiler) and then (spoiler) says (spoiler) at the end of the movie.

One thing director Gareth Edwards had hoped would boost the film in China was the inclusion of Hong Kong actor Donnie Yen and Chinese-born actor Jiang Wen, who played the blind Force-wielding Chirrut Imwe and Rebel warrior Baze Malbus respectively.

Yet, the weekend isn’t quite over, and some movies seem to have more sea legs in China than they do in other places, like North America.

In fact, most observers usually see the pattern of a film’s final take doubling its opening weekend in the land where 1 billion people reside. And usually, worst case scenarios fall just short of the doubling equation.

So if Rogue One can turn eek out more than $50 million on opening weekend, it could very well end up with $100 million total in China when it’s all said and done.

That would still ultimately trail The Force Awakens, which earned about $125 million in China, single-handedly pushing that film over the $1 billion mark internationally.

Friday numbers weren’t in as we were filing this story, but Rogue One remains the No. 2 film of 2016, but is now just $31 million away from claiming the box office crown from Finding Dory. There seems no doubt that not only will Rogue One move into No. 1 (maybe as early as this weekend), but could end up past $500 million total.

Once again, it’s still behind Force Awakens, which earned $936.7 million domestically the year before.

On the worldwide charts, Rogue One hopes to shoot into No. 5 this weekend. Right now, not including China, it has $838.6 million worldwide, according to The Numbers, good for No. 7 behind Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice at $868.2 million.

In order to break into the top three, Rogue One will have to exceed the $1 billion mark, as Zootopia has a hold of that third slot with just over that amount. No. 1, of course, is Captain America: Civil War with $1.15 billion, including just under $190 million from China.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael has spent more than 18 years of his way-long journalism career in entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based in New York City.