Disney and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker had barely achieved lift-off in the Chinese film market Friday before it became overwhelmingly apparent that it was destined to crash and burn.
As of 5 p.m. local time Friday, J.J. Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker had earned just $1.6 million (RMB11.6 million), enough only for a distant fourth-place start, according to live estimates from ticketing service Maoyan. The ticketing company’s big data-based forecast for Skywalker‘s full run currently sits at a lackluster $17.8 million (RMB125.3 million). If the forecast holds true, Rise of Skywalker is in for an almost exponential China comedown from both Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi ($42.5 million in 2017) and Abrams’ own The Force Awakens ($124 million in 2015).
Word of mouth for the Disney trilogy closer is tepid to match. Skywalker is scoring 7.7 out of 10 on Maoyan, 8 on Alibaba’s Taopiaopiao and 6.8 on film fan site Douban. The preceding two films in the franchise, while not particularly adored in China, both scored 7.3 on Douban.
The overwhelming weekend winner in China will be Donnie Yen’s own franchise finisher, Ip Man 4: The Finale, which features the action star’s final performance as the titular martial arts master who famously trained Bruce Lee. Ip Man 4 had brought in $7.2 million by 5 p.m. on Friday.