Star Wars: The Force Awakens fizzled in its opening weekend at the Chinese box office, falling behind the second weekend of local hit The Ex-File 3: Return of the Exes and earning about a third of that movie's box office take. There are a number of reasons why, explored in a new article from China Film Insider, but one that stands out is that apparently Chinese audiences didn't think the cast of Star Wars: The Last Jedi were attractive enough.
According to the report, Marvel movies are successful in China in part because they're "filled with larger-than-life leads who meet the public's aesthetic standards," while Star Wars: The Last Jedi's cast looks "ordinary by comparison."
"These actors aren't very beautiful, which may deter a lot of Chinese from seeing the recent films," said Chen Tao, a Chinese Star Wars fan forum manager consulted for the report. "We fans often joke that if Finn were played by Will Smith, Chinese people might be more inclined to watch it — because he's very handsome."
Well yeah, of course, Will Smith makes everything better, but he can't be in every movie.
Other complaints about the movie listed in the article include that the Galactic Empire wasn't portrayed as intelligent enough, that viewers feel like they need to catch up on the first seven Star Wars movies first, and the usual criticism of changes to Luke Skywalker's character from the original trilogy.
If you'd like a more nuanced analysis of why Star Wars isn't as successful in China as it is elsewhere, Bleeding Cool's own Adi Tantimedh gave his take on the subject earlier this week.