Koreans are not that impressed with the red hot new Star Wars film, Rogue One. According to the data from the Korean Film Council, the latest offering from the Star Wars franchise ranked a mere eighth in the local movie rankings last weekend –attracting less than 1 million spectators as of Monday.
The movie’s global box office gross is already creeping up on a one billion in ticket sales.
Rogue One was released in Korea on December 28th, and did well, initially, ranking second at the box office, but it went quickly fell to ninth eight days later before moving up a single notch this past weekend.
According to Lina Jang, writing in KoreaBizwire, Koreans have never been big fans of the Star Wars movies:
The biggest success so far was with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which attracted almost 3.3 million moviegoers, although it never came first at the box office. Among some 40 countries that screened the film, Korea was one of the few markets, along with Vietnam and Turkey, where the movie failed to achieve the number one spot.
So is the “force” weakening for the Star Wars series in Korea?
Industry watchers and officials point to the lack of connection between the films and the underlying sentiments of Korean viewers. The movies are almost mythical in the U.S., which has a relatively short history as a nation, with “American” themes, making the movies less inspiring to Koreans, they say.
“The films not only fail to emotionally connect with Korean moviegoers, but there are also very few fans here of the original film series,” said film market analyst Kim Hyung-ho.
The Walt Disney Company, which now owns the franchise, made efforts to address this by branding Rogue One as a story that anyone could enjoy without having prior knowledge of the series.
That didn’t seem to work.
“It was not enough for the general audience to find interest in the new installment of the blockbuster series, especially with the lesser known actors and director of Rogue One, and the characters were not attractive enough,” an official from a film promotion agency told KoreaBizwire.