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- Disney has struck a distribution deal with Chinese tech company Tencent’s China Literature online publishing division to develop an online "Star Wars" novel written by a Chinese author.
- Disney hopes to build the "Star Wars" audience in China, where the franchise has struggled at the box office.
- "Avengers: Endgame" made more in China than all of Disney’s "Star Wars" movie did combined.
- The chart below shows the decline of "Star Wars" movies at the Chinese box office in the Disney era.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
"Star Wars" is a box-office juggernaut — but not in China.
The franchise in the Disney era has struggled at the Chinese box office and the Mouse House is looking to fix that as it prepares to wrap up its current trilogy with December’s "The Rise of Skywalker" and launch another in 2022.
Disney has struck a distribution deal with Chinese tech company Tencent’s China Literature online publishing division. The deal includes the first official "Star Wars" online novel written by a Chinese author. Disney said the story is in development and will "combine native Chinese elements and the narrative style of Chinese literature to tell the story of ‘Star Wars.’"
Disney’s "Star Wars" movies have underperformed in China, both by "Star Wars" and Disney standards. The fanbase is lacking in the country, likely due to the original trilogy not being shown in theaters there until 2015 ahead of the release of "The Force Awakens."
Every Disney "Star Wars" movie besides last year’s "Solo: A Star Wars Story" has grossed over $1 billion worldwide, but only a small portion of that has come from China, where the movies have each grossed less than the one before.
- 2015’s "The Force Awakens" grossed over $2 billion globally and is the highest-grossing movie of all time domestically (before inflation) with $936 million. But it made just $124 million in China.
- 2016’s "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" grossed $1 billion worldwide but dipped in China to $69 million.
- 2017’s "The Last Jedi" made more than "Rogue One" did worldwide, but less than it did in China.
- 2018’s "Solo" continued the downward trend. "Solo" was considered a box-office disappointment in general, making less than $400 million worldwide.
For comparison, "Avengers: Endgame" made more in China in its first week than those four "Star Wars" movies did combined. "Endgame" ultimately grossed over $600 million there, showing how much more valuable Marvel is than "Star Wars" in the region.
But Disney seemingly wants to change this with its new China publishing initiative, especially before "Game of Thrones" creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss launch a new trilogy in three years.
Below is a chart that shows the decline of Disney’s "Star Wars" movies at the Chinese box office:
Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
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October 18, 2019 at 12:18PM