Spoilers for The Last Jedi & Solo: A Star Wars Story ahead…
So, we have good news, and we have bad news. We’ve got tech news, and we have photos. And we even have sexy news. Sort’ve.
All in all, it’s not the busiest morning for the ol’ “Around the Galaxy” news sweep, but it should certainly get you up to date.
First, the “bad” news
Our friend at Forbes, Scott Mendelson, has been consistent in his message: Thus far, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has performed, er, well, like a Star Wars film at the box office.
Today, we get news that the Saga’s latest performed — again — like a Star Wars film, as it opened in China. But, as The Hollywood Reporter explained in 2015, acting like a Star Wars movie in China isn’t so hot.
Despite a massively wide screen count and the full force of the Hollywood studio’s marketing campaign, early screenings on Friday put “Jedi” in only second place. The top spot was retained by Chinese comedy “The Ex-File: The Return of the Exes” in its second week.
…ticket presales in the PRC have been soft so far, and the competition looks fierce. Thursday’s midnight grosses were just RMB 3.6 million / $554K, less than the RMB 3.87 million earned by Rogue One a year ago, a bad sign for the new picture’s release (The Force Awakens earned RMB 16 million in midnight grosses in 2016).
Of the rest of the region, Cain said:
While it has performed well in the west, India and South Korea pretty much ignored it. In Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Singapore, it might ultimately match the grosses of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, though according to my figures that hasn’t happened yet, and even if it does it won’t exactly be cause for celebration.
Don’t panic. We temper all of the above with the news that Star Wars: The Last Jedi has grossed $1.11-billion and moved up to No. 18 on the all-time global chart.
Moving on to some solidly good news…
Good News: The Force is real
Amputations in Star Wars are not new, and even Episode VIII featured a hand hitting the floor. But while this might just seem to be a tried-and-true Star Wars trope, for researchers those severed cinematic hands provided important inspiration to those hoping to help real-life patients.
Fortune.com’s Olivier Oullier explains:
Take the revolutionary prosthetic hand developed under the direction of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Made available in late 2016 to veterans who had lost an upper limb, this robotic hand is called L.U.K.E. That acronym officially stands for “Life Under Kinetic Evolution.” No one is being fooled here: This incredible achievement of DARPA’s “Revolutionizing Prosthetics” program—launched a decade earlier—is a clear reference to the robotic hand Luke Skywalker receives at the end of The Empire Strikes Back...
You have to read the entire piece, entitled, “The Force Is Real: How ‘Star Wars’ Neuroscience Is Revolutionizing Healthcare and More,” to get the full scope of how the Saga is impacting the world beyond the cinema.
“#Reylo” fans rejoiced in The Last Jedi’s set up of a would-be star-crossed connection between Rey and Kylo Ren. And while the actually of such a pairing might make this writer wretch (and admittedly the resolution remains to be seen – yuck), there’s a whole bunch of you who are “shipping” the pair.
I missed this piece from Vanity Fair when it came out in December, but writer Joanna Robinson correctly points out:
But for all the romantic picnics between Padmé and Anakin and passionate stolen kisses of Han and Leia, nothing in the Star Wars franchise has ever had quite the dangerous spark as the late-night Force Skype sessions between lonely, misunderstood misfits Rey and Kylo. “You’re not alone,” they urgently confess to each other as the movie pushes them closer. Nothing is sexier than a forbidden romance—and, like any overprotective father figure, Luke should have known that busting up their call would only drive Rey directly into Kylo’s arms.
Robinson goes on to add (thankfully):
But just because Rey and Kylo have sexual tension, that doesn’t make this a good or a healthy romance. If she hadn’t shut him down so quickly and thoroughly when he begged for her to join him (“please”), we could have written several think pieces about what Twilight-esque bad messages The Last Jedi is sending young women. But when Kylo negs Rey, desperately telling her she’s nothing and nobody “but not to me,” our heroine doesn’t fall for it.
Thank goodness for Rey. And thank goodness for Joanna Robinson, whose excellent piece may be found here.
Finally, in a post that made my morning, EW.com collected all of Ron Howard’s photos from the set of Solo: A Star Wars Story and put them in one place.
No, these aren’t the photos you’re looking for, but on a snowy, slow morning we’ll take it.
I’m snowed in, so feel free to hit me up on Twitter @jmbishopjr if you want to talk Star Wars. JB