One of the biggest headlines to emerge in the wake of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” opening in theaters has been the polarizing fan response to the Rian Johnson-directed sequel. Despite an “A” CinemaScore, “The Last Jedi” has riled certain fans on Reddit and social media, and many people have noticed the 56% Rotten Tomatoes user grade after over 100,000 ratings. For whatever reason, the mystery of “The Last Jedi” backlash continues to grow, so much so that Disney has felt compelled to defend it.
“Rian Johnson, the cast, and the Lucasfilm team have delivered an experience that is totally ‘Star Wars’ yet at the same time fresh, unexpected and new,” Disney president of theatrical distribution Dave Hollis told Deadline in response to the backlash. “That makes this a ‘Star Wars’ film like audiences have never seen – it’s got people talking, puzzling over its mysteries, and it’s a lot to take in, and we see that as all positive, that should help set the film up for great word-of-mouth and repeat viewing as we enter the lucrative holiday period.”
Johnson has received critical acclaim for his vision on “The Last Jedi,” with many critics noting just how individualized the installment feels compared to something like J.J. Abrams’ more traditional “The Force Awakens.” IndieWire’s Eric Kohn called it the best “Star Wars” movie in decades in his A- review.
“The Last Jedi” still managed to open with $220 million, becoming the second biggest opener in domestic history after “The Force Awakens,” which means the small bad word of mouth that exists hasn’t been strong enough to derail people from wanting to see the space epic. Johnson reacted to the box office on Twitter, saying, “Sending love from team Space Bear to every single one of our fellow SW fans, and everyone who went on the journey with us this weekend. Love you guys.”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is now playing in theaters nationwide.