The Rise of Skywalker took in $177.4 million on its opening weekend, making it the third-highest debut ever for a December release. Or, to look at it another way, the lowest of the new Star Wars trilogy behind The Force Awakens ($248 million) and The Last Jedi ($220 million). While the movie’s long-term fate remains to be seen, in terms of how well it will ultimately do at the global box office by the time its run is over with, Episode IX is holding better than The Last Jedi, according to some early indicators.
The main indicator is that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker had a tremendous Monday, financially speaking. At the domestic box office, director J.J. Abrams’ latest earned $29.3 million. That represents just a 27 percent drop compared to Sunday, when it made $40.3 million. The Last Jedi, meanwhile, saw a 58 percent drop from Sunday to Monday in 2017. However, there are some important factors to consider. For one, The Last Jedi opened on December 15, much further away from the Christmas holiday.
Episode IX, meanwhile, had the benefit of Christmas falling on a Wednesday. That means there were likely more families together already to celebrate on Monday, and likely more people taking the day off of work and/or school. In any event, it’s an encouraging sign. The other encouraging sign is the movie’s Christmas day box office, where Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker shot up nearly 60 percent compared to its Tuesday gross ($20 million) to bring in an additional $32 million. With that, it has now earned $258.8 million domestically, as of this writing.
Globally, things are looking good, as the movie has brought in $257.9 million so far, for a total of $516.7 million. If things continue down this path, and there is no reason to think that they won’t, the finale of the Skywalker saga should easily cross the $1 billion mark in the coming weeks. Will it match the $1.33 billion total posted by The Last Jedi? That seems unlikely, especially considering how poorly it is performing in China, but that doesn’t make the movie a failure by any means for Disney, at least from a strictly financial point of view.
For Disney and Lucasfilm, the problem is, once again, division. The Last Jedi proved to be divisive and now, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has once again divided critics and audiences. At present, the movie holds a 55 percent critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, to go against an 86 percent audience rating. That is essentially the inverse of what happened with The Last Jedi. That could leave the studio between a rock and a hard place when determining what to do with the franchise on the big screen in the future. For now at least, they can be content to count the cash as it keeps rolling in. This news was previously reported by Forbes.