J.J. Abrams’ Skywalker finale, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, couldn’t match its recent predecessors on opening weekend, but it still amassed a $175.5 million debut that marked the lowest box office opening among the Disney franchise’s latest Star Wars trilogy.
The first film in the new trilogy, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, earned $57 million its Thursday night previews in 2015, at the time the biggest of all time. It was topped by the $60 million take of Avengers: Endgame earlier this year.
The second film in the trilogy, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, had a $45 million tally on its opening Thursday night in 2017.
The Rise of Skywalker brought in an estimated $40 million in North America in its Thursday night previews, the fifth biggest Thursday opening ever. The third installment will finish with an estimated $175.5 million domestically, putting it in third place for openings behind behind Force Awakens ($248 million) and Last Jedi ($220 million).
The Rise of Skywalker, with The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams back at the helm after Rian Johnson directed The Last Jedi, didn’t appear to be affected by bad critic reviews. The film scored just 58% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes compared to 98% for The Last Jedi, but its fan score is 85%.
The third film stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver and Carrie Fisher and is expected to bring in north of $200 million by the end of the weekend.
Elsewhere, the Taylor Swift-starring live action musical movie Cats is projected to be a total disaster with just an $8 million opening from 3,380 screens. The film cost around $100 million to make after tax breaks (that doesn’t include marketing costs).
The film was panned right out of the gate. And the PG picture, directed by Tom Hooper, is still suffering with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 19. And, in an unprecedented move, Universal sent thousands of theaters an updated version of the film with “some improved visual effects,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report, which has been updated.
Jerome Hudson is Breitbart News Entertainment Editor and author of the bestselling book 50 Things They Don’t Want You to Know. Order your copy today. Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter and Instagram @jeromeehudson.