After 24 days in release, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is almost $100 million behind The Last Jedi.
On day 24, The Rise of Skywalker has grossed $478 million at the domestic box office.
On its own 24th day of release, in 2017, The Last Jedi sat at $573 million.
Who would have ever guessed that the final chapter in the nine-chapter Star Wars saga would make the disappointing box office returns for Last Jedi look good.
Certainly, it is fair to ask how $573 million for Jedi and $478 million for Skywalker can be labeled a disappointment. The answer is that you have to look at the full context.
After 24 days, 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens sat at $813 million domestic. It would go on to earn $936 million domestic. Rise of Skywalker will probably come in at around $550 million, or about half The Force Awakens.
This tells you just how much the franchise has been diminished by bad storytelling and obnoxious politics.
Skywalker was supposed to be the epic conclusion to a 42-year-old franchise, the most beloved franchise in movie history.
In other words, The Rise of Skywalker was supposed to be Avengers: Endgame, the event movie to end all event movies. But it is going to end up under-performing in a way no one would have imagined in 2015.
And with a production price tag that probably reaches $250 to $275 million, a promotion tag that probably reaches another $200 million, if Skywalker squeaks over $1 billion worldwide, it will be nowhere near as profitable as the others.
Here’s another piece of context: When you adjust for inflation, Rise of Skywalker will come nowhere near the concluding chapter of the original trilogy — The Return of the Jedi’s (1983) $839 million.
Another metric of how big of a disappointment Skywalker is, how it should have at least outperformed the dreadful Last Jedi, is that Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith, the third entry in the prequel trilogy, outperformed the second entry in the prequel trilogy. Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones grossed just $310 million (not adjusting for inflation) in 2002. Sith came along three years later and grossed $380 million.
Like I said, what we have here are diminishing returns, which is to be expected to a point, but not like this.
Earlier this month, and at length, I detailed 11 reasons why this new trilogy failed from a creative standpoint. Sure, the movies still made a ton of money, but there’s no question the fans no longer trust Disney and executive producer Kathleen Kennedy to deliver a thrilling adventure set in a faraway galaxy a long time ago.
So Disney has a huge, huge problem on its hammy, left-wing hands. The company paid $4 billion for this franchise and then killed it, at least as a film franchise. The Mandolorian is popular on Disney’s streaming service. Big whoop. TV is still TV. With the Skywalker Saga over, as a movie franchise, Star Wars can no longer coast on nostalgia. After the box office disaster that was Solo proved no one was interested in younger actors stepping into iconic roles, that’s another avenue that has been cut off.
That means Disney’s got nothing unless some major personnel changes are made. Because until the fans hear that Kathleen Kennedy is gone, whatever movie that comes next will be tainted as soon as it’s announced.