Everyone is watching this movie with extreme interest. No, I don’t mean everyone is going to be in the theater watching it, I am saying we’re all watching how it will perform. After The Last Jedi, the Star Wars fandom split into two bitter factions that may hate each other more than Democrats hate Republicans. One side of the fandom loves the middle entry to the Sequel Trilogy and touts anything they can to “prove” the other side is wrong and Star Wars isn’t on the decline. The “haters” will point to anything they can to show that their boycotts and closed wallets are effective. As with most things in life, the truth is in the middle.
When tickets for The Rise of Skywalker went on sale this past Monday, media outlets were quick to publish stories that the film’s presales outpaced Avengers: Endgame for its first hour on Atom Tickets. This caused the TLJ fans to claim victory over the boycotters and tout that their side has won. However, while the first hour sales may have been really high, the total first-day sales fell behind Endgame. It’s still impressive though and those first-day sales are 2.5 times what TLJ did.
None of this gives the full picture though. Despite making $735 million less than The Force Awakens, TLJ made a lot of money. Usually, sequels fail to make as much as the first film in a series. After doing some math, the worldwide drop between TFA and TLJ (35%) is slightly more than the drop between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back (32%) and slightly less than the drop between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones (36%).
I also looked at the rise between the second and third installments of the OT and PT: Between AotC and Revenge of the Sith there was a 27% increase in box office revenue while there was only a 7% increase between ESB and Return of the Jedi. That’s a pretty big gap and makes it hard to determine what kind of rise (or fall) we may expect for TRoS’s box office take.
I have been wildly wrong with a few box office predictions including Captain Marvel, which made over $200 million more than I expected, and Joker. The latter’s box office run has surprised a lot of people and has a shot to push the $1 billion mark. However, I’ll go ahead and say I think TRoS will bring in $210 million domestic on opening weekend, $700 million total domestic, and $1.5 billion worldwide. Basically splitting the difference in the other two trilogies takes and expecting a 17% increase between TLJ and TRoS.
These numbers aren’t too far from the industry’s own Box Office Pro. They’re predicting an opening weekend of $185 – $225 million and a total domestic haul of $550 – $750 million. The outlet takes a lot of the same things we’ve discussed into account and also looks at other pros and cons to come up with its predictions.
So what does this all mean for the battle between TLJ fans and haters? What about those of us in the middle that liked some things but hated others? Well, it looks like there is no major boycott in place, but there may be a small one. While there are millions of disappointed fans, there are still millions of satisfied fans. There are other signs that the franchise is hurting including a slump in toy sales, loss of money for Solo: A Star Wars Story, and conflicting reports of expectations and reality at the Galaxy’s Edge park at Disney Land/World. However, this next film will not be a box office failure.
If you love Star Wars be sure to check out our Last Call podcast where we’ve been reviewing each film (except Clone Wars) in chronological order. You can find it here or anywhere else you get podcasts.
What are your box office predictions for The Rise of Skywalker? Let us know in the comments below!
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