“Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker” Did Finally Reach $1 Billion, But Has Fallen Behind “Rogue One” Domestically

On Jan 15, 2020, “#StarWars IX: #TheRiseOfSkywalker” did finally reach $1 billion in gross box office revenue worldwide. This occurred 26 days after the film opened in theaters, which was 9 days longer than it took “Star Wars VIII: #TheLastJedi” and 14 days longer than “Star Wars VII: #TheForceAwakens”.

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But, on that exact same day “The Rise of Skywalker” reached $1 billion worldwide, the film’s domestic cumulative gross box office revenue also slid below the cumulative domestic gross box office earnings that “#RogueOne: A Star Wars Story” had earned in 2016 after the same number of days in theaters. And, since then, “The Rise of Skywalker” has remained below “Rogue One” in terms of cumulative domestic gross box office.

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Thus, the earnings for “The Rise of Skywalker” continue to drop at a rate faster than what “Rogue One” experienced in 2016, and we suspected that the film may not earn as much as “Rogue One” after viewing last week’s box office numbers when “The Rise of Skywalker” was barely doing better than “Rogue One”.

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“Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker” Box Office Plummets over 90%, Worst Drop of the Disney Sequels

While the box office for “#StarWars IX: #TheRiseOfSkywalker” was the highest during first 3 weekends, that is no longer the case with the opening of the war drama #1917 in wide release.  The film’s 4th weekend earnings were only $15.1 million domestic, which, when compared with the film’s opening weekend, is a 91.5% drop in box office earnings. This is the biggest 4th weekend drop of all of the #Disney “Star Wars” sequel trilogy films, and the film also had the largest 3rd weekend drop of the three.

In terms of overall box office performance, “The Rise of Skywalker” has broken the long-standing tradition of the 3rd film in a trilogy outperforming the 2nd film in the trilogy. (The 3rd films in the original and prequel trilogies that were produced by George Lucas both outperformed their respective 2nd trilogy films.)

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Comparing the gross box office receipts for each of the Disney “Star Wars” sequel films, the following patterns emerge.

  • The opening weekends for each film were progressively worse, which is not consistent with how well the 3rd films performed during the original or prequel trilogies.
  • With the exception of the 2nd weekend, “The Rise of Skywalker” earned less than its sequel trilogy predecessors for each subsequent weekend.
  • “The Rise of Skywalker” has seen more than a 50% drop in gross weekend box office receipts between all subsequent weekends. “Star Wars VII: #TheForceAwakens” did not experience a weekend-to-weekend drop in box office of more than 50% until its 4th weekend.
  • With the exception of the 2nd weekend, “The Rise of Skywalker” has experienced the largest percentage drops in box office receipts when compared with opening weekend.
  • “The Rise of Skywalker” is the first of the three films to reach a more than 90% drop in overall box office receipts when compared with opening weekend. It was also the first to experience a more than 80% drop during its 3rd weekend. In comparison, “The Force Awakens” and “Star Wars VIII: #TheLastJedi” didn’t experience an 80% drop in overall box office receipts until their 4th weekends.

When looking at worldwide gross box office earnings, “The Rise of Skywalker” still hasn’t reached the $1 billion dollar mark:

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If we compare the current earnings of “The Rise of Skywalker” with those of the Disney sequel trilogy and “#RogueOne: A Star Wars Story”, we’ll see that the current earnings of “The Rise of Skywalker” are almost the same for what they were for “Rogue One”, so it’s entirely possible that (from the graph below) “The Rise of Skywalker” may not earn as much as “Rogue One” or it may only earn slightly over the overall earnings of “Rogue One”. With more films being released in theaters in the coming weeks, “The Rise of Skywalker” will have more competition, which will take more earnings away from it.

"Star Wars" Earnings Graph

Earnings of “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens”, “Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi”, “Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker” & “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”.

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2nd Weekend Box Office for “Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker” Down 59% Domestically

In its 2nd weekend, “#StarWars IX: #TheRiseOfSkywalker” earned $72 million domestic box office receipts. This is a decline of $105 million, which is 59.4% below what it earned during its opening weekend of $177.4 million (revised from the earlier reported $175.5 million domestic opening weekend). While this decline isn’t as severe as the whopping $149 million decline (67% decline) that “Star Wars VIII: #TheLastJedi” experienced between its 2nd and opening weekends in 2017, the $72 million that “The Rise of Skywalker” earned during its second weekend is only $1 million more than the $71 million earned by “The Last Jedi” during its 2nd weekend.

Currently, the 10-day cumulative domestic box office total for “The Rise of Skywalker” is $361.8 million, which is slightly lower than the 10-day cumulative domestic box office total of $368 million that “The Last Jedi” earned in 2017.

The currently predicted total domestic box office expected is between $502 million and $612 million, which is line with our own prediction of $545.8 million domestic box office earnings that we made last week.

Outside of the U.S., “The Rise of Skywalker” earned $94 million during its 2nd weekend and has a current overseas cumulative 10-day box office total of $363 million for a total worldwide 10-day cumulative box office total of $724.8 million. The domestic/overseas split is currently 47/53%, so while the film is earning more overseas than domestically, the overall IMDb user ratings for “The Rise of Skywalker” still have a higher domestic user rating of 7.1 over the overseas user rating of 6.8.

Rey in Ep. IX

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“The Rise of Skywalker” Debuts with $175.5 Million Domestically; Earning Less than “The Last Jedi”

#Disney’s film “#StarWars IX: #TheRiseOfSkywalker” lead the box office on its opening weekend with $175.5 million in earnings in North America. While this is the third largest December film opening of all time and the performance tops the studio’s conservative $165 million opening prediction, many (including BoxOfficeMojo) expected the film to top $200 million for the weekend. The $175.5 million in earnings is also below where expectations were only yesterday, when it appeared that the film would open anywhere from $190-195 million after Friday estimates, but earnings on Saturday were lower than expected.

The slide began following the film’s opening day, which was pretty much on par with recent “Star Wars” releases, which saw preview grosses making up 44% of the film’s opening day. However, it is the only “Star Wars” release of the five released by Disney thus far to see the Friday gross make up over 50% of the film’s total opening weekend box office earnings. This brings into question what kind of impact word of mouth will have on the film’s final gross.

A comparison of how well each of the 5 Disney “Star Wars” films has performed in opening domestic box office receipts is shown below.

Disney "Star Wars" Domestic Box Office Opening Weekends

Disney “Star Wars” Domestic Box Office Opening Weekends

Thus, for the sequel trilogy, each successive film has performed lower than the preceding film.

To estimate how well “Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker” may perform and whether it may breakeven, we investigated the multiples of the previous films, as well as how well their final earnings compared with each film’s budget.

To estimate how well “The Rise of Skywalker” may do, we based estimates on performing linear regressions on the multiples and on the worldwide grosses, as well as the reported estimate for the film’s budget, which is estimated to be between $250 to $300 million. Our estimates are that the film will likely break even and make a small profit, but far less than “The Last Jedi”.

Disney "Star Wars" Box Office Multiples

Disney “Star Wars” Box Office Multiples & Estimates

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“Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker” Flops in China on Friday Debut

Box office numbers for “#StarWars IX: #TheRiseOfSkywalker” in China on opening weekend are so poor, that it has flopped. Total box office receipts for the film for both Thursday and Friday showings as of 8 p.m. local time were only $2.2 million; and ticketing agency Maoyon is predicting a total ticket sales throughout the country of only $18 million. This is significantly lower than how well previous Disney-era “Star Wars” films have performed in China:

  • In Jan. 2016, “Star Wars VII: #TheForceAwakens” opened in China with a $52.3 million weekend and achieved a lifetime score of $126 million.
  • “#RogueOne: A Star Wars Story” that released in Dec. 2016 with Chinese stars Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen in prominent roles, managed $30.6 million on opening and a lifetime $69.4 million.
  • In 2017, “Star Wars VIII: #TheLastJedi” slipped further, registering an opening weekend of $28.7 million and a lifetime cumulative of $42.6 million.
  • In 2018, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” bombed in China, earning only $10.1 million on its opening weekend.

In other words, the total expected box office for “The Rise of Skywalker” in China is less than the opening weekends for 3 of the previous “Star Wars” films that were released there, and is far less than “Solo”, which was a worldwide box office flop.

Currently, the film is only projected to earn $170-$200 million in North America, which would be significantly lower than both “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi”, which had opening weekends of $247,966,675 and $220,009,584 respectively.

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Box Office Flop “Terminator: Dark Fate” Might Lose Over $100 Million

Things are not looking good for the #Terminator franchise as its latest film, “Terminator: #DarkFate”, opened this past weekend to a measly North American box office take of $29-million and only $94.6-million overseas, for a worldwide total of just over $123-million. With a massive $185-million budget, combined with another $80 to $100-million in global marketing and distribution fees, experts are predicting that the film could lose as much as $100-million.

Since Paramount, Skydance and Disney (through 20th Century Fox) co-financed the movie, any potential damages will be broken up among the Hollywood companies, which each put up 30% of the budget. China’s Tencent contributed the remaining 10%. Box office experts say the film needs to earn around $450-million to break even, but predict that “Terminator: Dark Fate” will end its box office run with an uninspiring $180- to $200-million globally.

Paramount and Skydance (the companies responsible for releasing “Dark Fate” domestically) hoped that it would kick off with over $40-million in North America, but after it fell short of expectations, insiders at rival studios suggest it’s unlikely “Dark Fate” will hit triple digits in the U.S. It might not even pass $70-million domestically over the course of its entire theatrical run, which is rather sad.

The film’s predecessors, 2009’s “Terminator Salvation” and 2015’s “Terminator Genisys”, were both panned by critics and failed to recoup their pricey budgets. So, in spite of the return of James Cameron as producer and original stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, “Terminator: Dark Fate” failed to reignite moviegoers’ interest.

Media analyst Eric Handler with MKM Partners said,

“This is an aging franchise with aging actors, and the reviews were mediocre. As good of a franchise as this might have been, it doesn’t have the same appeal now.”

“It is time to let this franchise finally go to the great beyond.”

Adds Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations said,

“This is definitely the end of the line for the Terminator franchise in its current iteration. That said, IPs are harder to kill off than Jason Vorhees these days. So, expect a new series in five years on CBS All Access. Probably animated this time.”

The fan reaction thus far isn’t great either with the film only earning a 6.6 score on IMDb and a Metacritic score of only 54%.

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