It may have taken over 5 weeks but ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ has made a billion dollars.
Gareth Edwards’ ‘Star Wars’ spin-off has, as many pundits predicted, crossed the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office, having taken 39 days to do what ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ breezed to in just 12 days. At present, it’s at $1,011,301,563, with almost an even split coming domestically from the US and the rest of the world.
Clearly it’s unfair to compare the two. ‘The Force Awakens’ was the first film for the franchise since 2005’s ‘Revenge of the Sith’ and marked an anticipated return that was not only directed by JJ Abrams, but featured classic stars like Harrison Ford and the late Carrie Fisher.
Edwards, who recently helmed the ‘Godzilla’ remake, assembled a brand new cast of freshly created characters for a spin-off storyline that ties neatly into ‘A New Hope’. With ‘The Force Awakens’ having made a rapturous return the year before and with plenty of new, unknown faces (as well as some familiar ones) for ‘Rogue One’, it was never likely to perform as well as its predecessor.
That said, ‘Rogue One’ opened to strong figures, with $155 million in it first domestic (US) weekend – that’s the second biggest in movie history. And, just like ‘The Force Awakens’, the public and critical reception to the film was rather positive.
The spin-off, starring the likes of Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, and Riz Ahmed, focuses on the time directly before the first ‘Star Wars’ movie begins. Jones’s Jyn Erso heads a rebel mission to steal Death Star plans which go on to play a pivotal role throughout the original trilogy. Without question ‘Rogue One’ is a much more adult orientated and darker tale from the galaxy far, far away, which is something of a refreshing angle for Disney and Lucasfilm to approach it from.
With Rian Johnson’s ‘Star Wars: Episode XIII’ due out this Christmas, the same sort of anticipation levels will surely generate ahead of its release. Similarly, the untitled Han Solo movie will be the second spin-off to get a cinema release and is due out in May of 2018. Like ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘Rogue One’, these next two movies look set to replicate each’s success, respectively.
However, with ‘The Force Awakens’ smashing the $2 billion mark, will ‘Episode XIII’ enjoy the exact same widespread acclaim and success or even surpass it? The sad and unexpected death of Carrie Fisher will no doubt prove poignant for many fans when we see her final appearance in the next instalment, but regardless of this aspect the film itself will certainly make a strong challenge to get to that $2 billion milestone.