Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was billed as the culmination of nine movies spanning forty years of filmmaking, however it looks set to end its box office run with a whimper rather than a bang.
JJ Abrams’ second Star Wars film took £244,141 at the UK box office last week, reports UK film industry bible Screen Daily, taking its total earnings to £57.8 million after seven weeks in cinemas.
Based on its weekly box office declines, Screen predicts that The Rise of Skywalker – released in December 2019 – will end up being the fourth highest-grossing Star Wars film in the UK behind 2015’s The Force Awakens (£123.2 million), 2017’s The Last Jedi (£82.7 million), and 2016’s Rogue One which ended its run with £66 million.
Some £57.8 million (so far) is not to be sniffed at though, as it makes it the 24th highest-grossing film ever at the UK box office, just behind Joker’s £57.9 million which it looks likely to overtake. Its relative financial disappointment – compared to its predecessors – could be a sign of franchise fatigue and Disney has promised the film series is going on hiatus for the foreseeable future.
Its middling box office could also be blamed on the quality of the film too, which was beset with delays and personnel changes. With a 52% Rotten Tomatoes rating, The Rise of Skywalker is the worst-reviewed live action Star Wars film so far, with 1999’s The Phantom Menace just ahead at 53% positive reviews.
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Speaking at a media summit in January 2020, JJ Abrams said he would be examining the film’s failures in detail.
“The truth is that these are things that are meant to entertain people, to make them feel something and hopefully make them feel good,” Abrams said. “Obviously, it doesn’t always work. It’s hard when it doesn’t, and when it doesn’t, you have to understand it, you have to acknowledge it, you have to examine it.”
Globally, the picture for The Rise of Skywalker looks a little bit more rosy. Its worldwide gross currently stands at $1,058,051,557 (£812 million), according to Box Office Mojo, putting it ahead of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s $1,056,057,273 (£811 million).
Avengers: Endgame, which was also billed as a story culmination for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, took £88.7 million at the UK box office in 2019. Abrams’ first Star Wars film The Force Awakens, which restarted the franchise after George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012, remains the UK’s highest-grossing film of all time.
2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story remains the lowest-grossing film in the franchise taking $393 million (£301 million).
The future for Star Wars remains bright though with The Mandalorian, its first live action TV series, landing in the UK on 24 March when Disney+ launches.