‘Star Wars’: Rise of Skywalker’ Falls Short of Box Office Predictions due to Critical Reviews

The opening weekend of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was not quite what analysts expected. Although fan reviews are mostly positive, critic reviews of the film are disastrous. Let’s take a look a the total box office sales for the weekend and how they compare to what was expected. No spoilers for the movie are in this article.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Premiere
‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Premiere | Keith Mayhew / Echoes Wire / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

What were initial box office estimates for the opening weekend of ‘The Rise of Skywalker’?

Initial estimates for the opening weekend of the conclusion of the multi-decade Skywalker Saga ranged from $175 million to around $200 million, according to Collider.

The first movie in the three-part trilogy, The Force Awakens, grossed almost $248 million domestically in its opening weekend. The second film in the trilogy, The Last Jedi, grossed upwards of $220 million in its opening weekend. 

Therefore, the range estimated for The Rise of Skywalker did seem like it was on the lower side. After the Friday debut, statistics were looking promising for the film. It grossed an estimated $90 million in its first day at the box office. The projections at that point indicated around $190-195 million opening weekend, according to Box Office Mojo

How much did ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ gross at the Box Office opening weekend?

The three-day debut of the final installment of the Star Wars Saga grossed $175.5 million, according to Box Office Mojo. This performance hits the low-end of what was projected for the film. Many, including Box Office Mojo, were expecting the movie to come in at about the $200 million or higher.

After the initial sales on Friday, predictions still gave the film on the higher end of the range. The movie ended up bringing in $374 million worldwide, as of Sunday.   

Since the movie hit high numbers on Thursday and Friday but did not finish out the weekend strong, critic reviews likely played a part in the lower numbers. 

How much did critic reviews impact movie-goers decision to see ‘The Rise of Skywalker?’

Die-hard Star Wars fans likely went to see the ninth film in the saga on Thursday or Friday night. The Rise of Skywalker advance ticket sales was pacing with The Last Jedi early ticket sales just a few days before the release of the movie. However, the weekend box office fell short of The Last Jedi by $35 million. 

The critics give The Rise of Skywalker a score of 57%, according to Rotten Tomatoes. The subpar reviews might be what happened with the remainder of the weekend. Word of mouth and social media greatly influence the choice to spend the money to see a movie in a theater or wait until it comes to a streaming service. 

“You sense in this film, J.J. [Abrams] shrinking that world… Everything in this franchise feels like a take-back,” wrote Top Critic Amy Nicholson from Film Week.

Initial reviewers commented on how much the franchise was attempting to undo what Rian Johnson put into place in The Last Jedi. These critical reviews might have hurt the gross income for the film. 

However, the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes is holding steadfast at 86%. That number is higher than Rogue One‘s but lower than The Last Jedi. If you are a Star Wars fan, the movie is still worth seeing, despite negative critic reviews.