It’s been a less than spectacular week for The Rise of Skywalker, which is not only garnering some of the worst reviews for any Star Wars episode since the Prequel Trilogy, but has also earned the lowest CinemaScore for any live-action film in the entire franchise.
Based on exit polls from the opening night, J.J. Abrams’ latest feature has an official CinemaScore of B+. And while we’ve certainly seen worse from recent blockbuster cinema, it still doesn’t bode particularly well for the movie’s box office performance.
For comparison, 2015’s The Force Awakens and 2017’s polarizing The Last Jedi each earned a grade of A. Meanwhile, the 2016 spinoff Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was also rated A, and even the 2018 box office flop Solo managed to get an A- from audiences.
Before that, all three entries in the divisive Prequel Trilogy were given A- ratings, whereas none of the films in the Original Trilogy were polled. In fact, the only Star Wars movie to get a lower CinemaScore than The Rise of Skywalker was the critically panned 2008 animated feature The Clone Wars, which earned a grade of B-.
In short, if the bosses at Lucasfilm and Disney weren’t panicking previously, then now might be a good time to start. Of course, the film’s early box office figures have already provided enough red flags as is, between the movie’s dismal China debut and its underwhelming opening day in North America.
With an estimated budget of $250-$300 million, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is currently facing an uphill battle, and if this first weekend is anything to go by, then the time is probably right for the film series to go back into hibernation for a while.