From a box office perspective, there’s no denying that the hugely-anticipated Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been a bit of a disappointment. While a billion dollars is an impressive feat for any movie to accomplish, it took the ninth installment in the long-running sci-fi series a long time to reach that milestone, which wasn’t a particularly encouraging sign for what was the closing chapter in one of the most popular and beloved franchises in the history of cinema.
The major backlash against The Rise of Skywalker from certain sections of fans certainly didn’t help matters, with the diehards calling for Kathleen Kennedy’s head in the wake of rumors that the studio had heavily altered director J.J. Abrams’ original vision in order to compensate for some of the story threads in Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi that had alienated a lot of people.
The box office totals of the Sequel Trilogy have suffered alarming drops with each new entry after The Force Awakens exploded out of the gates to become only the third movie ever, and the first not to be directed by James Cameron, to earn over $2 billion globally. The Last Jedi’s final haul would drop by almost $700 million to $1.3 billion, while The Rise of Skywalker has slowed significantly since finally hitting the billion-dollar threshold over a month ago, earning just $70m worldwide since January 15th.
In fact, at this rate, it seems as if the culmination of the Skywalker Saga’s theatrical run will wrap up with a lower tally than Joker, with The Rise of Skywalker currently lagging $30 million behind Arthur Fleck’s origin story after earning $531,000 during its twelfth weekend in theaters. Joker may have captured the cultural zeitgeist and gone on to awards-season glory, but let’s not forget that Todd Phillips’ twisted comic book flick was a risky proposition from the outset, and also carried an R-rating and a $55 million budget, roughly one-fifth of what Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is estimated to have cost.