Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker May Not Make As Much Money As Everyone Thinks

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December is fast approaching and with it will come Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the ninth, and final, installment in the mainline series. However, excitement for the film is a little more tepid than its forerunners.

There are a number of factors at play, but the most pertinent is possibly audience fatigue. When The Force Awakens debuted, it was the start of an ambitious plan from Disney and Lucasfilm. They wanted to release one Star Wars movie a year and though this was initially successful, with the J.J. Abrams-directed seventh entry shattering box office records left and right, the writing was on the wall shortly after.

The Last Jedi and Rogue One, while both incredibly successful, suffered from diminishing returns, with neither able to match the numbers that The Force Awakens posted. What’s more, the former quickly became the most divisive entry in the Star Wars canon. This kind of contentious narrative has now left many fans wary of future entries.

Of course, all this led to the unmitigated flop that was Solo: A Star Wars Story. That movie was a letdown in nearly every category, from the box office to the perfunctory nature of the overall story. It also solidified the fact that audiences were getting tired of traveling to that galaxy far, far away.

Moreover, Rise of Skywalker has some serious competition in the form of Jumanji: The Next Level. That film will, arguably, be targeting the same audience and the previous iteration, 2017s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was a runaway hit and fans have been salivating for more ever since.

Scott Mendelson of Forbes has investigated this dilemma further as well, looking at the historical records and noting that threequels have a tendency to under-perform in relation to their predecessors. The Star Wars conundrum is a little more unique that your average threequel though, as Mendelson notes:

Jumanji: The Next Level plays huge not just as a crowd-pleasing sequel to a surprisingly good predecessor, but as the prime holiday destination for kids, families and general audiences. Ditto Universal’s Cats, Blue Sky’s Spies in Disguise and Sony’s Little Women.

It’s not that The Rise of Skywalker isn’t a big movie, and it remains the biggest movie of the season, give or take Jumanji 3. But, like the last Hobbit sequel (which for the record earned $950 million worldwide), it’s merely the biggest of several big and family-friendly holiday flicks in a crowded season. That’s especially true overseas, where Star Wars mania isn’t as big.

Nonetheless, with all audiences fully aware that this is the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga before Disney tries doing Star Wars without the core characters and core “rebels versus Empire” narrative, will it be treated like Avengers: Endgame or Dark Phoenix?

This is a worthwhile question to ponder, though even Mendelson states that it’s a little “extreme.” Even so, fans and critics alike are holding their breath, wondering whether the hype will once again prove to be worth the wait. Disney has a lot riding on this film and its success will be a big contributor to how the franchise continues, but if one thing’s for certain, it’s that Star Wars is no longer the bulletproof series it once was.

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