Staff at Disney and Lucasfilm are likely split into two camps on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. On one side, you have the creative team, who’ve repeatedly expressed disappointment about the movie. There’ve been rumblings from within the production that J.J. Abrams’ hands were tied when it came to introducing certain plot elements, cutting scenes and the film’s length. Similarly, the cast have made various comments that they’re not happy with how their characters ended up and have ruled out a future return. But the other camp, the beancounters, is doubtless the most influential.
Despite the middling reviews, The Rise of Skywalker hasn’t disappointed at the box office. But not disappointing is a long way from meeting expectations. With 2017’s The Last Jedi scoring $1.3 billion globally, you would hope for The Rise of Skywalker to repeat or best that. But, according to Forbes, the film has recently experienced an “unprecedented” drop-off.
The outlet reports that the pic made just $15.1 million in its fourth weekend, which is a 91.5% drop from its opening weekend of $177.4 million. That’s the worst fourth weekend showing for any Star Wars movie to date. Not just that, but no movie in history that’s made at least $175 million on opening weekend has seen such a precipitous decline.
Now, before alarm bells start ringing for the future of Star Wars, The Rise of Skywalker is absolutely not a flop. It’s expected to join the billion dollar club sometime this week and will become one of the highest-grossing films released in 2019. But, given that this drop means it’s almost certain to gross a couple of hundred million less than The Last Jedi, Disney analysts will surely be looking at a graph showing declining box office numbers for the Sequel Trilogy (and for that matter, Star Wars in general) and wondering if a change of direction is warranted.