It’s a foregone conclusion at this point that every new entry in the Skywalker Star Wars saga is going to be a global box office hit. Anything less than a top-ten all-time finish would be considered a flop in the modern franchise’s standards etched out by Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Even so, writer/director Rian Johnson had his work cut out for him with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. As the middle chapter in the new trilogy headlined by Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Ben (Adam Driver), his story needed to bridge the gap from what J.J. Abrams introduced and where the story will ultimately wrap up.
While crossing $1 billion in global ticket sales was all but guaranteed, the divisive reception by fans to the film’s twists, turns and subversion of predictable storytelling was wholly unexpected. Ongoing squabbling among fans appears to have held back The Last Jedi’s box office returns compared to The Force Awakens.
As of this article’s publication, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has earned just over $1.2 billion in global ticket sales. That ranks its 13th on the all-time worldwide box office gross ticket sales chart, just behind Iron Man 3. It should surpass Beauty and the Beast (2017) to punch into the top 10 before all is said and done.
Domestically, The Last Jedi currently ranks sixth at $572.5 million. It needs to earn another $50 million plus to pass Marvel’s The Avengers, and that should happen within the next two weeks or so.
When compared to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi is coming up short in terms of earnings. The Force Awakens exploded onto the scene a little over two years ago with $936.6 million in domestic ticket sales, the all-time record. The Last Jedi is barely over halfway to that mark and finished third at the domestic box office this past weekend behind Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Insidious: The Last Key.
With The Commuter and Paddington 2 opening next weekend, The Last Jedi could very well drop to 5th place or below.
It’s doubtful that Star Wars: The Last Jedi will earn another $200 million at the domestic box office and overtake James Cameron’s Avatar to take over the second spot on the all-time list, much less catch The Force Awakens. It’s hardly a flop, yet the 50+ percent drops every weekend are more in line with Rogue One than a Skywalker saga entry.
All bets are off except for maybe Starburst free spins when Star Wars: Episode IX makes its debut. The final chapter in the Skywalker saga, plus the return of J.J. Abrams to the director’s chair, should reinvigorate the fanbase and — barring more divisive plot points — surpass The Last Jedi in ticket sales.