Already the final film in the Skywalker saga presents confusing results. When the last full trailer for the newest Star Wars film dropped, Atom Tickets announced the biggest pre-sale numbers in its history. Yet, some analyses suggest the film will have the lowest opening weekend of the modern era, save for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Most analyses put the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker box office prediction in the range of $175 million to as much as $210 million for its opening weekend. That would put it behind Episode VIII, which earned $220 million, and Episode VII, which opened at more than $247 million. Looking at past trilogies, the third installment never grosses more than the first. However, they always beat the middle chapter.
When talking about how movies make money, there are two figures we look at. The first is the opening weekend performance, and then the total box office gross a film makes during its run. We have no way of knowing how long this movie will be in theaters. So, we look at the opening weekend numbers first. Most Star Wars films stay in theaters for about a month (an eternity in this era of cinema) and there are international box offices to consider as well. So, while the opening weekend may be tracking lower for this final installment, the movie should surpass the total gross for The Last Jedi.
How They Made the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Box Office Prediction
Image via screengrab
Tallying the box office total for an upcoming movie is a difficult process, involving technical data and other math skills beyond the abilities of your humble correspondent. There are many factors they consider, such as ticket pre-sale numbers, historical comparisons, and box office trends for the current year. They also look at the competition from other movies releasing at the same time. Unlike the past two Star Wars releases, there really is no major blockbuster competition to speak of. Still, after Solo’s massive underperformance, Disney hopes to manage expectations. Shooting for $200 million would make a $225 million opening weekend look like a surprise success.
Yet, the history of box office prediction is hit-or-miss, and so it might be with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Episode VII was originally projected to make as little as $170 million it’s opening weekend, according to Deadline. It blew that figure away like a spherical superweapon. Nonetheless, The Last Jedi faced a similar low projection, and it surpassed it. So, even the low box office prediction for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is higher than the previous Disney saga films. Disney hopes that trend continues, and it probably will. Yet, the opening weekend isn’t the most important money-making time for this movie.
The Real Test for the End of the Skywalker Saga Will Be the Two Weeks After Release
Image via Lucasfilm
The real test for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be the box office prediction for the first two full weeks of the film’s release. Both previous saga films were glowingly-reviewed by critics. If this continues, that could help push up that box office projection in the days before release. Yet rancor from a vocal minority of fans, the word-of-mouth reviews about The Last Jedi did not help. It also opened in December. But the holiday break didn’t arrive for a full week after release. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will open five days before Christmas. The holiday falls on a Wednesday this year. That means the Monday or Tuesday will be the first days of Christmas break for many kids and families. Pretty much every day until New Year’s could play like a weekend.
Scott Mendelson, the box office analyst for Forbes, believes that Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker could hit the low end of its box office prediction and still make more than its predecessor. In fact, he says that this film could be the strongest continued earner since 1999’s The Phantom Menace. Good word-of-mouth will help, but even if the so-called “Fandom Menace” trashes the film online, it won’t affect things like it did for The Last Jedi. That film had a week before the holiday break began in earnest and stronger competition. Either way, this film is almost guaranteed to make at least a billion dollars.
What do you think of the box office prediction for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? Does it influence whether you will go see it or not? Share your thoughts, reactions, and your own predictions in the comments below.
Featured image via Lucasfilm
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.