Star Wars: The Last Jedi is beating new film Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in at least one place: the holiday box office. The final film in the epic Skywalker saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker headed to theaters on December 20. It also marks the conclusion to the sequel trilogy featuring new characters Rey, Finn, and Poe, who were introduced in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The new trilogy takes place 30 years after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and also features returning characters like Luke, Leia, and Han Solo.
Though reaction to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been mixed, many felt that Star Wars: The Last Jedi was similarly divisive, putting both movies in a unique position. One thing the new film has been called out on is putting Kelly Marie Tran’s character, Rose Tico, on the back burner. She appears in just 76 seconds of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker after featuring more prominently in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In fact, it may have played a part in the latter film’s director, Rian Johnson, tweeting his support for Tran.
Despite concerns from fans and critics alike, both films have done well at the box office. However, per The Wrap, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker did slightly worse than Star Wars: The Last Jedi over the holiday weekend that began on Christmas Day. Though the weekend isn’t over yet, it’s projected that the new film will make $141.5 million this weekend, which would put its total gross at $368.6 million. Meanwhile, Star Wars: The Last Jedi came out during the same time of year in 2017 and made $395 million in the eleven days following its release. These numbers put it ahead of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
However, when taking comparisons to the previous Star Wars film out of the equation, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker easily bested the competition this weekend, as was expected. It did better than Jumanji: The Next Level and Greta Gerwig’s new adaptation of Little Women, which took second and third, respectively. Interestingly, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker also did battle with a different Johnson film, critical darling Knives Out, which has been in theaters since Thanksgiving. It’s estimated to make $110.5 million total.
It’s interesting to compare the most recent Star Wars films, especially because neither were universally beloved. The next new Star Wars film won’t come out until December 2022, as the franchise takes a break from the big screen. Comparing the numbers of that thus far mystery movie with those of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may prove especially surprising. It could be that the hiatus leaves fans missing the franchise more than ever, causing them to turn out in even bigger numbers. However, only time will tell.