Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was meant to be the closing chapter on the Skywalker Saga, the foundation that established a galaxy far far away. Yet in the aftermath of its release, much of the conversation has instead circulated around the now known behind-the-scenes shuffling prior to production. JJ Abrams was brought back in the director's chair left empty by Colin Treverrow, scripts were re-written, and the end result was a film that may be adored by some Star Wars fans and left unsatisfied to others. The closing chapter left a divide among fans and critics, but how did it fare alongside its fellow blockbusters in cinemas? The numbers have been crunched, and they don't provide the type of "hope" that rebellions are built upon.
As the final numbers were tallied in Deadline's Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament of 2019, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker closed the saga as the ninth-most profitable film of 2019, accruing $300 million in net profits by the end of its theatrical run (taking into account total global revenues). When compared to its predecessors, The Rise of Skywalker's net profits are the lowest of the sequel trilogy, behind The Force Awakens ($780.1 million in profits) and The Last Jedi ($417.5 million in profits).
WHAT THIS MEANS
$300 million in profit sounds like a satisfying payoff of an investment at first glance. But when looking at the numbers, it's vital to remember you're looking through the lens of Disney. When The Force Awakens hit theaters back in 2015, fan hype grew exponentially and it was evident in the revenue accrued by the end of its run. Fast forward to 2019, and it seems not only did the fan reception of the trilogy's final film dip downward, but it made a mark on the company's profits. Fan reception, alongside these new box office numbers, ultimately illustrates the challenge in closing out a film franchise, a challenge that even Daisy Ridley spoke about. Too much shuffling behind the scenes, undoing the setups of its predecessors, seems to have sealed The Rise of Skywalker's fate. A bomb at the box office? Absolutely not, but the final chapter of the saga surely could have brought more to the table, and apparently, to Disney's balance sheet.