Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker sends competition far, far away with $176 million box office debut
The final installment of the Star Wars nine-part Skywalker Saga slayed the box office during the film’s huge weekend opener with no other film getting close.
Reviews may have been mixed for The Rise of Skywalker, but it didn’t keep fans from rushing to theaters to the tune of $176 million, according to Comscore. Second place went to Jumanji: The Next Level who made an estimated $26 million during its second week in theaters.
Frozen 2 takes the third spot with $12.3 million, followed by Cats that earned a disappointing $7 million during its debut.
The final spot on the top five was earned by Knives Out, the whodunit that won’t quit with $6.1 million.
In a surprise to no one, Star Wars: Episode IX cleaned house as moviegoers rushed to cinemas to discover the fate of their favorite characters in the J.J. Abrams-directed film. Its domestic debut is the 12th biggest all-time, the third biggest of 2019 (after only Avengers: Endgame and The Lion King), and the third biggest December opening ever.
The film sees the return of the surviving members of the Resistance face the First Order once more. Returning stars range from across the film’s franchise including Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Billy Dee Williams, John Boyega, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo, and Kelly Marie Tran. Fans were even treated to a final bow from the legendary actress Carrie Fisher via archival footage. Fisher died on Dec. 27, 2016, but had enough material in the can that she could make one more appearance as Leia Organa.
EW gave the film a C saying, “The best thing I can say about Rise of Skywalker is that it is sometimes incoherent on purpose.” Cinemascore participants found the film a bit better, giving it a B+.
Here’s a look back at the box office gross for each of the nine films from the franchise during opening weekend, not adjusting for inflation:
Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace (1999)— $65 million
Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones (2002)— $80 million
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)— $108 million
Star Wars IV: A New Hope (1977)— $1.6 million
Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)— $5 million
Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)— $23 million
Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens (2015)— $248 million
Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)— $220 million
Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker— (2019) $176 million
Going up against a movie franchise like Star Wars is tough, but Cats came in dismally in fourth place. The latest film adaptation of the hit Broadway music failed to capture an audience this time around, with complaints from critics and fans about the CGI and lack of strong storyline dominating social media.
Cats tells the story of a tribe of cats called Jellicles who during a yearly ritual, decide which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life. The all-star cast includes Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson, Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench, Ian McKellan, and Ray Winstone.
EW gave the big screen adaptation a C+ saying, “It’s as crazy as you thought it would be.” Moviegoers agreed with the assessment, Cinemascore reports a grade of C+ is appropriate.
Fox News drama Bombshell placed six at the box office, earning an estimated $5 million. The film shines a light on the real-life story of several women who accused Fox CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. Charlize Theron portrayed Megyn Kelly, Nicole Kidman brought to life Gretchen Carlson, and Margot Robbie played Kayla Pospisil. Veteran actor John Lithgow was tasked with playing Ailes, and Connie Britton his wife Beth.
EW gave the film a B+ saying, “Bombshell is director Jay Roach’s imperfect but duly intriguing attempt to tell that story, and his primary weapon is the women themselves: Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson; Charlize Theron, nearly unrecognizable in feline, pointy-chinned prosthetics, as Megyn Kelly; and Margot Robbie as one of the movie’s rare fictions, an ambitious evangelical millennial (“I see myself as an influencer in the Jesus space”) named Kayla Pospisil.
Overall, box office is down -4.7% percent year-to-date, according to Comscore. Check out the Dec. 13-15 numbers below:
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker—$176 million
Jumanji: The Next Level— $26 million
Frozen 2— $12.3 million
Cats— $6.5 million
Knives Out—$6.1 million
Bombshell— $5 million
Richard Jewell—$2.6 million
Queen & Slim—$2 million
Black Christmas—$1.8 million
Ford v Ferrari—$1.8 million