Despite a healthy showing over the extended Christmas weekend, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker still trails The Last Jedi at the box office. After receiving mixed reviews from critics, Rise of Skywalker posted the lowest opening in the sequel trilogy, grossing $176 million in its first three days. While that was clearly one of the highest debuts of 2019, the figure was still disappointing, considering The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi both easily cleared $200 million in their respective first weekends, and The Rise of Skywalker was billed as a premier cinematic event for the holiday season. The film was successful, but only modestly.

Things began to look up for Rise of Skywalker during the week. Its first Monday drop-off was lower than The Last Jedi’s, and Rise of Skywalker earned $32 million on Christmas Day (the second-highest total ever for the holiday). Some took that as a sign the trilogy’s third chapter could outpace its predecessor commercially, but even with a Christmas boost, Rise of Skywalker remains behind.

According to The Wrap, The Rise of Skywalker earned $135 million domestically during the 5-day holiday frame ($72 million of which came over the traditional Friday-Sunday window). Its U.S. total now stands at $361.8 million, slightly less than the $368 million The Last Jedi brought in over its first 10 days in theaters. The Rise of Skywalker has also made $725 million globally, fast approaching the $1 billion mark.

While Disney would probably prefer for The Rise of Skywalker to be earning more than Last Jedi, these numbers do show the latest from director J.J. Abrams has strong legs and continues to be a big draw despite the word-of-mouth. Sometimes, a mixed reception can negatively impact a film’s commercial performance, but audiences clearly made holiday plans to see Star Wars on the big screen. Rise of Skywalker’s fan/critic divide likely played a role here, as viewers see the film in a more positive light. There’s also the fact Rise of Skywalker isn’t facing much direct competition; Christmas releases like Little Women and Spies in Disguise fared well with their target demographics, but none of the newcomers had as much mass appeal as Star Wars.

But much like the film itself (depending on who you ask), The Rise of Skywalker’s box office haul is very much a mixed bag. It’s well on its way to turning a profit for Disney, helping the franchise rebound commercially after the failure of Solo. Still, for the third installment of a Star Wars trilogy, these figures are a tad underwhelming. Return of the Jedi made more than The Empire Strikes Back and Revenge of the Sith outgrossed Attack of the Clones. Barring an unforeseen surge in ticket sales, The Rise of Skywalker is going to fall short of matching The Last Jedi, which is a little surprising. Perhaps it’s for the best Star Wars is taking a little break, with the next movie not scheduled until December 2022.

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Source: The Wrap