Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker had less of a box office drop than Star Wars: The Last Jedi on its first Monday. The final installment in the Skywalker saga has been hotly anticipated by Star Wars fans, ever since director J.J. Abrams released the first film in the new trilogy. Back in 2015, the arrival of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the first time in a decade that fans had the opportunity to see a brand new Star Wars film. Its release marked a watershed moment in the beloved franchise’s history, with new characters being introduced, and familiar storylines terminating.

While fans were uncertain of exactly what direction the new trilogy would head in, it was instantly clear this was a series that was aiming to take things in a different direction. At the same time, however, established character arcs and storylines were carefully brought to a close, though for some Star Wars fans, this amounted to what they felt to be little more than a dull retelling of the original Star Wars films - particularly with The Force Awakens. Regardless of its detractors, The Force Awakens was a massive box office hit, eventually taking fourth place in the list of highest grossing films of all time. Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi arrived two years later, and though today it is hailed by some as one of the best Star Wars films ever, it failed to outperform The Force Awakens at the box office. Nonetheless, The Last Jedi still grossed over $1 billion worldwide.

Now less than a week into its release, the success of the third and final film in the trilogy remains to be seen. Reviews from both fans and critics alike have been mixed, and although Abrams’ return to the trilogy scored one of the biggest opening weekends of any film in 2019, Rise of Skywalker has had the lowest debut of any film in the new trilogy. Still, things may not be all that gloomy for the final instalment in the Skywalker saga. According to Forbes, Rise of Skywalker has seen less of a drop in ticket sales than The Last Jedi. In fact, The Rise of Skywalker’s box office drop is smaller even than that of The Force Awakens. The official numbers show the following for the Monday after weekend openings: The Force Awakens - $40.1 million (34 percent drop), The Last Jedi - $21.5 million (58 percent drop), The Rise of Skywalker $29.4 million (27 percent drop).

As is typically the case with new film releases, the opening weekend results are comprised largely of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker presales. These tickets are often purchased well in advance, while the hype for a film is at its peak, and more aptly reflect the initial demand to see a new release. Once that opening weekend is over, however, the box office numbers begin to tell us exactly how strong a film’s word of mouth has been. In the case of Rise of Skywalker, its opening weekend may not have been spectacular in terms of what has previously been typical for a Star Wars film, but fans of the new movie should view these latest statistics as a positive. Often a film may not meet the degree of hype placed on it in the months and weeks leading up to its release, but that should never be taken to mean it isn’t worth a viewer’s time.

This seems to be especially true in the case of Star Wars films. The hugely successful franchise has often had the ability for its releases to grow on fans over time, building installments that were originally overlooked into something much more satisfying. Past examples of this phenomenon include some of the films in George Lucas’ much derided Star Wars prequel trilogy, which while not perfect, have taken on a certain degree of cult status over the years. More recently, The Last Jedi continues to grow as a fan favorite and if the current numbers are any indication, the final instalment of the Skywalker saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, could end up being one of its most satisfying.

Next: Why George Lucas Didn’t Direct The Star Wars Sequels

Source: Forbes