Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker posts the second-biggest Christmas Day box office of all-time. Following the film’s opening weekend earlier this month, much was made about how it had the lowest debut in the sequel trilogy, bringing in $176 million domestically. That figure was a far cry from The Force Awakens’ then record-breaking start of $247.9 million and The Last Jedi’s $220 million. Even though The Rise of Skywalker easily won the weekend, it was still a pretty disappointing development considering it was the grand finale of the Skywalker saga. Its opening haul was less than half of Avengers: Endgame’s.

More recently, however, The Rise of Skywalker’s box office performance is being seen in a more positive light. Its drop on the first Monday was less than The Last Jedi’s, suggesting it was poised to have strong legs over the holidays. And things are continuing to look up for the latest Star Wars film, with it having a very fruitful Christmas at the multiplex.

According to Deadline, The Rise of Skywalker grossed $32 million domestically on Wednesday, the second-best haul on Christmas ever. As one might expect, Rise of Skywalker trails only The Force Awakens ($49.3 million) on the list. For comparison’s sake, The Last Jedi earned $27.4 million on Christmas 2017, which is the third-highest total for the holiday. The Rise of Skywalker has now passed the $500 million mark at the worldwide box office.

By virtue of its opening weekend, The Rise of Skywalker will ultimately go down as the lowest-grossing sequel trilogy installment, which clearly isn’t what Disney was hoping for. Still, that The Rise of Skywalker is outperforming The Last Jedi during the week indicates general audiences have taken a liking to it and are making sure to catch it on the big screen. With The Rise of Skywalker receiving mixed professional reviews, there was a fear that word-of-mouth would dissuade some viewers from going to see it, but moviegoers seem to be enjoying The Rise of Skywalker. In fact, backlash for the film is the inverse of Last Jedi’s, with fans viewing it in a much better light than critics. With The Rise of Skywalker facing little competition at the box office, it should be able to dominate the charts over the next few weeks, in all likelihood becoming yet another $1 billion smash for Disney.

The Rise of Skywalker’s healthy performance so far illustrates Disney was smart to return the franchise to December, where Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi all had success. Last year’s spinoff Solo was a May release and struggled mightily, in part due to its competitive release window (opening on the heels of Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2). It isn’t surprising the Mouse House is keeping Star Wars in winter, securing December 2022, 2024, and 2026 dates for currently untitled movies. With fellow Disney franchise Marvel having a stranglehold on the summer, it makes sense for the studio to spread out their properties, and odds are Star Wars will continue to thrive in the holiday season down the road.

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Source: Deadline