And so begins the steady decline of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The movie already made over $1 billion at the worldwide box office, with a nearly even split between the domestic and international markets. But the movie is no longer going to get that much help here in North America.
That's not to say Star Wars: Episode IX is about to pull a Cats and all but disappear from existence, but in its fifth weekend, The Rise of Skywalker lost 1,200 domestic theaters. Last weekend, Episode IX was playing in 4,279 theaters, a slight drop from its opening in 4,406 theaters. Now it is playing in 3,053 theaters -- quite a big drop -- and facing serious competition this weekend.
Across the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend, Bad Boys for Life is expected to dominate the box office in a big way as it plays in 3,775 theaters. 1917, which dethroned Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker last weekend for #1 at the box office, is expected to place second in 3,612 theaters. Dolittle, Robert Downey Jr.'s surprising follow-up to Avengers: Endgame, is playing in 4,000 theaters and is expected to take third. Jumanji: The Next Level is playing in 3,323 theaters and it's eyed for a $12.4 million weekend, which could edge out Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
If this weekend plays out as box office prognosticators expect, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker could take #5 at the domestic box office, below Jumanji: The Next Level, which is currently playing in more theaters -- even though it came out a week before Rise of Skywalker.
As Forbes noted, that means Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker dropped 1,353 theaters in four weeks, compared to Jumanji: The Next Level dropping just 904 theaters in five weeks. Jumanji vs. Star Wars is nothing new, we went through this with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Jumanji was a surprise hit last time and not as surprising now. But here in early 2020, the numbers for Rise of Skywalker just aren't where Lucasfilm must want them to be. It's strange to say that about a movie that passed $1 billion in a month, but Star Wars is held to a different standard.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is still making money both here and internationally, so it's far too early to throw in the towel. But here are the totals so far for the movies in the trilogy saga:
Do you think Rise of Skywalker has a chance to catch up to The Last Jedi's worldwide tally, with help overseas? Eh. There's no shot of getting close to The Force Awakens. That movie's domestic total alone was almost $1 billion. It's the most any movie has ever made at the domestic box office -- including Avengers: Endgame and Avatar, which battled for the highest worldwide title but were not even in the running to top Star Wars: Episode VII's domestic money.
Why is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker underperforming? I'm sure everyone has his or her own ideas. It's still making money, though, and already passed $1 billion, so the final amount will be somewhere in between a win and a loss. Like the movie itself?
Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.
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