Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hasn’t exactly had the smoothest run since its release. Lackluster reviews and a divided reaction from fans have led to the general conclusion that it’s a disappointing conclusion to the latest franchise trilogy. And while it hasn’t been a failure by any stretch of the imagination, it may end its box office run with a revenue that’s just below Joker.
This weekend, The Rise of Skywalker lost 434 screens in the United States. Its weekend haul of $531,000 means it saw a 61.8% drop in box office revenue, and put the total worldwide gross at $1,070,066,761 as of Sunday. In comparison, Joker’s total box office revenue was $1,073,255,159. Currently, The Rise of Skywalker is the 33rd highest grossing film, according to Box Office Mojo. At number 32 on that list, Joker is just barely ahead of it -- but is likely to stay there, especially since Episode IX is losing steam and likely nearing the end of its cinematic run.
If this holds, The Rise of Skywalker will also wind up grossing significantly less than the other two films in this trilogy. The Last Jedi is the 14th highest grossing film, with $1,332,539,889. And The Force Awakens has both films beat by an incredible margin with $2,068,223,624 and the impressive feat of being the fourth highest grossing film ever (not adjusting for inflation). All three of the prequels are also included in the list of the 200 films with highest lifetime grosses, as are A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.
The Rise of Skywalker’s performance is still obviously impressive -- most movies don’t make over a billion at the box office. But the fact that a highly anticipated franchise movie was bested by a film that few predicted would be a success is certainly a bit of an eyebrow raiser. While both films proved to be divisive, it seems as though audiences may have reacted to the mixed reception to each in different ways.
Joker benefited from the controversy surrounding its portrayal of the DC Comics villain’s origin story. The film’s passionate fans rallied behind it, and helped drive the film to its unexpected box office dominance. And surely, some curious moviegoers checked out the film to see what all the fuss was about. On the other hand, the general consensus that The Rise of Skywalker failed to meet expectations seems to have put the kibosh on the passionate fanbase’s support.
At the moment, Disney seems to be scaling back its cinematic Star Wars efforts as it tries to decide where to take the franchise next. So it may be a while before there’s another contender for box office glory from the galaxy far, far away.