Rumors of The Rise of Skywalker’s death may have been greatly exaggerated. While the third and final film in the new Star Wars trilogy opened below the box office of previous installments The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the film’s Monday box office numbers are more promising, pointing towards a potentially successful Christmas week and weekend.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker pulled in $29.9 million on Monday, December 23rd, which is ahead of the $21.5 million that The Last Jedi brought in on the Monday after its opening weekend, and stands as the sixth-highest Monday gross of all time. Granted, The Rise of Skywalker has an advantage in that most kids are out of school and people were already home for the holidays on December 23rd, whereas The Last Jedi opened in mid-December—its Monday grosses came on December 18th, a full week before Christmas.
The Monday number for Rise of Skywalker is still below the spectacular $40.1 million that The Force Awakens pulled in on December 21, 2015, but the first film in this new trilogy enjoyed a bigger box office boost because it was not only the first new Star Wars movie in nearly a decade, but also the first without the direct involvement of George Lucas. With The Force Awakens, everybody wanted to get a look for themselves to see what this newfangled Star Wars was all about.
That’s why a bit of a box office drop was expected (and came) with The Last Jedi, as some folks decided after The Force Awakens that this new Star Wars wasn’t really for them. And the lower opening weekend box office for Rise of Skywalker was also expected given that the Star Wars franchise has become comparable to the early days of Marvel Studios in terms of quantity (and quality, honestly). The rotten score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes didn’t help matters either.
The Rise of Skywalker pulled in $177 million domestically for its opening weekend, a step down from the $220 million opening of The Last Jedi and record-setting $247.9 million opening of The Force Awakens. But these Monday numbers are encouraging, and it’ll be interesting to see how Rise of Skywalker performs over the Christmas break.
The J.J. Abrams-directed film has now pulled in $433.4 million worldwide, with a domestic total at $206.6 million going into Christmas. There are no other major blockbusters opening on Christmas Day this year, but Greta Gerwig’s critically acclaimed Little Women could (and should) give Star Wars a run for its money, while the animated Fox effort Spies in Disguise and the excellent (but anxiety attack-inducing) Uncut Gems opens wide as well. In limited release, Warner Bros. is rolling out the moving drama Just Mercy and Universal is unveiling the one-shot WWI thriller 1917.