Rise of Skywalker, which opens the weekend box office, is less than Force Awakens and Last Jedi

Star Wars: The opening weekend of The Rise of Skywalker is expected to land south of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi this morning, according to Disney.

Rise of Skywalker’s first weekend raised $ 175.5 million in North America, including $ 90 million at Thursday’s early bird shows and then its full premiere on Friday. Despite being an estimated total, $ 175 million is still among the top 10 national opening weekends, according to Captain America: Civil War in 2016.

It’s also not in the same tax bracket as Skywalker’s predecessor trilogy – The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi each spent more than $ 200 million on their debut weekends. At this point, the top 10 of the opening weekend is largely an intramural competition, with Disney films making up 13 of the top 14 and six of the past two years.

At $ 175.5 million, The Rise of Skywalker is still the third-highest Star Wars feature film after its first weekend in the U.S., ahead of Revenge of the Sith, which has raised $ 108.4 million since its 2005 debut ,

International, The Rise of Skywalker grossed $ 198 million (for $ 373.5 million worldwide), supported by $ 26.8 million and $ 12.1 million in same-day premieres in the UK or China. For comparison, The Force Awakens posted nearly $ 500 million (more specifically, $ 494 million) worldwide on its first weekend, while The Last Jedi grossed $ 437.5 million. In particular, China waited about a month after the two films were released before they premiered in that country.

At the beginning of the weekend, Disney depressed industry watchers’ expectations and offered an estimate of $ 160 million for The Rise of Skywalker’s domestic box office, although others predicted $ 200 million or more.

The comparatively depressed box office situation could reflect any number of viewer trends ranging from fatigue with the 42 year old franchise; last year’s stunning solo: A Star Wars Story ($ 148 million opening weekend worldwide, $ 84.4 million); a critically lukewarm, if not with the thumb down, answer to director J.J. Abram’s vision for the franchise or questionable chatter of a shared fan base on social media.

Rotten Tomatoes currently rates The Rise of Skywalker 54% among critics (meaning percent of positive reviews), which is low enough to get the green hint icon. However, cinema-goers rate it as 86% (ie ticket buyers who rated it 3.5 out of 5 stars or more). By aggregating 59 ratings from Metacritic, The Rise of Skywalker scores 54; Metacritical readers rate it 50 and split more than 1,000 user reviews equally between positive and negative.

“In The Rise of Skywalker, there is no doubt that the developers are trying to repeat and pay for every fulfilling battle and memorable moment in the Skywalker saga story,” says our spoiler-free report. “However, the film feels awkward, hasty and, above all, an admission of creative defeat.”

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