Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has Force-d its way to $1 billion at the worldwide box office, making it the fifth Star Wars movie to cross that threshold and cementing it as the second J.J. Abrams-directed film on the list of billion dollar grossers. But as you might have imagined, this movie crossed that milestone significantly more slowly than the previous two entries in the Skywalker saga.
In its 28th day of release, Disney and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker box office totals ticked above $1 billion, making it the seventh Disney movie of 2019 to break that barrier. But some Disney executives are probably breathing a small sigh of relief, because if this movie didn’t hit a billion, it would almost certainly be viewed as a massive catastrophe. It’s already slightly embarrassing that the much-hyped “final entry in the Skywalker saga” took longer than both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi to hit $1 billion. (ComingSoon reminds us that Force Awakens took just 12 days, while Last Jedi took 19 days to achieve it.)
A billion isn’t what it used to be. There was a time, not too long ago, when hitting that mark was essentially reserved for only “perfect storm” situations. But now there are 46 movies that have made more than a billion dollars globally, and that list includes films like Minions, The Fate of the Furious, and last year’s live-action version of Aladdin. That’s not exactly top-tier quality company – but of course, box office success should never be used as a metric to judge quality anyway.
I can’t help but wonder how this latest Star Wars film might have performed if Colin Trevorrow, who was attached to direct before Abrams was brought on to replace him, was allowed to make his version of the movie. Details from his script have begun to leak out, painting a much different picture of what this story could have been, and since this is a mega-franchise in which every aspect of it is constantly being put under the microscope by fans, I imagine we’re going to be spending the next few years learning additional tidbits of how things may have differed under alternate circumstances. It’s a fascinating thought experiment that will clearly never have a definitive answer – in other words, it’s the perfect thing for Star Wars fans to spend loads of time arguing about while we wait to see what Kathleen Kennedy and Co. have in store for the future of the film franchise.
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