Star Wars Rises to the Top of the Box Office

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rise of skywalker movie monday

The Empire lives! The empire of the mouse, that is.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker skipped through hyperspace all the way to No. 1 at the box office, surprising absolutely no one. It earned an estimated $175.5 million in North America en route—a figure that under most circumstances would be absolutely flabbergasting, but in Star Wars’ rarified space feels just a little ho-hum. After all, 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens earned $248 million in its opening weekend—a record at the time—and 2017’s The Last Jedi opened with $220 mil.

Still, it’s the holidays, so let’s not be churlish. Rise of Skywalker still scored the third-highest December opening of all time, and it’s already 2019’s 10th highest-grossing film in North America (pushing past the horror movie Us). The film has banked nearly another $200 million overseas, too, with plenty more cash sure to roll in in the coming weeks.

With Skywalker, Disney now owns seven of the year’s 10 highest-grossing films (the others being No. 1 Avengers: Endgame, with $858.4 million; No. 2 The Lion King, $543.6 million; No. 3 Toy Story 4, $434 million; No. 4 Captain Marvel, $426.8 million; No. 6 Frozen II, $386.5 million; and No. 7 Aladdin, $355.6 million). The Mouse House broke the record for the highest-grossing year for a studio ever way back in July, before Frozen II and Skywalker even came out, so it may be a while before anyone—even Disney—sees a year like this again.

Jumanji: The Next Level finished a very distant second—so much so that it might as well be in another galaxy far, far away. It collected $26.1 million and pushed its total domestic haul to about $102 million. Frozen II iced away third place with $12.3. And that left Cats, the weekend’s other big new release, out in the cold.

Universal Pictures spent an estimated $90 million making the much-maligned musical, and even it expected its opening to be purrfectly awful. Turns out, the hairball was worse than the most passionate critics could’ve imagined. Cats collected just $6.5 million—nearly $10 million less than what prognosticators were expecting. It’s officially a feline flop.

Knives Out continued to show a surprising bit of life, closing out the top five with a $6.1 million weekend.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 17 days ago
In my opinion none of the Star Wars movies have been that great except for Revenge of the Sith. A New Hope is probably the best of the original trilogy with Return of the Jedi coming in second mainly due to the fact that Vader gets redeemed at the end, and Empire coming in last mostly because of how boring it is. I've only seen bits and pieces of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, but from what I've seen those are no big deal, and honestly I've probably seen on tv a good hour and a half or so of the force awakens, maybe 15 or so minutes of Rogue One, and a good hour of The Last Jedi and they all seemed boring as heck to me. Maybe Solo or this last one are better, but I sincerely doubt it. But then again my favorite character in all the films is Darth Vader, so maybe that's clouding my judgement a little. But really Solo's an annoying son of a you know what half the time, Luke's okay but not really hero material to me, and Leia's a huge know-it-all witch if you know what I mean. Vader's the only interesting likable character in the entire Star Wars universe to me.
Anonymous 17 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

You're getting very close to crossing the swearing line on that comment of yours about Han Solo (remember, Plugged In will probably delete a comment that has cursing in it).

Anyway, I frankly wouldn't bother with Solo. It's a very boring, paint-by-numbers sci-fi flick that doesn't do anything worthwhile or memorable with its runtime. The Last Jedi might be worse storywise, but I would probably watch TLJ again rather than sit through Solo again (and L3 in Solo is incredibly annoying).

I can see why you like Vader so much to be honest; Anakin is frankly my personal favorite! Because think about it: when you view episodes 1-6 as one single story, Anakin/Vader is the main character. Episodes 1 and 2 are his origin, 3 is his fall, 4 and 5 are his time in the dark, and 6 is his return to the light.

For all the flack the prequels get, they did make Vader a more interesting character in the original trilogy, and it makes his redemption in 6 all the more satisfying.

It's too bad Anakin/Vader wasn't the Skywalker to "rise" in Episode 9 though.
seraph_unsung 26 days ago
I really liked Episode IX.  I figured it'd feel like a salvage job since it had VII's director again and Disney would be foolish to ever allow one of its most beloved properties to ever experience VIII-tier backlash again (and I'm saying this as someone who liked the movie).  It wasn't my favorite film this year (that's Far From Home—which I would place alongside Broly if that had been a 2019 film), and it was a very, very safe film, but I think that's what Disney needed.  "Knives Out," amusingly from Episode VIII director Rian Johnson, sounds like an Agatha Christie 'comedy' and has been getting an immensely positive reception.
Anonymous 27 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

The best thing about the Disney Star Wars trilogy is that it made me care more about the Expanded Universe. It's kinda funny; sometimes, we only care about certain things when we loose them.

I found a copy of the book Star Wars: Heir to the Empire a few months back at a used bookstore, and while it does take a few chapters to really get going, it definitely is a page turner, and a WAY better episode VII than what we actually got. I've been using whatever spare time I have reading it over Christmas break, and am loving it so far!

Maybe one day we'll get another Star Wars movie trilogy that everyone can agree on is great, but until then, I have a LOT of catching up to do with the Expanded Universe.
The Mouse Of Non 26 days ago
The Thrawn book series by Timothy Zahn is amazing!! If you liked Star Wars Rebels I would read that series next.
Anonymous 26 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I never really watched Rebels to be honest, save for the last few episodes of season 1 and the season 2 finale. I think I didn’t watch the show was because our cable package didn’t include the Disney it aired on, and my parents didn’t want to spend extra money just for one extra channel.

I was ok with that though, since The Force Unleashed did the origin of the Rebellion pretty well too.
The Mouse Of Non 26 days ago
Yeah I gotcha. It is a really good show. The later seasons are the better ones and Thrawn is an amazing villain. The book is really great if you haven't seen rebels so check that out anyway.
Rocketshipper 23 days ago
The Thrawn trilogy will always be the TRUE sequel trilogy in my mind.  From the beginning I've hated how Disney handled the old EU.   It came first, and will always have more legitimacy for me.  If anything should be considered "Legends" it's Disney's new material
The Mouse Of Non 23 days ago
The old Thrawn Trilogy was amazing.
Anonymous 23 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I’m with you there. And I’m also still frustrated as to why Disney shut down Lucasarts. Star Wars video games haven’t been the same since they shut down.

I look forward to 2023 when EA’s license to SW games expire and others studios get to show us their skills at the universe
charitysplace 27 days ago
I loved the final Star Wars installment. It had its flaws (it really felt like two movies crammed into one) but overall, it was a story about selfless love and redemption. And... it was just a fun watch.
The Mouse Of Non 26 days ago
That's funny, I was just telling the PI people on Discord the same thing. It should have been two movies, not one. It was too crammed to be one. But agreed, it has flaws and was rushed, but overall it was a fun watch.
charitysplace 23 days ago
Yeah. My head was spinning halfway through, since there was SO MUCH PLOT. I think I'll enjoy it even more a second time through, since I can relax, knowing where it's going.
The Mouse Of Non 22 days ago
I agree with you completely. The first time through, you're absorbing the plot. The second time is more of the time you get to look for little easter eggs and such without having to worry about missing something important.
Anonymous 28 days ago
I was talking to a friend about going to see "the new Star Wars movie". She asked, "Are you aware there is a same-sex kiss?" I replied that I wasn't. It saddens me that a movie review site associated with Focus on the Family would fail to mention this. I am sad. I am disappointed. My family will not be seeing this movie.
Tricia Inscho 27 days ago
The review did mention that actually.
Stephen S. 27 days ago
They mention that in the review for the movie...

https://www.pluggedin.com/movie-reviews/star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-2019
The Kenosha Kid 27 days ago
Blink and you'll miss it.
The Mouse Of Non 27 days ago
It really is hard to notice. I noticed because I was looking for it. But you blink and you'll miss it.
Anonymous 24 days ago
I agree with Anonymous.  I was much like the author of the plugged in review.  Went to it as a child in the theatre and looked forward to closing the saga with this movie.  Nope!!  We will not be going.  It’s sad that a trusted site like Plugged-In would down play this scene.  Who can you trust these days.
Shawn ODonnell 23 days ago
Another example that you can't win.  If plugged in had made this a huge part of the review, they would have been criticized for wasting review space on something that only took a second of screen time and happened in the background.  Deciding to describe exactly what happened, they are criticized for downplaying the scene.  Apparently reporting the exact content issue and how it was portrayed in the scene means that plugged in has caved to the alphabet soup activists and condones the behavior.  Sigh...
Anonymous 23 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

It’s also hypocritical on Disney’s behalf that they would put that scene in the film but then cut the scene out when the film released in Singapore.

Disney may act like they care about representation, but when it makes them loose money, they immediately stop caring.