Box Office: ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Debuts to Mighty $40 Million on Thursday

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” launched to a mighty $40 million during Thursday night previews, setting the stage for a massive opening weekend. The latest entry in the 42-year-old franchise is expected to earn as much as $200 million, casting a shadow across the box office, but falling short of the debuts of other films in the space-opera series.

Though not record-breaking, “The Rise of Skywalker” did achieve the fifth-best Thursday preview result, behind “Avengers: Endgame” ($60 million), as well as the two preceding “Star Wars” installments, “The Force Awakens” ($57 million) and “The Last Jedi” ($45 million), and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” ($44 million). “Star Wars” has one of the most ardent fandoms in movies, but the reviews for “The Rise of Skywalker” have been mediocre, with some critics complaining that the plot is overstuffed and unsatisfying.

Internationally, “The Rise of Skywalker” has debuted in 46 markets, including the U.K., Russia, Australia, Brazil and Mexico. The first two days have seen it earn a strong $59.1 million. It has kicked off to a lackluster $3.6 million in China, where it was bested by local-language films. “Star Wars” has little cultural resonance in the country.

J.J. Abrams, who previously oversaw “The Force Awakens,” returned to direct “The Rise of Skywalker,” taking the reins from “The Last Jedi’s” Rian Johnson. The cast includes Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Keri Russell, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver, as well as denizens of the first “Star Wars” trilogy, such as Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Ian McDiarmid and Billy Dee Williams. The movie is a Disney/Lucasfilm co-production and is intended to wrap things up for the Skywalker clan, the family of Force-enabled warriors whose lives and loves have been the connective tissue of nine films.

Despite the formidable competition, a few brave pics opted to do battle with “The Rise of Skywalker.” Lionsgate’s “Bombshell” and Universal’s “Cats” are also opening this weekend. “Bombshell,” which looks at the Fox News staffers who exposed Roger Ailes’ alleged sexual harassment, is seen as a major Oscars contender. Based on the reviews, “Cats,” an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical, appears to be a lock for several Razzies. “Cats” grossed $550,000 in previews, while “Bombshell” took in an estimated $335,000.

More Film

  • Persian Lessons Russian Cinema

    'Persian Lessons': Film Review

    In “Schindler’s List,” most of the actors spoke English, using accents to indicate their characters’ origins. In “Son of Saul,” the cast struggles to communicate in a mish-mosh of languages, as Jews of different nationalities were thrown together in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Stories about the Holocaust — so vital in trying to reconcile the horrors of the [...]

  • KARNAWAL

    Beta Cinema Celebrates ‘Karnawal’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Beta Cinema has acquired international sales rights to debut Argentine director Juan Pablo Félix’s “Karnawal,” winner of the Le Film Français, Ciné Plus, Gomedia and Titrafilm awards at December’s Ventana Sur. “Karnawal” featured co-producers from five countries: Argentina’s Bikini Films, Brazil’s 3 Moinhos Produçoes, Chile’s Picardía Films, Mexico’s Phototaxia Pictures, Norway’s Norsk Filmproduksjon and Bolivia’s [...]

  • Italian Xmas movie

    Italy's True Colours Scores Slew of Early EFM Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    Italian sales company True Colours has scored multiple sales at the EFM on several titles including Christmas comedy “Once Upon a Time in Bethlehem,” which was Italy’s top-grossing domestic title in 2019. “Bethlehem,” which scored roughly $17 million domestically, toplines comic duo Ficarra and Picone as a thief and a priest who time-travel to Palestine [...]

  • All-the-dead-ones

    Caetano Gotardo, Marco Dutra Talk Berlin Competition Entry ‘All the Dead Ones’

    Directed by Caetano Gotardo and Marco Dutra, Brazilian Berlin competition entry “All the Dead Ones” kicks off in Belle Epoque 1899 São Paulo. Ana, the daughter of a plantation owner and her nun sister attempt persuade a reluctant Ina, a former slave, to perform an ancient African ritual to cure their mother. A time warp [...]

  • The Daughter

    Caramel, Mod, Film Factory Unveil Manuel Martin Cuenca’s ‘The Daughter’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Caramel Films has boarded Manuel Martin Cuenca’s “The Daughter,” produced by Fernando Bovaira (“The Others” ) at Mod Producciones and Cuenca’s own La Loma Blanca. Pic was unveiled at Berlin’s European Film Market by its sales agent, Film Factory Entertainment. Set to be released in Spain by Caramel in late 2020, “The Daughter” marks the [...]

  • Sugar Rush

    Berlin: Nigeria's FilmOne Makes Global Push With China-South Africa Pact (EXCLUSIVE)

    FilmOne Entertainment, the Nigerian distributor and production company, has gone into production on the first movie to cash in on the $1 million film fund it launched with China’s Huahua Media and South Africa’s Empire Entertainment in December. “Kambili,” by director Kayode Kasum, is the first of what FilmOne co-founder Moses Babatope expects to be [...]

  • High Ground

    Berlinale Gala Player 'High Ground' With Simon Baker Sells to Samuel Goldwyn (EXCLUSIVE)

    Ahead of its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, Stephen Maxwell Johnson’s “High Ground” has found a U.S. home with Samuel Goldwyn. The film, headlined by Simon Baker, is represented in international markets by pan-European group Playtime and is having a gala screening at the festival. Set in 1919, “High Ground” tells the story [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content