Star Wars: The Last Jedi is easily the highest-grossing movie of 2017 and is set to end its reign at the global box office with $1.3B according to Forbes. Here’s why there’s both good and bad news to be found in that statement.
Let’s accentuate the negative for a moment. Star Wars: The Last Jedi did underperform to some degree — there’s no getting around that. It’s been indicated that rival studios were expecting a $1.6B total for The Last Jedi and the movie has fallen short of that by a few hundreds of millions — in part because of the unexpected backlash to the movie from hardcore fans, and in part because there were fewer repeat viewings this time around. Furthermore, the movie was a bust in China, the world’s second-largest market, as the seemingly-universal themes of the Star Wars franchise don’t seem to click with most audiences over there.
Stateside, The Last Jedi had to deal with an unexpected challenger — Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle — which targeted some of the same demographics. While many wrote Jumanji off prior to its release as being likely to get bulldozed by the behemoth that is Star Wars, the adventure movie managed to be very well-received and had strong legs at the box office — so strong, in fact, that the movie eventually started to beat The Last Jedi when it came to daily box office grosses. As a result, The Last Jedi represents the biggest sequel-to-sequel drop in history, making about $700M less than its predecessor Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
With all that doom and gloom out of the way, here’s the fact of the matter — Disney and Lucasfilm have more than 1.3 billion reasons to not be too worried about the future. It’s the tenth-highest-grossing movie at the global box office (with it expected to pass Frozen‘s total this weekend) and the sixth-highest-grossing movie in the United States and Canada. While The Last Jedi relatively underperformed, The Force Awakens overperformed massively in a way that few other movies in modern history have, and as such, Disney’s expectations for the franchise are likely more modest than one would expect.
Furthermore, The Last Jedi‘s budget is believed to be on par with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at $200M, which is lower than the near-$260M budget assigned to The Force Awakens, and as such, that means that the movie reached profitability at a comparatively faster rate. The movie broke even with its USA/Canada gross alone, so it’s doubtful that any Lucasfilm executives are drinking themselves into a stupor over their second biggest hit ever. The batting average for each Star Wars movie produced under Disney is well over $1B, which is in and of itself more than the average Marvel Cinematic Universe movie (a brand considered more valuable to Disney than Star Wars) — and all things considered, that’s something to celebrate, not worry about.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now playing in theaters. The movie’s cast includes Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke, Domhnall Gleeson as General Armitage Hux, Benicio Del Toro as “DJ”, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, and Jimmy Vee as R2-D2.