Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Rules The Weekend Box Office, But Opens Below Previous Films

Skywalker rises.

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Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker finally arrived in cinemas over the December 20-22 weekend, and as expected it opened to #1 at the box office. The ninth film in the Skywalker saga, and fifth Star Wars film released under Disney, had a huge opening weekend--albeit not as huge as one might expect, performing well below The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

The Rise of Skywalker opened to $175.5 million domestically, while also pulling in $198 million internationally for a global total of $373.5 million. For reference, The Force Awakens opened to $247,966,675 domestically in its first weekend, and The Last Jedi made $220,009,584. Both managed global opening weekends well above The Rise of Skywalker's total too.

This is not necessarily a disappointing result, though--it's the third best December opening weekend of all time, and above Disney's own conservative $160 million prediction. It also opened well above Rogue One ($155,081,681) and Solo ($84,420,489.) But a $175.5 weekend is also on the lower end of industry predictions. The mixed reviews likely did not help; GameSpot gave the film a 4/10, calling it "a galactic disappointment."

It's too early to tell if The Rise of Skywalker will become Disney's eighth 2019 film to cross the $1 billion mark globally. Christmas Day often sees huge cinema attendance, and the film's performance this week will give us a better idea of how high it might ultimately rise.

Speaking of disappointments, Cats bombed in its opening weekend, openingto $6.5 million on 3,380 screens. For a film opening on over 300 screens, that's the 18th worst performance ever; the reviews, which suggested that the film is a nightmare, likely didn't help. Cats carries a budget of $95 million, and is unlikely to recoup production costs. The version of Cats in cinemas reportedly features various clear visual errors, with a new print being shipped to cinemas in the wake of reports like the one below.

Holdovers Jumanji: The Next Level and Frozen 2 performed well, while Bombshell, starring Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, and Margot Robbie, is struggling as it expands wide.

Here's the domestic top 10 for the weekend of December 20-22. The full charts are available at Box Office Mojo.

  1. Star Wars: Episode XI - The Rise of Skywalker: $175,500,000
  2. Jumanji: The Next Level: $26,125,000
  3. Frozen II: $12,300,000
  4. Cats: $6,500,000
  5. Knives Out: $6,125,000
  6. Bombshell: $5,075,000
  7. Richard Jewell: $2,565,000
  8. Queen & Slim: $1,850,000
  9. Black Christmas: $1,800,000
  10. Ford v Ferrari: $1,800,000
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