Ever since Star Wars: The Phantom Menace embraced theaters in 1999, perhaps no other Star Wars movie has earned as many divisive opinions from fans as Star Wars: The Last Jedi. While the movie opened to a thunderous $450 million worldwide opening weekend (with $220 million of that coming from the US alone) along with a very high critical reception not seen since 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back (the movie currently sits at a 91 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes), it has still failed to resonate with a multitude of fans. Whatever be the reasons for that, it doesn’t seem to be slowing The Last Jedi‘s march as the highest grossing movie of 2017 in the US at least.
Box Office Mojo’s predictions for the New Year’s weekend suggest The Last Jedi is on track to make $57 million domestically in its third opening weekend. Now while that number may be a sharp decline from its $220 million second highest domestic opening of all time, it’s still a number many franchises would give an arm and leg for. In comparison, Universal’s much hyped reboot The Mummy starring Tom Cruise opened to $30 million and ended up with domestic figures so low that The Dark Universe’s future is now in flux. But we digress, this prediction by Box Office Mojo means come 2018, The Last Jedi will surpass Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to end up becoming the highest grossing domestic release of 2017 with a haul of $540 million. That should also move it past Rogue One and The Dark Knight to become the sixth highest grossing domestic movie of all time, behind Marvel’s The Avengers.
How far the movie goes from here is dependent a lot on upcoming releases. Regardless, The Last Jedi has been constantly dropping from week to week and if neither the extended Christmas or New Year weekends could pick up its earnings, there’s every chance the movie is only going to plateau from here on out. It still has a lot of life left and we could still see it cross the $630 million The Avengers made in its domestic run in 2012 although it will be a slow haul.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi received some heavy criticism from fans, particularly towards director Rian Johnson for altering the very fundamental aspects of Luke Skywalker’s character while also disappointing with the tepid reveals of Supreme Leader Snoke and Rey’s parents. Its ratings were also the subject of controversy when a user on Facebook took responsibility for manipulating the movie’s Rotten Tomato user scores by creating bot accounts to lower the film’s ratings. Despite all this, several accolades have been dropped towards the movie as well by both critics and audiences alike with many praising director Rian Johnson for pushing the limits of Star Wars and giving people unexpected surprises within the realms and possibilities of the Star Wars lore. Disney has also tapped Rian Johnson for a potentially new Star Wars trilogy going forward so it’ll be interesting to see if this backlash affects their decision going forward.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi also known as Star Wars: Episode VIII is running in theaters now. The next movie in the Star Wars saga, the spin-off titled Solo: A Star Wars Story is expected for release on May 25, 2018. The final chapter in the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: Episode IX is scheduled for release on Dec 20, 2019.