We’ve been hearing for quite some time from exhibitors and distribution sources that advance ticket sales are strong, but not overly robust for Disney/Lucasfilm’s finale Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, meaning in the way that they were for 2015’s Force Awakens ($247.9M) and 2017’s Last Jedi ($220M). Hence, early AM estimates for the J.J. Abrams movie hitting tracking, when averaged are at $205M given the comparative titles provided. Atom Tickets had reported that the first day sales of Skywalker back on Oct. 21 were their second best ever behind Avengers: Endgame, however, they’re a much younger ticket retailer than Fandango, and rep a small portion of overall presales next to AMC, Regal, Cinemark and other major outlets with millennials and mobile users being their prime demos. As of 8AM, one tracking firm says $175M, but that seems low. Working in Skywalker‘s advantage is that Abrams, and stars Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver are already hitting the talk show circuit to generate heat.
As is typical with tracking of late, if reviews are bad for Skywalker, and we hope not, then all projection gas here goes out the window. The world Hollywood premiere for Skywalker is on Dec. 16 and will be screening for critics and media around the same time.
Everyone is believing based on presales and the fact that this a threequel (in the Episode 7-9 sense of the word), that ticket sales will be lower for Skywalker. I will say this: When Skywalker reviews break should they report that this threequel is course correcting the left turns that many fans griped about in Rian Johnson’s Last Jedi, word will break out like wildfire and the sky is the limit when it comes to this threequel’s opening. Hands down. An expected hearty holiday play period is in store no matter what. We haven’t seen, knock on wood, winter storms ruin the opening weekend of a Star Wars movie yet, even Episode 4 prequel Rogue One ($155M); just bad audience word of mouth spurred by the stigma of a prolific director divorce, and I mean Solo ($84.4M).
Skywalker‘s first choice is under that of Avengers: Endgame ($357.1M opening record of all-time), Avengers: Infinity War ($257.7M), and not far from Force Awakens and Last Jedi and just above Jurassic World ($208.8m) and The Lion King ($191.8m) opening. Other B.O. titles that Skywalker is being compared to are Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 ($102.7M), Solo and Rogue One. Unaided awareness, that portion of survey respondents who bring up Skywalker without being prompted by a pollster is high, but behind Endgame, Infinity War, Last Jedi and Force Awakens. Last Jedi was in wide release (north of 1,000 theaters) for 8 weeks back in 2017 to Force Awaken 12 weeks. Force Awakens became the highest grossing title stateside with $936.6M, Last Jedi became the 9th highest in U.S./Canada with $620.1M.