Star Wars Rises to the Top of the Box Office

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on print
Share on email

The Empire lives! The empire of the mouse, that is.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker skipped through hyperspace all the way to No. 1 at the box office, surprising absolutely no one. It earned an estimated $175.5 million in North America en route—a figure that under most circumstances would be absolutely flabbergasting, but in Star Wars’ rarified space feels just a little ho-hum. After all, 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens earned $248 million in its opening weekend—a record at the time—and 2017’s The Last Jedi opened with $220 mil.

Still, it’s the holidays, so let’s not be churlish. Rise of Skywalker still scored the third-highest December opening of all time, and it’s already 2019’s 10th highest-grossing film in North America (pushing past the horror movie Us). The film has banked nearly another $200 million overseas, too, with plenty more cash sure to roll in in the coming weeks.

With Skywalker, Disney now owns seven of the year’s 10 highest-grossing films (the others being No. 1 Avengers: Endgame, with $858.4 million; No. 2 The Lion King, $543.6 million; No. 3 Toy Story 4, $434 million; No. 4 Captain Marvel, $426.8 million; No. 6 Frozen II, $386.5 million; and No. 7 Aladdin, $355.6 million). The Mouse House broke the record for the highest-grossing year for a studio ever way back in July, before Frozen II and Skywalker even came out, so it may be a while before anyone—even Disney—sees a year like this again.

Jumanji: The Next Level finished a very distant second—so much so that it might as well be in another galaxy far, far away. It collected $26.1 million and pushed its total domestic haul to about $102 million. Frozen II iced away third place with $12.3. And that left Cats, the weekend’s other big new release, out in the cold.

Universal Pictures spent an estimated $90 million making the much-maligned musical, and even it expected its opening to be purrfectly awful. Turns out, the hairball was worse than the most passionate critics could’ve imagined. Cats collected just $6.5 million—nearly $10 million less than what prognosticators were expecting. It’s officially a feline flop.

Knives Out continued to show a surprising bit of life, closing out the top five with a $6.1 million weekend.