The final chapter in the Skywalker Saga might not have been the box office sensation that some fans were expecting it to be, but Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has edged out Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at the global box office to take its place as the third-highest grossing entry into the franchise. The film has earned $1.058 billion worldwide while Rogue One sits at $1.056 billion worldwide. Star Wars: The Force Awakens sits in the top spot with $2.068 billion while Star Wars: The Last Jedi earned $1.332 billion, a number which The Rise of Skywalker will fall short of reaching.
Heading into the film's release, fans knew that its box office wouldn't come close to the numbers earned by The Force Awakens, as that film was the first in 10 years for the franchise and served as the first continuation of the events of 1983's Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. While $2 billion seemed like a difficult number to reach, with this being the conclusion to a narrative that launched back in 1977, some fans thought it could earn The Last Jedi numbers. While there's no one answer as to why the film's numbers were lower than its predecessors, Lucasfilm will surely be glad that it took in more than 2018's Solo: A Star Wars Story, which took in a series-low $392.9 million.
While it might seems surprising that it took this long for The Rise of Skywalker to surpass a spinoff film, it serves as a testament to the accomplishments of Rogue One more than to any shortcomings of the recent sequel. Part of those successes is due to audiences overseas being more interested in a film like Rogue One, which makes for a more welcoming experience for a novice of the series as compared to a film that is billed as the ninth episode in a franchise that hasn't been as much of a cultural touchstone to certain audiences.
"Because of the complex characters and themes, the prequels, and all of the multi-generational layers that are part of the culture, or cult, of Star Wars, it's been hard for young Chinese filmgoers to get into the franchise," marketing researcher James Li shared with The Hollywood Reporter in the wake of The Last Jedi's disappointing box office.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in theaters now.