Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Was the Least Profitable of Disney's Sequel Trilogy

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker went on to earn more than $1 billion worldwide, an impressive achievement for any film, but given the success of the preceding films in the Skywalker Saga, this means the conclusion of the 40-year narrative still ended up being the least profitable of Disney's sequel trilogy. In addition to the film having the lowest total gross, Deadline notes that its production costs were the highest of the sequel trilogy, which, when combined with its lower earnings, result in the smallest profit margin of the sequel trilogy for the studio. Additionally, the profit margin was lower than that of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but higher than Solo: A Star Wars Story.

While some audiences are sure to point to these statistics as some sort of confirmation that the film itself was the poorest in quality of the sequel trilogy, these numbers reflect statistics similar to the original Star Wars trilogy. Star Wars: A New Hope has grossed $775 million worldwide on a reported budget of $11 million, with Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back taking in $547 million on a reported budget of $33 million and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi earning $475 million on an estimated production budget of $40+ million.

The case can surely be made that The Rise of Skywalker and Return of the Jedi are both the weakest entries into these trilogies, though that doesn't make this latest chapter an anomaly for Lucasfilm.

When it comes to the prequel trilogy, 2002's Star Wars: Attack of the Clones had the lowest worldwide gross, holding the distinction of being the only Star Wars movie not to be the top earner of its year of release for 17 years. That is, until the release of The Rise of Skywalker, which fell behind films like Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, Frozen II, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Joker. Clearly Disney doesn't feel too disappointed with the film's box office, as eight of their films were in the top 10 earners, including Toy Story 4 and Aladdin.

Disney has yet to announce what its next Star Wars movie will be, as it has instead been rolling out various plans for TV series. Based on the box office performance of The Rise of Skywalker, we won't be surprised if the studio aims to replicate their Marvel Cinematic Universe model of offering lower-stakes adventures more frequently and only occasionally rolling out a major event film.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD.

Are you surprised by these numbers? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!