In 2016, Walt Disney Pictures was undisputedly the biggest movie studio. The year saw several big budget productions fall short of their ultimate aspirations, but most of the Mouse House’s releases found a great deal of critical and commercial success. By the time the books officially close on the 2016 box office, Disney and their affiliates will be responsible for five of the 10 highest-grossing films domestically, including the three top spots. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story recently passed Finding Dory for the #1 position, becoming just the seventh film in history to cross $500 million in the States.
Of course, Disney is very much a global brand with widespread appeal, and three of their 2016 films (Captain America: Civil War, Zootopia, and Finding Dory) all punched their tickets into the $1 billion club. Now, Rogue One has joined those ranks, adding another milestone to its highly impressive performance in theaters.
According to The Wrap, Rogue One‘s worldwide total stands at $1 billion after adding $7 million domestically over the weekend. The spinoff is the 28th movie all-time to make that much and third in the Star Wars franchise (joining The Force Awakens and The Phantom Menace). Given that Rogue One hit the high end of expectations during its opening weekend last month and faced minimal competition during the bulk of its run, many felt it was only a matter of time before it reached $1 billion.
This is obviously a major victory for Lucasfilm, who took something of a risk with Rogue One. As a prequel/spinoff relatively disconnected from the main Skywalker family saga, the film was seen as an experiment to test the viability of the Star Wars brand and see if the anthologies were worthwhile investments. It’s clear now that things went about as well as they could – despite concerns over the multitude of reshoots last year. Not only was Rogue One one of 2016’s greatest hits, it also received widely positive reviews from fans and critics, which will only increase interest and anticipation for the other standalones the studio is working on (like the young Han Solo movie).
Lucasfilm’s hot streak (at least, from a commercial perspective) will undoubtedly keep going this year when Star Wars: Episode VIII reaches theaters in December, and depending on how it’s received, it could very well challenge the numbers posted by The Force Awakens. Disney seems to have found a goldmine with the holiday season, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that they are allegedly considering moving Han Solo to December 2018 (shifting it from a summer release). Just from ticket sales, the Star Wars renaissance has made $3 billion, nearly equaling the $4 billion price tag Disney paid for Lucasfilm. You could say that was a bargain.
Source: The Wrap