Star Wars: The Last Jedi is tracking to pocket $1.31 billion total box office earnings as it nears the end of its theatrical run around the globe. Written and directed by Rian Johnson, the film follows 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens as the middle installment of the sequel trilogy.
With newcomers’ such as Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe (Oscar Isaac), Finn (John Boyega) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) continuing their journey in the galaxy far, far away, fans are also treated with a story centered on Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), learning more about what happened to the Jedi Master to make him abandon the galaxy. Gone is the eternally optimistic character that we have grown to love in the original Star Wars trilogy, and instead, we are met with a cynical and hopeless man, just waiting to die while in isolation. While this intriguing premise resulted in a sizable box office take, it appears that it will, unfortunately, fall below expectations.
Forbes suggests that The Last Jedi is looking to wrap up its global theatrical run after more than a month with a global total haul of around $1.31 billion. This makes it the eighth highest grossing movie of all time, edging Disney’s Frozen and falling behind Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Domestically, it’s the biggest flick of 2017, while it lands in the fifth spot globally. Looking at the bigger picture, the sequel is a massive success, but when it comes to Star Wars-standards, some may feel that it’s haul bit underwhelming.
While the numbers are not shabby, it’s admittedly below what most industry people were expecting, especially after Lucasfilm exhibited utmost trust on Johnson, granting him a full trilogy before The Last Jedi even hit theaters. The hype leading to the film was so high, some even predicted that the sequel could top Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back as the quintessential Star Wars movie. However, while many were thrilled with what the filmmaker had to offer when it comes to lore-building, there are some audience members who were none too thrilled with his work and were’s afraid to let their thoughts be heard. In the last few weeks, online forums and several social media sites have been the platform for countless debates about Episode VIII. Some have remained civilized, but others, not so much. The divided word of mouth could have played a role in the flick’s lackluster box office sum, at least when it comes to the expectation of loyalists. Further, chances are that the follow-up’s poor performance in China, one of the biggest markets in the world, did not deliver the massive turnout.
If anything, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has high re-watchability, especially when its chock-full of subtle references to previous episodes and Easter Eggs that every fan likes to obsess on. But it’s two and a half hour runtime might have hampered people’s willingness to go about it more than once. Couple that with it being perceived to be a darker film compared to The Force Awakens, Lucasfilm was already looking at a smaller demographics that would be interested in watching the movie. Meanwhile, looking on the flipside, it’s somewhat unfair to compare it to the JJ Abrams-directed episode considering that there was a different kind of anticipation for the project due to decades’ worth of clamor for a good Star Wars flick from its loyal community. We’ll see how it ranks in the long run in the franchise with Solo: A Star Wars Story due in less than five months and of course the still-untitled Episode IX coming out next year.
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