Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is expected to lose the top spot at the domestic box office after three consecutive weekends. While it hasn’t been as big a hit as its sequel trilogy predecessors, The Rise of Skywalker is still another financial success for Disney, inching closer to the $1 billion mark globally. After the commercial disappointment of 2018’s Solo: A Star Wars Story (the first installment in the franchise to lose money), The Rise of Skywalker was a welcome return to form for the property at the box office, illustrating the Mouse House has the right idea keeping Star Wars in December from now on.
It’s true Star Wars renewed its friendly box office rivalry with Jumanji over the holiday season, but The Rise of Skywalker didn’t face much in the way of high-profile competition during the early part of its run. Cats became an infamous bomb to close out the year, and other late December releases like Little Women and Uncut Gems (while having fruitful runs of their own) were too niche to realistically challenge the latest Star Wars film. But now, nearly a month after The Rise of Skywalker came out, it appears its box office reign is about to end due to the nationwide expansion of a prominent awards contender.
According to Box Office Pro, World War I drama 1917 is projected to top the domestic box office this weekend with $36 million. After debuting in limited release over Christmas, the newly-minted Golden Globe winner is playing nationwide. The Rise of Skywalker should finish in a distant second, tallying $16.8 million.
The Rise of Skywalker losing the #1 position after three weeks isn’t a surprising development. That’s how long Rogue One and The Last Jedi held on to the top spots during their respective runs, so most probably expected Rise of Skywalker to begin losing steam at this point. The Force Awakens won the domestic box office for four straight weekends, but that film is not a fair standard to hold the other Star Wars movies to. The circumstances and hype surrounding Force Awakens‘ release can never be replicated, making that one a larger cinematic event. Three weekends at #1 is pretty standard for massive studio tentpoles. Even the juggernaut that was Avengers: Endgame fell to second place in its fourth week.
As for 1917, it’s clearly receiving a nice boost thanks to its strong showing at the Golden Globes, where it won Best Picture – Drama and Best Director. The film is expected to be a big player at this year’s Oscars as well, so cinephiles are curious to finally see 1917 for themselves amidst the buzz. Universal was probably smart holding off the nationwide release until now. If 1917 was playing everywhere over Christmas, it may not have fared as well (even with all the nominations). But now that the Star Wars hype has died down and there aren’t many anticipated offerings in January, 1917 could be set up for a sizable run where it becomes a proper box office hit.
Source: Box Office Pro
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