How Will STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI’s Box Office Plunge Compare To ATTACK OF THE CLONES?
Something I’ve been covering for a while on the El Fanboy Podcast is the box office drop-off of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. While the film has been another striking success story for the new Lucasfilm, it isn’t going to end up anywhere near the $2.1 Billion that The Force Awakens raked in only two years ago. I’ve been hammering home the idea that the film should make north of $1.5 Billion in order for the drop between sequels to be considered reasonable. After all, no studio likes seeing a sequel fall very short of its predecessor, since that means that they lost a significant number of paying customers between installments.
With The Last Jedi‘s final cume coming into focus, it’s now getting easier to determine exactly how it stacks up; Not only to The Force Awakens, but also to previous Star Wars dips.
Historically speaking, the second episode in a Star Wars Trilogy always takes a dip. The Empire Strikes Back made 30% less than Star Wars (now known as A New Hope). Attack of The Clones made roughly 35% less than The Phantom Menace. If Forbes‘ The Last Jedi‘s box office projections are accurate, the Rian Johnson-directed film will end up with a drop of 35%!
This means that the dip falls right in line with Attack of The Clones.
All things considered, that’s not so bad. It only seems bad when you look at numbers on their own. With Star Wars: The Force Awakens being a cultural phenomenon and raking in an insane $2.1 Billion, the fact that The Last Jedi is going to tap out at $1.34 Billion- which is only $300 million more than the spin-off Rogue One– makes it seem like quite a far cry.
But hey, fair is fair. A 35% drop is right in the seemingly acceptable range, so I therefore have to quit arguing with readers and fellow commentators about what a disappointment The Last Jedi is. I’m man enough to admit when I’m wrong.
I still contend that Lucasfilm may interpret these numbers in ways that should concern fans of Rian Johnson’s vision. I’ll be releasing a video, right here at Revenge of The Fans, analyzing things further. So stay tuned for that.
What do you make of The Last Jedi‘s box office performance? Is it cool that it has more in common with Rogue One than The Force Awakens? Did it do better or worse than you thought? How do you think Lucasfilm will interpret these figures? Let me know!
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4 thoughts on “How Will STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI’s Box Office Plunge Compare To ATTACK OF THE CLONES?”
Is it really about Rian Johnson or about making Star Wars more appealing for Chinese audiences. Thinking about the drop and it’s lack of presence in Asia that’s not as bad it should be but I noticed you left that part out… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ceb42bb5c07263ae1cbd46335e4e2b16fd25660fa6b1600ee93310c041c85c64.gif
It made $41.2M in China. The Force Awakens made $124M there. Significant difference, but an $80M swing doesn’t push it much over $1.4B globally. There was massive fallout everywhere.
One thing that should be noted is the dollar has gained in almost all markets compared to 2015.
For instance, Force Awakens made $163.6M in the UK. The Last Jedi made $109.4M. If we adjust for the 2015 exchange rate, it would have made $129.8M. Foreign Box Office is not apple to oranges – exchange rates are in flux.
Force Awakens made $97.9M in Japan. Jedi made $60.8M. It made $65.6M in 2015 dollars. Still a significant drop off, but not as strong as the numbers seem to indicate. Generally you can adjust by roughly 5% on the foreign box office numbers – another $35-40M in box office. That puts it at around $1.38-39B to finish.
Still a large drop, but closer to 33%.
Also should be worth noting that Attack of the Clones came out in 2002 after 9/11. The dollar was weaker compared to 1999, not stronger. The British Pound was 12% stronger compared to 1999 against the dollar. This means you really need to take roughly $30M off Attack of the Clones for a fair comparison to Phantom.
So Attack of the Clones was closer to a 40% drop if we adjust for foreign currency exchange.
The US drop will likely finish up around that 33% figure, maybe slightly better. Probably slightly better than the 35% US drop for Attack.
The performance is around where I thought it would end up – on the lower end, but still there. $1.3-1.5B is where I thought it would end up.
There are two factors when doing a Force Awakens comparison. First, that film was heavily advertised as being a return of Han, Luke, and Leia. Even Phantom Menace didn’t have a slew of old, beloved characters returning. It had young Obi-Wan and the Droids, but they had nothing on Harrison Ford, Carrie Fish, and Mark Hamill returning.
Also it didn’t have to compete against much for the family viewing dollar. Alvin and the Chipmunks and then a fairly weak Will Ferrell movie for the rest of the crowds. The closest thing was The Revenant and that didn’t see wide release until 1/8.
There was nothing with the broad appeal that Jumanji has shown globally. Jumanji launched less than a week after Last Jedi did and probably took some repeat viewings away from Star Wars that may have gone to The Last Jedi if it were competing against the likes of Alvin and the Chipmunks or Daddy’s Home. Jumanji is a part of this story. The Force Awakens faced nothing like it. It still would have had an amazing run, but I think a film with legs and the appeal of Jumanji might have knocked $100-150M or more off the Force Awakens global take.
I’m sure Lucasfilm has a good read on the pulse of fans and has likely done some more in depth surveys to tell how divisive Johnson’s film really is. Will this box office run impact him doing a new trilogy? It might.
I don’t think that puzzle is complete yet. We still have to wait to see how Solo does. That film could surprise or it could be a tank along the lines of BvS or, worse, Justice League. What if it underperforms against Rogue One by 35%? That would put it below $700M globally. Lucasfilm might be far more forgiving of Rian Johnson at that point.
I think Disney needs to tread very carefully with Star Wars. Fans will not blindly go see the films. I’ve long been of the opinion that pushing out a new Star Wars film is a bad idea just as I think they put out too many Marvel films in most years. Three a year is a bit much. But Disney has damaged properties in the past by accelerating timelines – they did it with their animated pictures and have done it with Pixar as well.
The movie simply didn’t resonate with audiences like its predecessor. In my case, I really disliked the film. Saw it just once, and never went back. Conversely, I enjoyed THE FORCE AWAKENS and saw it multiple times.
As far as Rian Johnson is concerned, I’m sure he’s safe. He’s adhering to Kathleen Kennedy’s feminist politics and agenda, so he’ll get his trilogy.