Breaking news: A Star Wars movie is on track to make a whole lot of cash. Shocking, right? The ninth chapter in the Skywalker saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, is going to break the bank when it arrives in theaters next month. According to early box-office projections, J.J. Abrams’ sequel is expected to make $205M during its opening weekend.

What’s the Buzz?

According to Deadline, early pre-sale tickets are painting a big opening for the sequel, despite being noticeably less than its predecessors, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Abrams’ sequel nabbed $247.9M its opening weekend, while director Rian Johnson’s follow-up earned $220M. When early ticket sales started for The Last Skywalker on October 21st, Atom Tickets — a new ticket sales outlet — reported it was their second best selling ticket ever right behind Avengers: Endgame

Not to downplay a $205M opening, but some analysts are theorizing the polarizing reaction to Star Wars: The Last Jedi has a hand in why The Rise of Skywalker may not top the last two films in the franchise. It’s only a theory, but for now, it sounds unfair to point fingers at The Last Jedi, which is a bold and more emotionally-charged sequel that took the franchise to new heights. It is worth noting, however, that The Force Awakens made $936M by the end of its theatrical run in the states, but The Last Jedi completed its run at $620M. Do the math. 

It’s Still $205M

At the end of the day, $205M isn’t a figure to nitpick, even if Disney is all about hitting those billion dark marks. Plus, analysts believe if The Last Skywalker generates huge buzz from critics before the movie opens, maybe it’ll score more than $205M its opening weekend. It is, after all, the ending of a story audiences have been gaga about since 1977. For that reason alone, $205M does sound a tad lower than expected. 

The Effects of The Last Jedi

One fan of Rian Johnson’s sequel? Director J.J. Abrams. Recently, during an interview with Esquire, he talked about how the surprising choices Johnson made influenced his upcoming sequel, which brings back old-franchise faves Lando Calrissian and Emperor Palpatine. For the most part, The Last Jedi didn’t shakeup too many of Abrams’ plans for his ending: 

There were some choices that made things a bit more fun for us, because, for example, Rian didn’t have the whole group collaborative adventure of it together, and that was really fun to get to tell the story of the group, the droids, out on one breakneck, crazy, desperate adventure.

You know? The choices that he made for me were as a fan, as a reader of the script, a fan of his, a fan of Star Wars…it was just fun to read someone’s take that was so about surprising the viewer and it was just really entertaining, because it was, it got to surprise me nearly every time. So, I loved it for that. As a filmmaker, working on episode IX, amazingly, nothing that he did in Last Jedi got in the way of things that we had talked about wanting to do down the line, ideas that I had about where things might go, so…it wasn’t like his story somehow derailed the things I wanted to pursue. In fact, strangely, they might have even helped strengthen them because we gotta make some choices that sort of take advantage of the fact that Rian hadn’t done the things that we were thinking about doing.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters December 20th.