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Rise Of Skywalker Is Owning The Box Office In This One Area

Disney's domination at the domestic and international box office over the last several years has done more than shift the kinds of films Hollywood studios are producing. According to a recent box office analysis, some Mouse House properties are upending expectations about audience behavior and movie revenue. 

The report traces how the final installment in Lucasfilm's Skywalker Saga was able to rake in its billion-dollar haul despite a somewhat surprising, yet nevertheless disappointing, underperformance at the box office. Presently, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has earned a whopping $514.2 million domestically, making it the 14th-highest-grossing film of all time in the U.S. Combined with its $558.6 million global earnings and three consecutive weekends leading the box office, the film was far from a flop. 

But when comparing Rise of Skywalker to its more recent Star Wars counterparts, it's hard to ignore the financial realities. The final Skywalker Saga chapter had the poorest showing of the entire sequel trilogy, grossing 17 percent less domestically and 21 percent less overseas than its immediate predecessor The Last Jedi (via Forbes). It also joined The Last Jedi as a member of the rare $100 million losers club: each saw a $100 million drop in revenue between its opening and second weekend, a trend which followed Rise of Skywalker throughout its entire theatrical run. 

This new analysis shows that the billion-dollar showing was actually due, in large part, to an audience demographic that's often overlooked: weeknight viewers. While weekend moviegoers may have made Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker the 12th-biggest domestic opening weekend of all time, it was the steady trickle of Monday through Friday ticket buyers that ultimately pushed it past the billion-dollar line, and arguably saved the film from being deemed an outright failure.

Weekday audiences propelled Rise of Skywalker past fellow Disney juggernauts

So how impressive is the Rise of Skywalker's weeknight revenue? To start, it gave the film a 10-week total that surpassed several movies under the Disney umbrella which had similarly big opening weekends. While Marvel films like Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Age of Ultron are further up on the list of highest opening weekend earnings, Rise of Skywalker's $514 million domestic take crushed the stateside totals of both Age of Ultron ($459 million) and Civil War ($408 million).

While the latest Star Wars film was still in theaters at the time of Forbes' report, it's worth noting that its weekend revenue at that point was practically non-existent, and only 558 theaters were still screening the film that week. Forbes also noted that Rise of Skywalker had a shot at overtaking Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Christopher Nolan's acclaimed The Dark Knight, and even Disney's live-action The Lion King by the end of its theatrical run, were the trend to continue. It's an incredible feat from a film that saw a 92 percent drop in box office earnings between its first and fourth weekend in theaters. 

Rise of Skywalker currently stands as the third highest-grossing film when first-week Monday-through-Thursday performance is ranked. Only Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Avengers: Endgame top its $112 million revenue, with Black Panther coming in $22 million under for fourth place on a list where Jurassic World holds the only non-Disney spot. For some fans and studio executives, Rise of Skywalker may not have been exactly what they wanted, but the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga is proving that Disney can still surprise us at the box office.