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The Star Wars Movie That Made The Least Money In Theaters

As the 1970s crawled to an end, an aspiring film director named George Lucas came up with an idea. A combination of the best that Western, samurai, science fiction, and fantasy films had to offer, this twinkle in his eye eventually earned the title "Star Wars." Those in the entertainment world didn't hide their lack of faith in the project, but Lucas and his team soldiered on anyway. It's a good thing they did, too, because when the film hit the big screen in May of 1977, it found success by every metric and launched a franchise that lives on to this day.

In only a few short years, the original "Star Wars" trilogy had completed with the premieres of "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" in '80 and '83, respectively. As we know today, however, this was far from the end of Lucas' vision for the saga. 1999 brought "Star Wars" back to the movies with "The Phantom Menace," paving the way for 2002's "Attack of the Clones" and 2005's "Revenge of the Sith" — now known as the prequel trilogy. Come 2015, Disney ushered in a new era for the series and began pumping out new films and television shows of its own.

At this point, "Star Wars" is a massive hydra of a property with numerous entries of varying success levels, especially in terms of box office gross. This production currently sits at the bottom of the moneymaking heap underneath its many contemporaries.

Audiences didn't turn out for the Clone Wars movie

Between the end of the prequels and the start of the sequels, mainline "Star Wars" movies disappeared from the cinema. George Lucas' previous three films generated plenty of backlash that impacted all involved, so letting the fandom cool down wasn't a bad move. Although, he wanted to explore the galaxy of his creation in a new way: 3D animation on television. Following up the Genndy Tartakovsky 2003 miniseries "Star Wars: Clone Wars," Lucas adapted the fabled era for a longer, procedural series beginning in 2008 on Cartoon Network.

Instead of debuting on TV right out of the gate, "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" first arrived on the silver screen. This feature-length prelude included the introduction of now-fan-favorite Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) as well as Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter), Obi-Wan Kenobi (James Arnold Taylor), and Count Dooku (Sir Christopher Lee) as the titular conflict began to unfold. Despite this stacked roster, a plot revolving around the capture of Jabba the Hutt's (Kevin Michael Richardson) infant son, Rotta (David Accord), and a new visual style, it struggled to generate strong ticket sales.

When it was all said and done, "The Clone Wars" only made just over $68 million on an $8.5 million budget, making it the weakest earner of all "Star Wars" theatrical releases (via The Numbers). Miraculously, this failure didn't have wider implications, seeing as the "Clone Wars" program went on to find resounding success in the years that followed. In fact, it endures as one of the most widely-beloved pieces of "Star Wars" media ever created. Apparently, first impressions aren't necessarily everything.