‘Star Wars’ Box Office: ‘Rise Of Skywalker’ May Be Disney’s Last $1B Grosser Until ‘Avatar 2’ – Forbes

‘Star Wars’ Box Office: ‘Rise Of Skywalker’ May Be Disney’s Last $1B Grosser Until ‘Avatar 2’ – Forbes


Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley in J.J.. Abrams’ ‘Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker’

Disney and Lucasfilm

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has passed $1 billion worldwide, but it could be Disney’s last $1 billion grosser until late 2021.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has topped $1 billion worldwide on Tuesday, its 28th day of global release. With a new $1.001 billion cume, it will pass The Dark Knight ($1.004 billion in 2008) today to become the 45th-biggest global grosser in uadjusted earnings. It is now the 25th such offering from Walt Disney, not counting properties that are now at least partially within the Disney empire, out of 46 titles. It may also be Walt Disney’s last $1 billion-grosser for as long as two years.

As noted quite often, to whatever extent its $1.1 billion gross is “disappointing,” it’s mostly due to the poor reviews, soft post-Christmas legs and the whole “Disney wants to make more Star Wars movies” variable. If this were the last Star Wars movie, the reception would be damn well irrelevant (“Oh no, The Death Cure earned less than The Scorch Trials”), especially in a year where Disney and Fox earned $13 billion in global revenue.

Disney’s 2020 slate is strong but has no surefire mega-hits.

Had Disney and Lucasfilm delayed Rise of Skywalker to 2020, either May or December, that would have changed the narrative. More time might have resulted in, subjectively wrongheaded story choices aside, a more coherent narrative, stronger character beats and a more satisfying meat-and-potatoes entertainment. Yes, opening Star Wars IX in May may have led to a larger opening but legs closer to the over/under 2.4x multipliers of Iron Man 3 or Avengers: Endgame, but tomato/tomatah.

Pushing Rise of Skywalker to this year would have given Disney at least one mega-hit in a year comparatively lacking in guaranteed mega-movies. To be fair, Disney’s slate is the definition of “strong by any other measure.” They’ve got three animated originals (Onward in March, Soul in June and Raya and the Last Dragon in November), Mulan in March and Jungle Cruise in July. Marvel’s Black Widow (May) and Eternals (November) would both both thrilled to earn Doctor Strange-level grosses ($677 million in 2016).

At a glance, I see a bunch of “big” movies that will hopefully be good (Niki Caro’s Mulan’s full trailer kicks butt on a big screen and Jaume Collet-Serra’s Jungle Cruise’s trailer makes me smile every single time) and could all arguably make, on average, over/under $600 million worldwide for a still-huge overall cumulative global take. But there are no sure things anywhere near the size of The Lion King, Frozen II, Toy Story 4 or (haha) Avengers: Endgame. That was by design, as Disney went full-fire sale to get the biggest flicks on Disney+ sooner rather than later.

In the realm of “coin toss” box office analysis, Mulan could earn Furious 7 numbers ($391 million in 2015) in China, or it could pull Kung Fu Panda 3 ($154 million in 2016) grosses in a marketplace where Mulan is Tuesday.” The Pixar originals could pull Brave figures ($538 million in 2012) or earnings closer to Coco ($806 million in 2017) or Inside Out ($854 million in 2015). Who is to say that Black Widow and Eternals won’t pull global grosses (especially with superhero movies now all the rage in China) closer to the big Phase Three flicks versus the Phase Two offerings?

Disney could fail to have a chart-topping success for the first time since 2014 even as it still wins the battle for market share.

Nonetheless, releasing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in 2020 would have guaranteed a $1 billion grosser for the Mouse House as well as a prime contender for the year’s biggest domestic and/or global grosser. As of now, I’d wager Universal’s Fast & Furious 9 is the most likely $1 billion-plus grosser (maybe MGM and Universal’s No Time to Die in April if it’s exceptionally good), while Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman 1984 is the safe bet for the year’s biggest domestic earner.

If nothing from Disney tops either respective chart for 2020, it’ll be the first time since 2014 (WB’s American Sniper in North America and Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction worldwide) where a Disney flick wasn’t either the year’s biggest domestic and biggest global grosser. It’s possible that Disney’s overall slate, especially with the Fox movies (Death on the Nile, West Side Story, etc.) in the equation, still wins the market share competition in 2020, which is why I think they bothered to release Foxs New Mutants in theaters.

Disney’s 2021 slate will almost entirely be about Marvel and Avatar 2.

But Rise of Skywalker in 2020 would have made that a cakewalk, as well as giving Disney far less “downtime” between $1 billion-grossers. To the extent that it matters in terms of the “Disney rules Hollywood” narrative, this means that the Mouse House may not (emphasis on “may not”) have a $1 billion grosser until Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (February 21, 2021) at the earliest or Avatar 2 (December 20, 2021) at the latest. Yes, 2021 is far more “up in the air” due to the larger number of “untitled” franchise flicks (once of which I’m presuming is the live-action Little Mermaid remake).

Even presuming Indiana Jones 5 actually opens in July as planned, Disney’s 2021 slate will mostly be about the four MCU movies (counting Sony’s Spider-Man 3 version 2) and James Cameron’s Avatar 2 in December. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings could easily pull Captain Marvel business right out of the gate. We can debate whether the whole “It’s an Asian martial arts spectacular” will be a bigger deal for China than merely “It’s an MCU superhero movie!” Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness should be big, but $1 billion is neither guaranteed nor the bar for success.

That leaves Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder in November and Fox’s Avatar 2 in the prime pre-Christmas launching pad. Even a 50% drop from Avatar’s $2.789 billion global cume would be around $1.4 billion. Unless it’s aggressively bad, poorly made and outright boring, I have a hard time imagining Avatar 2 not crushing it, especially as China will have around 12x more theaters in which to play the sequel compared to late 2009/early 2010.

A 50% drop everywhere except China but +100% in China puts Avatar 2 over/under $1.7 billion, just past The Lion King and Jurassic World. It’s possible Onward, Soul or Mulan will zoom past the once-rare milestone, or that this year’s Marvel movies will play like late-Phase Three MCU flicks. I wouldn’t bet against Shang-Chi and/or Thor 4, but nor are they as guaranteed to become Disney’s first post-Star Wars $1 billion earner as Avatar 2.

Will Universal, Warner Bros. and Sony pick up the slack?

The other question is, if Disney’s next two years’ worth of movies merely perform “very well,” will Universal’s Fast and Furious, Minions and Jurassic World sequels pick up the proverbial slack? Will the likes of DC Films’ Wonder Woman 1984, Spider-Man 3 (which, yes, is 25% Disney now) or a happy surprise like Chris Nolan’s $205 million time-twisty original spy thriller Tenet (this July courtesy of Warner Bros.) go the distance in the meantime?

But, yes, it’s also possible that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be Disney’s last, if not Hollywood’s last, $1 billion earner up until Avatar 2 in December of 2021. The flip side is that neither Disney nor Hollywood in general need a steady supply of $1 billion earners as long as the films generally gross enough to justify themselves on a case-by-case basis. Heck, if Disney+, Peacock and HBO Max break out/continues to pop, theatrical will be a less important piece of the pie.

The lack of Disney juggernauts makes this a relative “free for all” year, which is incredibly exciting. Nonetheless, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has passed $1 billion worldwide, becoming Disney’s 25th-such feature to do so. Now that I’ve written this, I’ve guaranteed that Mulan tops Jungle Book ($966 million), Onward pulls a Zootopia ($1.04 billion) and Eternals earns at least 18% more than Thor: Rangarok ($854 million) just so I can look foolish. So, if Disney executives are reading this, you’re welcome!

How long will we have to wait for number 26? Place your bets…


via Top stories – Google News https://ift.tt/2Jjuiww

January 15, 2020 at 04:04PM

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