Rise Of Skywalker struggles to match previous Star Wars films at box office

By Ian Jones, PA

New Star Wars film The Rise Of Skywalker is struggling to match the success of previous instalments of the sci-fi saga at the UK and Ireland box office.

The film has taken £39.4 million in the two weeks since its release just before Christmas.

This is enough to make it one of the biggest releases of 2019.

But it is not as strong a performance as other recent films in the Star Wars franchise.

2017’s The Last Jedi made £50.7 million in its first two weeks, while 2015’s The Force Awakens made £65.9 million.

The Force Awakens went on to become the most successful film of all time in the UK and Ireland, taking a colossal £130.8 million.

The Last Jedi ended up taking £84.1 million.

The Rise Of Skywalker was always likely to struggle to match these totals.

It does not have the same buzz as The Force Awakens, which benefited from anticipation at seeing the original Star Wars cast – Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) – back on the big screen.

It also does not have the novelty of being the first “new” Star Wars film for some time.

Instead, it is the fifth of its kind in as many years, following The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), plus spin-offs Rogue One (2016) and Solo (2018).

(PA graphic)

But The Rise Of Skywalker has already done well enough to overtake the total amount taken at the box office by Solo (£19.4 million).

And it has now outperformed two of the original Star Wars films: 1983’s Return Of The Jedi (£14.7 million) and 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back (£31.4 million).

The next film to leapfrog is 2005’s Revenge Of The Sith (£50.5 million).

Even if The Rise Of Skywalker ends up taking as much as £60 million or £70 million, it would still fall short of being the biggest film of 2019.

That honour currently belongs to Avengers: Endgame, which has taken a hefty £88.7 million in the UK and Ireland.

Box office figures for all of the Star Wars films have been compiled for the PA news agency by the British Film Institute, and have been adjusted for inflation.