The Movie Waffler Disney had and is having a good year in the box office | The Movie Waffler

Disney had and is having a good year in the box office

“Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker” has the potential to be Disney’s last and biggest present under the tree this Christmas.

From, “Captain Marvel” in March to “The Lion King” in July, Disney has celebrated one box office hit after another in 2019, setting a record in mid-August for having the most $1 billion movies in a single year.

And SBR’s top sportsbooks offer odds on opening weekend box office and will certainly offer wagers on the financial viability of the film closing out its behemoth year -- the last chapter of The Skywalker Saga.

Disney’s previous billion-dollar releases this year have set a high bar in totals and opening weekend grosses:

“Avengers: Endgame” – $2.8 billion total; $357,115,007 opening weekend
“The Lion King” – $1.3 billion total; $191,770,759 opening weekend
“Captain Marvel” – $1.1 billion total; $426,829,839 opening weekend
“Aladdin” –$1 billion total; $91,500,929 opening weekend
“Toy Story 4” – $1 billion total; $120,908,065 opening weekend
This is familiar territory for the House of the Mouse having four $1 billion releases in 2016. That year the moneymakers were “Captain America: Civil War,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Finding Dory,” and “Zootopia.” Total earned: $7.61 billion.

So far this year, Disney has $7.67 billion in box office receipts with “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” (Oct. 18),” “Frozen II” (Nov. 22) and “The Rise of Skywalker” (Dec. 20) still on deck. 

“Maleficient” and “Frozen 2” are expected to have great openings but nothing close to “Avengers: Endgame.”

And depending on which website you visit, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” will either take Disney to a $10 billion in movie grosses for the year or will prove to be lackluster in its ultimate impact.

Feeding the expectations for great success is the fact that this is the FINAL chapter of the Skywalker Saga and it is directed by JJ Abrams who also directed “The Force Awakens.” Certainly, people will want to see the last film of the nine-part series that spanned  42 years and spawned toys, spin-off movies, animated TV shows, books and comics, conventions and stand-alone Star Wars attractions at Disney theme parks, right?

Thanks to archival footage, fans will see Carrie Fisher, who died almost three years ago, as Leia Oranga. That alone will get us to the theater.

Mark Hamill has all but confirmed that despite Luke Skywalker’s death in “The Last Jedi” he will “appear” in this film.

Between Fisher and Hamill, nostalgia will fuel attendance from longtime fans but may not have any appeal for those new to the franchise.

The movie opens Dec. 20 with Christmas falling in the middle of the week which could negatively affect weekend box office with people traveling or shopping that weekend before the holiday. Some are predicting the movie will gain momentum on the holiday leading into its second weekend.

Also possibly impacting “Skywalker” box office are the mixed reviews “The Last Jedi,” received and the utter bomb that was “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” Both those factors could take the edge off of seeing it on opening weekend for many fans.

Something else to consider, according to, is the unpopularity of the “Star Wars” in some Asian markets, most notably China. People in China did not show up for “The Force Awakens,” the opener for the final trilogy drew $124 million in China compared to $614 million for “Endgame.”

The numbers were worse in China for the opening weekend of “The Last Jedi,” which debuted with $28.7 million and an alarming $2.4 million on its second weekend.

Experts cite curiosity about the franchise with the better opening for “The Force Awaken.” “Rogue One” actually did better in China because of two Chinese co-stars, Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen. Yen explained the poor performance of “Star Wars” in the world’s most populous country due to the people not growing up with the series and not being familiar with its rich backstory.  “Marvel is a lot easier to understand,” Yen told IndieWire.