It seemed the total gross domestic ticket sales for “Beauty and the Beast” were so high that no other film could catch it this year. That was the case until the massive surge in ticket sales for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” The number is even more impressive because “Beauty” hit theaters on March 17 and closed on July 13. “Jedi” will be in theaters well into 2018.
As of last weekend, “Beauty” has posted box office numbers of $504 million. For its opening weekend, it grossed $175 million. As of last weekend, “Jedi” had gross domestic ticket sales of $445 million, after an opening weekend of $220 million. “Jedi” would need an ongoing surge to pick up enough ground to pass the former leader in just a few days. Box Office Mojo expects expect ticket sales for “Jedi” over the upcoming New Year’s three-day holiday to reach $57 million. “Jedi” has an advantage. New Year’s Day comes on a Monday this year, a rarity.
The Star Wars franchise is already the second most successful in history, with total ticket sales across its 10 movies of $3.8 billion. The movie just before “Jedi,” titled “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” was released on December 18, 2015, and posted total box office sales of $937 million. “Jedi” may never reach that number. Among the 10 movies, the average gross has been $383 million, according to Box Office Mojo. “Jedi” is well past that, but it may not catch “Force Awakens” because its gross is so large. None of the numbers are adjusted for inflation.
The Star Wars franchise may never top the franchise known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This franchise’s 17 films include the Iron Man, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man movies. The list is so diverse that it is hard to see how the movies taken together are a franchise at all.
There will be more Star Wars movies, and at least one is already scheduled. The franchise will certainly top $400 with “Jedi.” And perhaps there will be several more after that as Star Wars chases the Marvel Cinematic Universe.