Latest Star Wars film hits US$1b, thanks to US fans

American audiences contributed to about half of the ticket sales for Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (above).
American audiences contributed to about half of the ticket sales for Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (above).PHOTO: DISNEY/ LUCASFILM LTD

LOS ANGELES • Walt Disney's Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker has passed US$1 billion (S$1.35 billion) in worldwide ticket sales - thanks in large part to American fans.

The picture, released on Dec 20, has taken in roughly half of its ticket sales domestically.

That is no longer the norm in the modern age of global blockbusters: International markets accounted for 73 per cent of the movie businesses' US$42.5 billion in sales globally last year, according to Comscore.

Disney's Avengers: Endgame, the top-grossing film last year, produced nearly 70 per cent of its US$2.8 billion in sales internationally, according to Box Office Mojo. Frozen 2 generated 67 per cent of its receipts overseas.

The Star Wars series has always been more popular domestically than in some foreign markets.

The original films, dating back to the first in 1977, were not released in China, for example.

As a result, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and the other characters do not resonate in that country, the second largest in the world.

The biggest Star Wars market internationally has been Britain, where The Rise Of Skywalker has taken in US$72 million. Much of the series has been shot in England and many of the actors are British. China ranked as the seventh-biggest market at US$20.1 million.

The Rise Of Skywalker looks like it will fall short of the two earlier films in the saga.

The Last Jedi, released in 2017, generated US$1.33 billion in global ticket sales, while The Force Awakens (2015) took in more than US$2 billion globally.

Still, The Rise Of Skywalker has been a moneymaker for Disney, which has now had seven films released last year cross the billion-dollar mark.

The other six movies were Avengers: Endgame; The Lion King; Frozen 2; Captain Marvel; Toy Story 4 and Aladdin.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2020, with the headline 'Latest Star Wars film hits US$1b, thanks to US fans'. Print Edition | Subscribe