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Mediocre Reviews May Have Slowed The Rise of Skywalker

Weekend take meets Disney's expectations but not analysts'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 22, 2019 11:25 AM CST
From left, Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn in "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker."   (Disney/Lucasfilm Ltd. via AP)

(Newser) – The Force was less strong with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. J.J. Abrams' Skywalker finale couldn't match its recent predecessors on opening weekend, the AP reports, but it still amassed a $175.5 million debut that ranked far, far away from all but a dozen films. The Rise of Skywalker came in with worse reviews than any Star Wars movie except for 1999's The Phantom Menace, which famously heralded the debut of Jar Jar Binks. The Rise of Skywalker has a 57% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences, too, were lukewarm, giving it a B+ CinemaScore. That response may have muted what could have been a record-setting weekend. While Disney had cautiously estimated a $165 million opening; analysts had pegged The Rise of Skywalker for around $200 million. The film pulled in $374 million worldwide, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Such expectations did not await Tom Hooper's adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats. The much ridiculed big-screen musical, featuring infamous "digital fur technology," scratched out just $6.5 million in ticket sales, sending Mr. Mistoffelees (and Universal Pictures) home licking their wounds. The $100 million production, featuring an ensemble including Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench, James Corden, Idris Elba, Ian McKellen and Taylor Swift, came in well behind projections. It opened in a distant fourth place. Holdovers Jumanji: The Next Level and Frozen 2 both surpassed Cats.

(Read more box office stories.)

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