Did the Last Star Wars Movie Lose Money?

The Star Wars franchise has been a cultural phenomenon for over four decades now. The original trilogy, released in the late 70s and early 80s, was a massive success and spawned a legion of fans. In 2015, when Disney released the first movie of the new trilogy – The Force Awakens – fans were ecstatic.

However, the reception for the latest installment – The Rise of Skywalker – was quite different. Many were left wondering if the last Star Wars movie lost money. Let’s take a closer look.

Box Office Performance

The Rise of Skywalker was released on December 20th, 2019, and grossed $177 million during its opening weekend in North America alone. Globally, it made $373 million during its opening weekend and went on to make a total of $1.074 billion worldwide by March 2020. While this number seems impressive at first glance, it is lower than what was expected for a Star Wars movie.

Production Costs

The budget for The Rise of Skywalker is estimated to be around $275 million – making it one of the most expensive movies ever made. However, this number does not include marketing costs, which can add up to hundreds of millions more.

Profit or Loss?

To determine if The Rise of Skywalker made money or not, we need to consider both box office revenue and production costs. According to Forbes, a film needs to earn twice its production budget (including marketing costs) to break even from theatrical release alone.

Let’s assume that marketing costs for The Rise of Skywalker were around $250 million (which is likely considering Disney’s extensive promotional campaign). This brings the total cost of the movie to around $525 million.

Using Forbes’ rule of thumb, we can estimate that The Rise of Skywalker needed to make around $1 billion just from theatrical release to break even. However, it only made $1.074 billion worldwide.

While this number may seem like a profit, it’s important to remember that theaters take a cut of the box office revenue – typically around 50%. This means that Disney only received around $537 million from theatrical release – still not enough to cover the movie’s total costs.

Other Revenue Streams

It’s worth noting that box office revenue is not the only way movies make money. The Rise of Skywalker has likely made additional revenue through merchandise sales, DVD and digital sales, and streaming rights. However, it’s difficult to estimate how much money these revenue streams have generated for Disney.


While it’s difficult to determine whether The Rise of Skywalker lost money or not without knowing all the financial details, it is clear that the movie did not perform as well as expected. It fell short of breaking even from theatrical release alone and received mixed reviews from fans and critics alike. Nonetheless, Star Wars remains one of the most popular franchises in pop culture history and will continue to be a major part of entertainment for years to come.