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Why ‘Star Wars’ continues to captivate audiences

The latest installment Star Wars: The Last Jedi grossed $220,047,000 in its opening weekend.



“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is doing well at the box office. Directed and written by Rian Johnson, the second installment in the third “Star Wars” trilogy debuted to a cool $220 million in the U.S. box office, making “The Last Jedi” the second-best opening behind 2015’s “The Force Awakens.”

Domestically, the film is fourth to open at $200 million, joining the ranks of “The Force Awakens” which opened at $248.8 million, “The Avengers” with $207.4 million, and “Jurassic World,” which opened with $208.8 million. Overseas, “The Last Jedi” is off to a good start as well, raking in $230 million in international ticket sales.

Why “Star Wars” is a blockbuster hit

Beginning with the first “Star Wars” movie, “Episode IV – A New Hope” which debuted in 1977, George Lucas has taken the imaginations of fans of the popular space opera franchise to a galaxy far, far away. The film’s premise is simple: a science fiction film that deals with the battle between good and evil, of father and son. But with added tech that made the film so cool: lightsabers, x-wings, star destroyers, the Millenium Falcon, and of course, Jedi powers.

Four decades on, the “Star Wars” is still making waves, creating new generations of fans who are, to a point, obsessed with the franchise. Beyond the special effects, CGI, and characters, “Star Wars” offers more than that. It’s a movie that everyone can relate to because it offers a story on friendship, childhood, real-world parallelisms, wisdom, a strong cultural impact, and of course, who doesn’t love a good build-up that will keep you hanging until the next movie comes out?

With these factors, it’s not hard to see why fans of the space opera franchise keep pouring into movie theatres once a new movie comes out. Here’s a look four of the top-grossing “Star Wars” films in terms of opening week sales, with 2016 inflation factored in:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

The highly anticipated start of the third “Star Wars” trilogy, “The Force Awakens” had a strong opening week and made $252,896,359.25 in the box office. The film stars the original cast including Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill reprising their roles as Leia, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker, respectively. Directed by J.J. Abrams, the film also starred newcomers to the franchise such as Daisy Ridley as Rey, an orphan scavenger from the planet Jakku, and Adam Driver as the story’s main antagonist, Kylo Ren.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

The second installment of the third trilogy in the “Star Wars” franchise earned an estimated $220,047,000. The film is the second-best earner in terms of the opening weekend in the franchise. It continues where “The Force Awakens” left off and follows the story of Rey, Kylo Ren, and Luke Skywalker.

Star Wars poster.

The Star Wars: The Last Jedi is proof that the Star Wars franchise still has it with a $220,047,000 opening weekend haul. (Photo by DAVID HOLT via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 2.0)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

“Rogue One” released in 2016, is the second film that made the most money during the film’s opening week. The film raked in an impressive $155,081,681 at the box office. The story happens at the time of the Rebel Alliance and follows the story of Galen Erso, a scientist that is responsible for helping to build the Death Star. Jyn Erso, his daughter, knows that her father holds the key to the Death Star’s destruction, and she joins a spy and other resistance fighters to steal the Death Star plans to help the rebel alliance.

Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith (2005)

In 2005, “Revenge of the Sith” debuted to a cool $134,214,477.26 at the box office. The third installment of the second trilogy, “Revenge of the Sith” follows the story of a young and promising Jedi Knight, Anakin Skywalker played by Hayden Christensen as he slowly turns to the Dark Side of the Force. The film also starred Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Natalie Portman as Padme Amidala.

Other “Star Wars” films in the entire franchise that made the most money during its opening weekend include “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones,” released in 2000 and made a total of $107,532,203.73; “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” released in 1999 and made $94,052,270.45. Meanwhile, “Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi,” released in 1983, made $55,868,566.66. “Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back” was released in 1980 and made $31,801,171.98; and “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope” released in 1977 and made $27,152,433.30.

(Featured image by Dick Thomas Johnson via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 2.0)

Andrew Ross is a certified gadget enthusiast. While not a science geek, he is interested in all things tech. He can live a day without pizza but not without his smart phone.

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