Just after the Star Wars 9 final trailer debuted, The Rise of Skywalker is already breaking records just shy of two months ahead of its debut in theaters. Disney and Lucasfilm recently released pre-sale tickets for the highly-anticipated chapter in the beloved sci-fi series, to coincide with the debut of the final trailer. As it turns out, demand to see the movie is extremely high, as it has already shattered a record set by Avengers: Endgame earlier this year, which bodes very well for its prospects at the box office.
Ticket retailer Atom Tickets is reporting that director J.J. Abrams' The Rise of Skywalker sold more tickets in the first hour of the company's history than any other movie by a wide margin. The previous best was set by Avengers: Endgame and the company says Episode IX beat its record by a massive 45 percent. According to the company, the top five movies with the best first hour of pre-sales also includes Infinity War, The Last Jedi and Rogue One. All of those movies went on to become massive hits.
Granted, reported figures for a single hour of Star Wars tickets going on sale may not be the best metric to determine eventual box office success, but the fact that the Endgame record was obliterated so handily is telling for a few reasons. For one, it's no secret that The Last Jedi was divisive. But there is a vocal minority online that would have us believe the movie nearly derailed the franchise. Certain so-called fans were calling for boycotts of future Disney-era Star Wars movies and things got ugly. Yet, these pre-sale numbers would dictate that visible toxicity had little effect, if any, on the mass movie-going public. People want to see how the Skywalker saga is going to end.
Another angle is purely looking at box office prospects. Avengers: Endgame is now the highest-grossing movie of all time, with $2.79 billion worldwide. For the sake of comparison, The Force Awakens grossed just over $2 billion and The Last Jedi did $1.3 billion. Given the pre-sale figures, we can expect a monster opening weekend from Episode IX. Will it get anywhere near Avengers: Endgame? Probably not. Star Wars doesn't play as well in certain international markets, such as China, and this franchise is geared to be a little more front-loaded. Still, it's easy to see, if things keep up, how this entry could sail by that $1.3 billion figure.
Much of this could depend on critical response and word of mouth. If critics like it, that will help initially. But critics loved The Last Jedi and fans were mixed on it all across the map. If the word of mouth leans more positive, this movie could have much longer legs and get closer to that rare $2 billion range. Either way, this is an excellent start to the end of an era for Lucasfilm. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is set to hit theaters on December 20. This news was previously reported by Deadline.