Latest ‘Star Wars’ film passes $1 billion worldwide

Christopher Palmeri

Walt Disney Co.’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” passed $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales – thanks in large part to U.S. fans.

The picture, released Dec. 20, has taken in just under half of its ticket sales domestically. That’s no longer the norm in the modern age of global blockbusters: International markets accounted for 73% of the movie businesses’ $42.5 billion in sales globally in 2019, according to Comscore Inc.

Daisy Ridley as Rey in "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker."

Disney’s “Avengers: Endgame,” the top-grossing film last year, produced 70% of its $2.8 billion in sales internationally, according to Box Office Mojo. “Frozen 2” generated 67% 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, weren’t released in China, for example. As a result, Luke, Leia and the other characters don’t resonate in that market, the second-largest in the world.

The biggest “Star Wars” market internationally has been the U.K., where “The Rise of Skywalker” has taken in $72 million. Much of the series has been shot in England and many of the actors are British. China ranked seventh at $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 $1.33 billion in global ticket sales.) Still, the picture has been a moneymaker for Disney, which has now had seven films released in 2019 cross the billion-dollar mark.