'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' Box Office Rises To $40 Million In Previews

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is finally here, and as is to be expected, it's making lots of money. The third and final entry in this new trilogy, and the final installment of the Skywalker Saga, has earned itself a respectable haul domestically. However, it has not surpassed The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi – a fact that many will scramble to interpret in a variety of ways.

How will The Rise of Skywalker stack-up against the rest of the Disney Star Wars films? Pretty well, it seems. In Thursday night previews, the latest space adventure took in $40 million at the North American box office. That's a bit below the preview hauls of the other two installments in the trilogy – The Force Awakens ($57 million) and The Last Jedi ($45 million). Rogue One: A Star Wars Story earned $29 million in box office previews. Solo had a Thursday night haul of $14.1 million.

The Rise of Skywalker is currently tracking for $170 million to $200 million opening weekend. Variety says it's likely to land somewhere in the $195 million range. And is will likely do just fine since its only real competition is, uh...Cats, which is tracking to earn about $8.5 million.

The drop off between each installment in the Star Wars franchise isn't that surprising. Force Awakens was a huge deal – the first Star Wars movie in over a decade, and the first to feature original trilogy cast members in a long, long time. Since then the number has decreased because, quite frankly, nothing can top that early excitement.

Word of mouth will determine how things play out for Rise of Skywalker. Critics have been mixed on the installment, but if the general moviegoing public likes what they see, it will go a long way towards determining how well Skywalker does in the weeks to come. As of now, this is the last confirmed Star Wars movie for a while, although Disney and Lucasfilm are both cooking up plenty of stuff behind-the-scenes. Plus there will still be small-screen Star Wars stuff as well, thanks to Disney+. In other words, while The Rise of Skywalker may be the end of a saga, it's by no means the end of Star Wars.