The six highest-grossing movies of the year are Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, Toy Story 4, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Aladdin. Or put another way, that’s: Disney, Disney, Disney, Disney, Sony/Disney, and Disney. Of course, there are still two-plus months left in 2019, so it’s not a fixed top-six; save room for Disney’s Frozen 2 and Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which is off to a record-breaking start.
The ninth and final film in the Skywalker saga (but first film in the space horse saga!) sold 45 percent more tickets than Endgame “during its first hour of pre-sales on Atom Tickets,” according to CNBC. It’s a notable accomplishment because Endgame went on to become the highest-grossing movie ever (worldwide), thanks in large part to earning $357 million in the United States/Canada during its first weekend at the box office.
It’s worth asking: Could The Rise of Skywalker dethrone (wink) Endgame?
It’s possible, and selling 45 percent more tickets is impressive, but I wouldn’t bet on Rise out-earning Avengers: Endgame, let alone The Force Awakens, which owns the domestic gross record. For one thing, Marvel is more popular in markets like China than Star Wars (Disney is already working on a solution for this). Also, both the original trilogy and prequels have followed the same formula in North America: the first film, A New Hope and The Phantom Menace, made the most money; the second film, The Empire Strikes Back and Attack of the Clones, made the least money; and the final film, Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith, was in the middle. The Last Jedi (the second film) failed to top The Force Awakens (the first film), but maybe Rise (the final film) can make new Star Wars — and box office — history and usurp them all, including Endgame.
Either way, Disney wins. It always does.