When The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) released The Force Awakens in 2015, that movie rode 22 years of pent-up demand for a good Star Wars movie to a record-breaking box-office run. This week, series sequel The Last Jedi inspired some downright scary headlines:

  • "The Last Jedi had a historic $151 million decline in its second weekend at the box office," said Business Insider.
  • "Star Wars: The Last Jedi Had A Massive Second Weekend Drop At The Box Office," says IGN.
  • "Star Wars: The Last Jedi Tops $100M Losers Club, Still Nears $400M," according to Forbes.

As a Disney shareholder myself, these headlines had me sweating over my coffee. As it turns out, there's really not much to worry about here.

This is what happens when you cherry-pick big, scary numbers.

A young couple watching scary movies on TV.

Image source: Getty Images.

The actual numbers

Let's compare and contrast The Force Awakens with The Last Jedi, as of their first two weeks in theaters:

All-time Ranking

The Force Awakens

The Last Jedi

Opening weekends



Top 10-day grosses



Second weekends



Biggest second-weekend percentage drops (3,000+ theaters)



Biggest second-weekend dollar drops (3,000+ theaters)



Data source: Box Office Mojo.

Okay, so The Last Jedi 's second-weekend drop was the biggest of all time, when counted in box office dollars. But did you realize that it actually knocked The Force Awakens out of the Top 10 on the same list?

I mean, have a look at the 11 largest week-over-week ticket sale plunges ever recorded, in millions:


Opening Weekend

Second Weekend

Second-week Drop In Dollars

Star Wars: The Last Jedi




Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2




Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice




Avengers: Age of Ultron




Captain America: Civil War




Marvel's The Avengers




Jurassic World




Iron Man 3




The Twilight Saga: New Moon




The Dark Knight Rises




Star Wars: The Force Awakens




Data source: Box Office Mojo.

We're playing with the big boys here. Eight of these 11 titles went on to top $1 billion in worldwide sales, and The Last Jedi is likely to join that select club at the end of the day. These are game-changing blockbuster figures, even if their second weekends couldn't quite stand up to their enormous premiere-week sales.

What's next?

No matter how you slice it, The Last Jedi is destined for massive success, just barely in the shadow of its older sibling. So far, the movie's domestic box office take stands at $397 million, and the global tally was $793 million as of Sunday night.

Disney is closing out the year on a high note, and management is sure to talk about The Last Jedi in glowing terms come January's first-quarter report. As always, Disney is building fictional worlds for the long haul here. The Last Jedi is a classic middle-of-the-trilogy story with plenty of darkness and a full cast of flawed heroes. The Empire Strikes Back wasn't universally loved in 1980, either, but is now seen as a masterpiece and the best story in the entire Star Wars universe.

I'm more worried about Disney closing the Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOX)(NASDAQ:FOXA) buyout while blazing its own path through the streaming video wilderness. This Star Wars franchise is firing on all cylinders, no matter what the shocking headlines might suggest.