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How Many People Watch Star Wars

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 7 minute read

Ticket pricing, box office receipts, critics’ ratings, and more may all be found when you go deep into the Star Wars films. The Fourth of July is upon us! The 4th of May has become a holiday for Star Wars aficionados because of that sentence.

However, although Star Wars has become an unavoidable media giant in the shape of popular streaming TV programs like The Mandalorian; cutting-edge theme park experiences; best-selling video games and toys; and so much more; the movies remain how most people initially fell in love.

There is no better way to celebrate May 4th and beyond than to look back at the box office performance of all Star Wars films to discover how much money fans have spent on tickets to see these films in the cinemas and how much of an impact they have had on the lives of people across the world.

Price changes for Star Wars tickets

There was a time when people went to the movies instead of watching them at home, even if it may seem like a long time ago and in a galaxy far away. People showed up in droves every time a new Star Wars film was released. There were many moviegoers who had to see the next installment, with the most ardent fans typically seeing it many times.

So many individuals can claim to have watched many Star Wars films at the theaters when they were first released and cheerfully purchased a ticket each time. People might have paid a fortune on Star Wars tickets over the years. The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) provided our team with the average ticket price for each year that a Star Wars movie was released. A hypothetical moviegoer who saw all 11 films in the franchise when they were first released would have paid $69.66 on tickets, according to our analysis of that data.

We then calculated how much individuals may have spent seeing the Star Wars movies based on their Rotten Tomatoes Critics score, Rotten Tomatoes Audience score, and IMDB ratings, and categorized each movie as “good,” “poor,” or “average.” When it comes to Star Wars movies, terrible ones cost audiences the most money at the time of their release, as shown in the chart above. Anyone who has watched every movie in that category would have paid over $38, which is more than the total cost of all “excellent” and “average” Star Wars films put together.

Of course, the cost of tickets in the 1970s compared to the release dates of the most recent volumes is a part of the cause for the discrepancy. Additionally, our team computed the average ticket price for each film based on the rate of inflation since its release date in order to account for this.

The original A New Hope cost an average moviegoer $9.73 when adjusted for inflation, making it the most costly Star Wars theater to see on average. The Phantom Menace had the lowest average ticket price, at just $8.01 after adjusting for inflation.

Review wars

In order to arrive at an overall quality rating for each Star Wars picture, we used three distinct sources, the average of which was used as the final ranking. We used that average score to account for several notable discrepancies between reviewers and the general public.

IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes only accept reviews that were published after those sites were founded in 1990 and 1998, respectively. While the original trilogy may have a legacy bias, the ratings for the following films incorporate reviews that were current at the time they were published, resulting in higher scores for those films.

We sought to show the wide range of opinions on what makes a good movie, even within a popular property like Star Wars, by creating a graphic representation of the scores.

Box office performance

We decided to put the Star Wars movies to the test since we know they will generate a lot of money no matter how excellent or horrible they are. For each film in the series, we compared the average rating score with the box office results. It appears that box office success is affected by the film’s quality, at least when compared to the rest of the franchise. We included both the actual box office revenue and the inflation-adjusted revenue for each film to provide more information and enable a more fair comparison.

A New Hope was the only one of the original three films to generate more than $1.3 billion in ticket sales when adjusted for inflation. After more than a decade and a half without a new Star Wars picture, The Phantom Menace surpassed the critical consensus in terms of ticket sales, but since the release of Attack of the Clones, the box office has generally mirrored the critical consensus.

Rogue One and Solo, the two anthology films, have gained greater critical acclaim than financial acclaim, making them outliers in the franchise. It’s hardly surprising that fans aren’t clamoring to watch these films as much as the nine core movies because they take a step back from the overall plot.

It’s worth noting that, even when inflation is taken into account, A New Hope remains the most economically successful of the original trilogy, especially when compared to the series’ more recent entries. One other Star Wars picture, The Force Awakens, surpassed the $1 billion mark when inflation was taken into account in 2015. A whopping 86% of moviegoers think it’s the best in the series since Return of the Jedi.

Visualizing the franchise

We have thus far based all of our judgments on the movie’s box office success when it was first released in theaters. There have been countless other screenings of these films since their initial theatrical runs, as anybody who saw the notorious “Special Editions” in 1997 would confirm.

Each of the films released in the United States, as well as the year it was released, which section of the Star Wars series it belongs to, and the average ticket price, are included in these charts to give a clearer picture of how each film has done at the box office.

A version based on the current monetary values was developed for each release, and an inflation-adjusted costing model was used to build a second version for each. If we simply consider production expenses and box office receipts at the time of release, we can discern a very straightforward pattern in movie ticket pricing through time. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is currently available for $9.16, which is over four times the price of the original 1977 film.

The best time to be a moviegoer was in the mid-1990s when the medium had the most purchasing power. There are “Special Editions” of the original Star Wars trilogy that cost as little as $7.54 when adjusted for inflation. In comparison to the previous films in the series, this one’s tickets are around 50 cents less costly.

From 1985 to 1997, there was a 12-year stretch without a Star Wars theatrical release. This is what we call the movie “Star Wars.” This is the time span between the re-release of Return of the Jedi and the release of the Special Edition editions of the original three films in theaters.

Despite the 12-year gap between the release of a new Star Wars film in 2015 and 2019, it’s hard to believe. Over the course of that time period, five films made about $2.8 billion in box office receipts (over $3 billion when adjusted for inflation). It’s important to look at these kinds of returns to understand why Disney is so committed to producing new films on a regular basis.

Showing our work

So far, our team has created data visualizations based on the information we’ve gathered on the Star Wars films’ box office success. This was a lot of fun for us, but we understand that not everyone enjoys playing in the Star Wars sandbox in this manner.

Star Wars movie stats

Additionally, we came across and computed a number of interesting facts about the Star Wars film series while researching this post.

  • 136 minutes is the average length of a Star Wars film.
  • Inflation-adjusted average cinema ticket price for a Star Wars film: $6.33; $9.01 if you include only the first release dates
  • Relative to inflation, the average cost of a Star Wars movie ticket is $8.67, with re-releases costing an additional $0.79 per ticket.
  • It would have cost $69.66 to watch all of the original Star Wars films in cinemas, but adjusting for inflation, it would have cost $99.15.
  • After inflation, $115.78 would be the total cost of viewing all of Star Wars’ theatrical releases and re releases: $173.36
  • The following is an estimate of the total number of Star Wars movie tickets sold in the United States, including only the first release: 813,920,179
  • More than 6.87 percent of the population of the United States has seen a movie, from 1977 to 2019, which is the time span between the earliest and most recent films to be released.
  • There are more Instagram followers than Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and Khloe Kardashian’s combined total of 738 million. This shows a larger amount than that.
  • An estimated 888,818,171 tickets for Star Wars movies have been sold in the United States, including rereleases.
  • There are more Instagram followers than the total Instagram follower numbers for Kim Kardashian, Kylie Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian and Kourtney Kardashian, who all have 855 million followers between them.
  • Between 1977 and 2019, which reflects the time between the earliest and most recent movie release, that number of tickets equaled 7.50 percent of the combined U.S. population; it is also 2.67 times the current population of the United States
  • When A New Hope was released in May 1977, a share of Disney stock cost $0.73, and a share of Disney stock cost $185.93 at the end of the market on April 15, 2021.
  • The stock price has risen by more than 25,000 percent, but the stock itself has been divided three times in the last decade (4-for-1, 4-for-1, and 3-for-1).
  • Disney stock is currently worth $27,084.96 if someone had put the same amount of money that it would have cost to buy a ticket to A New Hope in 1977 ($2.23) into three shares at a cost of $2.19 at the time.

Please let us know what you think of our look at the sci-fi classic in the comments section below. May the force be with you, no matter how you choose to celebrate your Star Wars love!

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