The reaction to the Last Jedi has been almost as fascinating as the movie itself. It’s easy to compartmentalize my thoughts on it as much of them fall in line with that of star Mark Hamill.
Hamill wasn’t the biggest fan of the treatment/characterization of Luke Skywalker and hasn’t been shy about voicing his criticism. During an interview with Vanity Fair, Hamill had these interesting comments:
I, at one point, had to say to Rian, ‘I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character. Now, having said that, I have gotten it off my chest, and my job now is to take what you’ve created and do my best to realize your vision.
Later in another interview with SensaCine, Hamill doubled down on his thoughts.
I almost had to think of Luke as another character. Maybe he’s Jake Skywalker — he’s not my Luke Skywalker. But I had to do what Rian wanted me to do because it serves the story well.
Not too shockingly, Hamill has apologized via Twitter.
I regret voicing my doubts & insecurities in public.Creative differences are a common element of any project but usually remain private. All I wanted was to make good movie. I got more than that- @rianjohnson made an all-time GREAT one! #HumbledHamill https://t.co/8ujJfBuEdV
— @HamillHimself (@HamillHimself) December 26, 2017
Hamill has always struck me as a good guy and a loyal soldier. There’s no doubt his earlier comments about Luke Skywalker’s fate were giving the Walt Disney PR folks some headaches. While it’s possible Hamill did regret his comments, it’s pretty likely Disney encouraged this apology.
There might be a need for Hamill to fully endorse The Last Jedi looking at box office numbers. Worldwide it’s earned $815 million. Domestically, it’s already at No. 28 on the all-time highest grossing list and should crack the Top 20 in another couple of days. Worldwide, it’s trailing a few 2017 films including Thor: Ragnarok at $846.1 million, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($863 million) Spider-Man: Homecoming ($880 million). Catching Beauty and the Beast ($1,263 billion) and The Fate of the Furious ($1,235 billion) might be a tougher obstacle. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story just got booted out of the Top 20 this year with $1,056 billion.
The Last Jedi is not rolling out at the same torrid pace of The Force Awakens. By its 11th day, the first Star Wars film since Revenge of the Sith had brought in $571 million. By comparison, TLJ has earned $397 million. It’s safe to chalk some of that up to the demand for new Star Wars product, but the numbers don’t totally lie.
While its run will count for 2017 even as it stretches in to 2018, TLJ might not be the year’s highest grossing film. Currently it trails Wonder Woman, which sits at $412.5 million. Second place is well within range, but topping Beauty and the Beast’s $504 million might be more challenging.