When the Star Wars franchise returned to the big screen in 2015 with “Episode VII – The Force Awakens”, the first chapter of the third and final Skywalker trilogy quickly became the highest-grossing Star Wars film in the franchise’s decade-spanning history.
Grossing more than $2 billion at the box office worldwide, the seventh part of the Skywalker saga edged out “Episode I – The Phantom Menace” (1999) by more than $1 billion. That’s only part of the story though. Taking ticket price inflation into account, the original 1977 Star Wars film is still the most successful one. While at the time “A New Hope” generated $776 million in worldwide box office earnings, that translates to more than $3 billion in today’s ticket prices.
The following chart ranks all nine installments of the core Star Wars saga by their box office earnings adjusted to 2020 ticket prices. It shows that Episode II and III, released in 2003 and 2005, respectively, were the least commercially successful entries to the franchise. According to Rotten Tomatoes, Episodes I to III are also the least popular of the three trilogies, scoring 53, 65 and 80 percent ratings on the film rating site, respectively.