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 $775 million in worldwide box office earnings, that translates to more than $3.5 billion adjusted to today’s ticket prices.
The following chart ranks all nine installments of the core Star Wars saga by their box office earnings adjusted to 2023 ticket prices. It shows that Episode II, released in 2002, was the least commercially successful entry to the franchise. According to Rotten Tomatoes, Episode I was the least popular one among critics, while audiences were least impressed with the "The Last Jedi", released in 2017.