The franchise’s first movie, “Episode IV: A New Hope” grew to become a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. It was followed by the sequels, “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980, and “Return of the Jedi” in 1983, with all three constituting the original Star Wars trilogy. A sequel trilogy was started in 2015 with the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, The movie garnered the largest production cost and global box office revenue for a Star Wars movie, accumulating over 200 million U.S. dollars in production costs, and generating over two billion U.S. dollars in box office revenue worldwide.
In North America, “The Force Awakens” is considered the most successful movie of all time, holding the all-time record for the biggest opening weekend for North American box office releases as of December 2017—closely followed by “Jurassic World”, the sequel to another old school classic, and Marvel’s “The Avengers.” In a 2017 survey among American adults, the majority of the respondents stated that their favorite Star Wars movie was “Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.” This movie also accounted for the largest share of adults who have seen a Star Wars movie in the United States.
The follow-up to “The Force Awakens” is “Episode VII: The Last Jedi,” released on December 15, 2017 and, as of December 2017, around 36 percent of respondents had seen a trailer for the latest Star Wars film. The final movie of the new trilogy, Episode IX, is scheduled for release in December 2019, before which a spin-off movie following the adventures of Han Solo will be released. This follows the success of “Rogue One: A Start Wars Story”, which was set immediately before the events of the original trilogy. Released in 2016 and shown across 4,157 theaters in North America, 38 percent of the opening weekend revenue “Rogue One” came from 3D showings of the movie.
Unsurprisingly, some of the most popular Star Wars characters include the core group of Princess Leia, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Chewbacca. Others include Yoda, R2-D2, Obi Wan Kenobi, and Darth Vader. A vast majority of people view the intended audience as everyone from adults and kids. The series has also spawned an extensive media franchise that includes comic books, television series, video games, as well as related theme park attractions.