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Every Star Wars movie ranked from box office flop to top

The Star Wars movie that made the most money (and which was a flop)

<p>FlixPix / Alamy Stock Photo</p>

FlixPix / Alamy Stock Photo

The Star Wars series has grossed a jaw-dropping sum of $19.2 billion (£14.9bn) in today's money since the first movie hit screens in 1977.

While the debate about which Star Wars film is the best can be divisive (it’s widely considered to be The Empire Strikes Back, although fans flooded creator George Lucas with angry letters over the movie’s shocking twist), those ticket sales don't lie.

Read on to discover which instalment of the epic space opera is the highest-grossing of all time. All dollar values are in US dollars and adjusted for inflation into 2023 money.

11th: Solo: A Star Wars Story: $478 million (£371m)

<p>Lucasfilm</p>

Lucasfilm

With Disney and Lucasfilm powering it, it seemed a foregone conclusion that a Han Solo spin-off story would be a hit. On the contrary, 2018's Solo: A Star Wars Story became the first Star Wars flop, grossing just $393 million at the global box office. That's $478 million (£371m) in today's money.

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The ill-fated flick was plagued with problems from the get-go, with directing duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller eventually fired and replaced by acclaimed director Ron Howard. But this wasn't enough to save the movie...

Factoring in its $275 million (£203m) production budget and astronomical marketing costs, the film reportedly lost a painful $76.9 million (£56.9m).

10th: Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones: $1.1 billion (£852m)

<p>Lucasfilm</p>

Lucasfilm

Released in 2002, Star Wars: Episode II  Attack of the Clones grossed $656 million at the global box office. That’s an impressive $1.1 billion (£852m) in today’s money. Yet, despite making an incredible amount of cash, the film is the second-lowest grossing in the franchise.

Star Wars fans were famously outraged when the film’s predecessor, 1999’s The Phantom Menace, was released, with the script and acting performances attracting much criticism. It appears that the film left a lasting bitter taste, with many fans opting to skip Attack of the Clones in the cinema as a result.

Joint 8th: Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker: $1.3 billion (£1bn)

<p>Lucasfilm</p>

Lucasfilm

Star Wars: Episode IX  The Rise of Skywalker is the final part of the third Star Wars trilogy. The movie grossed almost $1.1 billion at the global box office, or $1.3 billion (£1bn) in today's money.

The film received a generally warm reception from audiences, though the main point of criticism was that the plot felt too safe. That said, fans were thrilled with the return of an old foe, while the ever-reliable Adam Driver's performance as Kylo Ren was widely praised.

Joint 8th: Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith: $1.3 billion (£1bn)

<p>Lucasfilm</p>

Lucasfilm

Although its predecessors were panned by fans and critics alike, the final chapter of the second trilogy, 2005’s Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, fared better. The movie pulled in a hefty $849 million at the box office, or $1.3 billion (£1bn) in today’s money.

Star Wars diehards are notoriously tricky to please, and the film was met with a mixed critical response. The dialogue, in particular, came under fire, while some criticised the "wooden" acting of star Hayden Christensen.

7th: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: $1.4 billion (£1.1bn)

<p>Lucasfilm</p>

Lucasfilm

Solo might have flopped, but Lucasfilm succeeded with the Star Wars prequel Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in 2016. The plot follows a band of rebels endeavouring to steal the Death Star plans, and the film grossed $1.1 billion worldwide, a cool $1.4 billion (£1.1bn) in 2023 money.

While the movie was technically a hit, it received a mixed response from fans. Some felt it was the best Star Wars film since the original trilogy, while others complained that the plot was too congested and the characters too underdeveloped. The fact that the story was, once again, centred on the Death Star was also a source of contention.

6th: Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi: $1.5 billion (£1.2bn)

<p>Lucasfilm</p>

Lucasfilm

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi was the final chapter of George Lucas' original trilogy. The movie made $482 million at the box office, an amazing $1.5 billion (£1.2bn) in today's money. The space epic was also 1983's highest-grossing film.

While Return of the Jedi was the lowest-grossing film of the original trilogy and is widely regarded as the weakest in plot terms, it was undoubtedly still a massive money-spinner for the studio. In fact, the space epic was 1983's highest-grossing film.

5th: Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi: $1.6 billion (£1.3bn)

<p>Lucasfilm</p>

Lucasfilm

The second entry of the third trilogy, 2017's Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, grossed a whopping $1.3 billion at the box office. In today's money, that's a tidy $1.6 billion (£1.3bn). With these impressive numbers, it's no surprise that The Last Jedi was the highest-grossing film of 2017.

With a reported budget of up to $317 million (£236m), The Last Jedi is likely the most expensive Star Wars production ever. The lavish spending certainly won over film critics, who praised the movie’s stunning visual effects. However, Star Wars fans were less impressed, widely slamming the film for its unoriginal plot.

4th: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace: $1.8 billion (£1.4bn)

<p>Lucasfilm</p>

Lucasfilm

After a 16-year wait, fans were thrilled when Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace hit cinemas in 1999.  The picture grossed an extraordinary $1 billion at the global box office, which works out at $1.8 billion (£1.4bn) in today's money. The Phantom Menace was the highest-grossing film of the year too.

Despite a then-record-breaking budget and an all-star cast that included Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, and Samuel L. Jackson, the movie is notoriously disliked by fans who criticised everything, from the editing and the pacing to the script and the acting.

3rd: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back: $2 billion (£1.5bn)

<p>Lucasfilm</p>

Lucasfilm

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back grossed $549 million globally, or a whopping $2 billion (£1.5bn) in 2023 money. The cinema darling was also the highest-grossing picture of 1980.

Widely regarded as the best Star Wars film by fans and critics alike, The Empire Strikes Back also gave us one of the most famous scenes in cinematic history between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.

 

2nd: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens: $2.7 billion (£2.1bn)

<p>Lucasfilms</p>

Lucasfilms

The first film in the latest trilogy, Star Wars: Episode VII  The Force Awakens, boasted a mammoth budget and a fresh new cast, including the likes of Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, and John Boyega, while the original golden trio – Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford – all reprised their roles too.

Fans flocked to see the 2015 flick, hoping filmmakers had learned from past mistakes in the controversial prequels. The picture opened to generally positive reviews and grossed nearly $2.1 billion, becoming the year's highest-grossing movie. That’s $2.7 billion (£2.1bn) in today's money.

1st: Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope: $3.9 billion (£3.1bn)

<p>Lucasfilms</p>

Lucasfilms

In the 1970s, the then-unknown George Lucas wrote and directed Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, and the movie was produced on a shoestring budget of just $11 million (£8.2m). Lucas’s space opera went on to become the highest-grossing film of 1977, making $775 million at the worldwide box office, a staggering $3.9 billion (£3.1bn) in today’s money.

A New Hope became the highest-grossing film of all time until E.T. came along in 1982 and knocked it off the top spot. The movie that started it all, A New Hope, quite literally spawned an empire. And it made George Lucas, who had agreed to take a pay cut in return for the merchandising rights to this and any other future films, very rich.

Now discover the spellbinding sums of money that the Harry Potter franchise has made