After The Force Awakens revitalized the iconic Star Wars franchise, we all knew this was just the start of the story. Having spent a whopping $4 billion purchasing Star Wars from George Lucas, we knew Disney wasn't going to stop with the sequel trilogy. Sure, Episode VIII and Episode IX will finally conclude the Skywalker saga, but the Hollywood titan will continue to spit out #StarWars movies for years (maybe even decades) to come, thanks to the advent of the "anthology movies" — films following characters whose surnames aren't Skywalker, branching away from the main saga and telling all the stories that galaxy far far away has to offer.
The first of these anthology films was Rogue One, which on the surface seemed like a bit of a hard sell. Following a ragtag band of rebels as they steal the Death Star plans, Rogue One plays out like a prologue to A New Hope (but don't call it a prequel). With six months of reshoots and rumblings of a troubled production, for a while it seemed like Rogue One was as doomed as the citizens of Alderaan. In-universe, doom was exactly what the ill-fated team faced, but in our world Rogue One boomed in ticket sales, overtaking other box office greats like The Dark Knight.
After an impressive 145 days in theaters, Rogue One has finally closed, totaling its box office take at a few hundred thousand dollars over $1 billion. The film stayed in theaters for a long time, but it couldn't beat its Star Wars predecessor, as The Force Awakens was still showing 168 days after its initial release.
Rogue One earned well over its budget of $200 million, and the international critical acclaim has proved that this was a risk well worth taking on Disney's part. In fact, Rogue One is the second highest grossing Star Wars movie of all time, with The Force Awakens as the reigning champ.
The next Star Wars anthology movie, the as-yet untitled #HanSolo flick, is sure to equal if not exceed Rogue One's box office take, considering that this film can ride the popularity of its protagonist. With that in mind, Rogue One really does prove that Star Wars doesn't need an iconic character or big-name star to make a box office smash: All it needs is an interesting story attached to its own name. So we can expect plenty more surprise smashes from this franchise for the next few decades.
Tell us in the comments: What anthology movie would you like to see next?