No franchise is too big to fail, though typically a decline–the same logic applies to whether we’re discussing movie franchises or nations– comes before a fall.
And that’s important because if you pay attention to the signs you may be able to delay or even avert a worse-case scenario.
The Last Jedi is taking a bit of a bashing among a large amount of moviegoers–some have gone as far as starting petitions to have it removed from canon–yet despite this apparent animus the movie has earned almost $400 million domestically ($395,627,411) and a similar figure overseas (&396,061,433).
And that former figure is pretty amaxing when you take into account it has only been out eleven days domestically.
Part of its wellspring of profits has to do with–despite the anger it is generating in some quarters–that the same people who are doing the complaining are actually seeing the movie (and in some instances more than once).
Another important detail is that The Last Jedi may be angering some people but it’s doing so for all the right reasons, namely characters that many fans have literally grown up with have begun to change in ways that they don’t necessarily agree with.
But it is change, and proof Lucasfilm isn’t resting on their laurels (which likely had a lot to do with Transformers: The Last Knight underwhelming at the US box office. After all, there is only so many times you can blow something up before it gets not only boring, but tedious).
Though change is a double-edged sword in that if it’s done too quickly or perceived as too radical–like how Warner Bros treated Superman in Man of Steel (and Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice–you’re going to start with underwhelming box office receipts, which if not addressed have the potential to ruin a franchise.
And as critical as I tend to be of Sony Pictures, they at least saw the writing was on the wall as far as their Spider-Man franchise was concerned, and let Marvel Studios shepherd the character on it’s third reboot, resulting in the most profitable outing for the character yet (an arguable assertion since Spider-Man 3 came out in 2007 while Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017 and the value of the American Dollar was likely higher; though the budget of the former was $285 million versus $175 million for Homecoming; on top of It earning just over $10 million less than Spider-Man 3).
So perhaps The Last Jedi isn’t necessarily a good metric to determine if people are growing tired of the Star Wars universe, which is the path to the Dark Side.
That responsibility will likely be carried by the next film in the series–as well as the new trilogy Rian Johnson is working on–because while The Last Jedi has clearly divided audiences, if J.J. Abrams can’t unite them, Johnson may have done more damage than the Sith every could.