In a very unusual twist of fate, the Rotten Tomatoes score for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has managed to drop enough since it was released in theaters to earn the worst percentage for the entire film franchise with 52% positive reviews, just barely edging out, for now, the 1999 prequel “The Phantom Menace.”
On the day it was released, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” had garnered 58% positive reviews from critics who are included in the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, which was the second worst percentage that any live-action “Star Wars” film had earned. The film was only ahead of the 53% earned by “The Phantom Menace.” That in itself was a remarkable feat, as it’s pretty difficult to make a “Star Wars” movie that gets that many negative reviews. “The Rise of Skywalker” has been trounced by the other two prequels, with “Attack of the Clones” coming in at 65% and “Revenge of the Sith” earning an 80%.
The Disney “Star Wars” flicks had all earned stellar reviews to this point, with “The Force Awakens” at 93%, “Rogue One” at 83%, “The Last Jedi” at 91%, and even “Solo,” the first “Star Wars” movie to be an outright failure at the box office,” coming in at 70%.
But over the past four weeks, that percentage has slowly crept downward as reviews continued to trickle in. It’s a surprising turn of events, but not unfathomable. Since its opening weekend, “The Rise of Skywalker” has received more than 100 new reviews that were included in its count on Rotten Tomatoes. That isn’t unusual, as the same thing happened with “Frozen 2” a month earlier. What’s surprising is that its overall percentage would change that much with those new reviews, as the new “Star Wars” flick has 158 more reviews counted in its tally than its Disney cousin — 469 to 311 — and so each new review has less of an impact on the overall percentage than it would for most movies.
This is not the film’s final score, of course, as reviews will continue to be added over time. At the same point in its theatrical run in late May, “Avengers: Endgame” had counted 455 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes for a 95% score, but today it has 504 reviews and a score of 94%. So it’s possible that “The Rise of Skywalker” will relinquish the title of worst-reviewed “Star Wars” movie back to “The Phantom Menace” in the coming months, or at least move back up to a tie.
And, yes, we know about the “Clone Wars” movie that has an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Since that was a television pilot released theatrically, we’re not counting it as part of the film franchise.
For those not familiar with the whole Rotten Tomatoes thing, the percentages we’re talking about here are the proportion of critics who thought a movie was good. So a 50% rating would mean half of all critics counted said it was bad, or “rotten,” and half said it was good, or “fresh.” It is not an average of the review scores given by those critics.
“The Rise of Skywalker,” directed by JJ Abrams, caps off the new Disney trilogy and leads us into a three-year hiatus for the film series. It stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, Harrison Ford, Ian McDiarmid, Joonas Suotamo and the biggest fleet the galaxy has ever seen.