Total Nerd All the Films That Opened Against a Star Wars Movie and How They Did  

Aaron Edwards
2.5k views 11 items

What studio would be stupid enough to make one of their films open against a Star Wars movie? You'd actually be pretty surprised by the movies that tried to take on the legendary series. Despite the fact that the Star Wars franchise has been a box office juggernaut from the onset, there have still been films that premiered the same day as a Star Wars opening. Some of those films have actually done pretty well… others have crashed and burned faster than the Executor during the Battle of Endor.  

But why does this happen? Why do films go up against the most powerful movie franchise in the world? There are many reasons. Some studios think their movies will appeal to an audience uninterested in Star Wars and, sometimes, they’re right. Other films, however, are set up on those weekends to get dumped so nobody notices just how bad they are. If you’re curious which films are which, check out the list below!


Smokey and the Bandit is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list All the Films That Opened Against a Star Wars Movie and How They Did
Photo: via Twitter
  • Opened Against: A New Hope
  • Budget: Unknown
  • Opening Weekend Box Office (US): $1,728,060
  • Overall Box Office (Worldwide): $126,737,238

Of course, no one expected the original Star Wars to redefine movies as we know it. So, putting a movie starring Burt Reynolds and Sally Field against it didn’t seem like a big deal. And, strangely enough, despite Star Wars’s massive success, Smokey and The Bandit did very well, eventually spawning two sequels. 

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#83 on The Greatest Movie Themes

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The Shining is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list All the Films That Opened Against a Star Wars Movie and How They Did
Photo: Freebase/Public domain
  • Opened Against: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Budget: $19 Million
  • Opening Weekend Box Office (US): $622,337
  • Overall Box Office (Worldwide): $44,391,156

It seems like the people behind Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece didn’t mind contending with the sequel to Star Wars. It didn’t do so well in its opening weekend, but it managed to accumulate a strong box office haul in total. Its cult status has probably helped it a great deal over the years as well. 

Also Ranked

#4 on The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time

#67 on The Most Rewatchable Movies

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#2 on The Greatest Horror Films of All Time

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The Gong Show Movie is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list All the Films That Opened Against a Star Wars Movie and How They Did
Photo: Universal Studios
  • Opened Against: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Budget: Unknown
  • Opening Weekend Box Office (US): $1,476,425
  • Overall Box Office (Worldwide): $6,621,520

While it's hard to judge the intentions of the filmmakers, maybe they thought a comedy might stand a chance against a Star Wars film. Unfortunately, in this case, they were wrong

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Carny is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list All the Films That Opened Against a Star Wars Movie and How They Did
Photo: United Artists
  • Opened Against: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Budget: Unknown
  • Opening Weekend Box Office (US): Unknown
  • Overall Box Office (Worldwide): $1,817,720

An early Jodie Foster movie co-starring Gary Busey. It wasn’t meant to make a splash, so putting this small, character-driven movie up against Empire was probably a shot at counter-programming. 

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#37 on The Best Movies of 1980

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