12 Amazing Tomatometer Stats About the Star Wars Movies and TV Series

What's the Freshest movie? Do Lucas-directed flicks do better than the rest? And what impact does a Death Star have on the Tomatometer? Dig in, data nerds.

by | December 16, 2019 | Comments

Star Wars

(Photo by 20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection)

In honor of the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga, we’ve done a Tomatometer deep-dive into the 17 movies, animated shows, holiday specials, and that one live-action TV series that make up the Star Wars universe. The result? Twelve facts that could make the Kessel run in 12 parsecs while bulls-eyeing womp rats on Tatooine. These sand-hating facts prove that Death Stars bring critical praise, while prequels are often Rotten. Dive into these facts like Boba Fett into the Great Pit of Carkoon and let us know if you agree or disagree with the Tomatometer’s findings.

Here are the Star Wars movies included in our dataset:

Note: Ewoks: The Battle for Endor (1985) doesn’t have a Tomatometer score. However, Wilford Brimley has an A+ mustache.


1.  THE OVERALL TOMATOMETER AVERAGE OF THE STAR WARS WORLD IS FRESH at 73.8%

  • Overall average for all 17 Star Wars properties with Tomatometer scores: 74%
  • Average for the theatrically released Movies: 75%
  • Average for the shows/movies/specials: 64.1%

2. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK IS THE BEST MOVIE, ACCORDING TO THE TOMATOMETER

(Photo by ©Lucasfilm Ltd.)

The Empire Strikes Back has the best Tomatometer score of any Star Wars movie, and we love how it introduced the world to Yoda, Boba Fett, giant space worms, one-armed wampas, AT-AT walkers, surprise fathers, and most importantly, space crackers. The Irvin Kirshner-directed film is the rare blockbuster sequel that matches or surpasses its predecessor, and it’s insanely quotable, with lines such as “I am your father” and “I know” being burnt (or frozen in carbonite) into the pop culture lexicon. Here’s how the theatrically-released movies rank according to the Tomatometer.

  1. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back – 95%
  2. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope – 93%
  3. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – 93%
  4. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi – 91%
  5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – 83%
  6. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi – 81%
  7. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith – 80%
  8. Solo: A Star Wars Story – 70%
  9. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones – 66%
  10. Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace – 54%
  11. Star Wars: The Clone Wars – 18%

3. LIVE-ACTION STAR WARS MOVIES NOT DIRECTED BY GEORGE LUCAS HAVE A HIGHER TOMATOMETER AVERAGE

(Photo by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation)

Without George Lucas there wouldn’t be Star Wars, so we’re not including this Tomatometer statistic to take a dig at the man whose four Star Wars films have a 73.25% average. His two best films are A New Hope (93%) and The Revenge of the Sith (80%), but The Phantom Menace (54%) and Attack of the Clones (66%) are the two lowest-rated live-action movies of the whole franchise. The movies directed by J.J. Abrams, Rian Johnson, Irvin Kershner, Richard Marquand, Gareth Edwards, and Ron Howard have the higher 85.5% average.


4. THE LUCAS PREQUELS GET BETTER WITH EACH INSTALLMENT, ACCORDING TO THE TOMATOMETER 

George Lucas’s prequel series got off to a rough start with the 54% Tomatometer-rated Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. It is the only live-action Star Wars movie to have a Rotten score (Darth Maul rules, though). However, its sequels Attack of the Clones (66%) and The Revenge of the Sith (80%) brought the series back to Fresh and pushed the trilogy to an overall average of 66.6%. If you’re looking for a great moment in the prequel trilogy, J.J. Abrams recently shared his favorite moment, and it’s a doozy.


5. STAR WARS MOVIES THAT FEATURE A DEATH STAR OR A STARKILLER BASE HAVE A HIGHER TOMATOMETER AVERAGE THAN THE ONES THAT DON’T

Walt Disney Studios

(Photo by ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Lucasfilm Ltd./Courtesy Everett Collection)

A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, and Rogue One all feature star-sized weapons of mass destruction that would require many independent contractors to construct. While things didn’t end well for the Death Stars or Starkiller Base (a.k.a. the really big Death Star), the four films that feature them have an 87.5% Tomatometer average and an average box office of $838 million domestically. On the other hand, Death Star-less films have a 76% Tomatometer average and “only” average $448 million domestically.

Is it even better for the film if the Death Star makes a planet disappear? Yes. A New Hope and The Force Awakens feature total planetary destruction and averaged more money ($1.1 billion) and have higher critical scores (93%) than Return of the Jedi and Rogue One — movies that didn’t allow their Death Stars to obliterate any planets ($588 million / 82.5% Tomatometer).


6. THE ANIMATED TV SHOWS HAVE A 95.3% TOMATOMETER AVERAGE

Star Wars: Resistance (92%), Star Wars: Rebels (100%), and Star Wars: The Clone Wars (94%) have done a fine job expanding the Star Wars universe and bringing memorable characters such as Ahsoka Tano, Saw Gerrera, and The Bendu to life. A big reason for their success is the presence of creator, producer, writer, showrunner, and director Dave Filoni, also now instrumental in the success of The Mandalorian. After a misstep with Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Filoni has proven himself to be a brilliant shepherd of the animated world. We also loved his appearance in Jon Favreau’s The Chef Show, which you need to watch now.


7. STAR WARS FILMS FEATURING LIMB LOSS HAVE A HIGHER TOMATOMETER AVERAGE THAN THOSE THAT DON’T

Between Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Count Dooku, General Grievous, Mace Windu, and that unlucky Mos Eisley cantina patron in A New Hope, many characters have lost limbs in the Star Wars world. The only movies that don’t feature limb loss are The Force Awakens and The Phantom Menace – we didn’t count Darth Maul being cut in half – which means the live-action movies featuring limb loss have a higher Tomatometer average (82%) than the movies that don’t (73%). This statistic isn’t important, we just wanted to mention it because so many arms and legs go flying.


8. THE FOUR STAR WARS MOVIES WRITTEN BY LAWRENCE KASDAN HAVE AN 84% TOMATOMETER AVERAGE

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

(Photo by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Lucasfilm)

Kasdan took the Star Wars world to new heights with his excellent screenplay for The Empire Strikes Back (he didn’t write the classic Han Solo line “I know,” and it bothers him), and he helped J.J. Abrams reintroduce the franchise with his work on The Force Awakens. He also wrote the screenplays for Return of the Jedi and Solo, the latter of which we think might come to be seen as a little underrated in the years to come. Kasdan’s 84% average is better than the 74% average for the four films written by George Lucas (not hating on Lucas; just the facts).


9. THE STAR WARS FRANCHISE HAS A SLIGHTLY HIGHER TOMATOMETER AVERAGE (74%) THAN THE STAR TREK FRANCHISE (73%)

The only reason we’re bringing this up is because J.J. Abrams has directed Fresh films in each franchise. He helmed the 94% Tomatometer-rated Star Trek in 2009 and followed it up with the 84%-rated Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013. Then, in 2015 he unleashed The Force Awakens on the world. All three films were giant hits, and we’re hoping The Rise of Skywalker follows in their footsteps. After looking at all the theatrically released movies and television shows, Star Wars has the edge between the big space franchises, because the Star Trek series has six Rotten entries that dragged the Tomatometer average down. The Star Wars franchise has a higher average, but Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek movie (94%) has a higher Tomatometer score than The Force Awakens (93%).


10. THE HIGHER THE TOMATOMETER SCORE, THE MORE MONEY THE STAR WARS MOVIE MAKES (ON AVERAGE)* 

STAR WARS, (aka STAR WARS: EPISODE IV - A NEW HOPE), Chewbacca, Harrison Ford, 1977 (20th Century Fox/Everett Collection)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox/Everett Collection)

This may sound obvious, but the four Star Wars movies with Tomatometer scores above 90% average a stellar $844 million at the domestic box office. A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, The Force Awakens, and The Last Jedi were money-making machines that were also critically beloved. The seven movies with Tomatometer scores below 90% have a $468 million average, which is still great – it just isn’t $844 million.

*The domestic box office totals have been adjusted for inflation.  


11. THE FIRST MOVIE IN EACH TRILOGY MAKES THE MOST MONEY

The three highest-grossing films in the Star Wars franchise are A New Hope ($1.2 billion), The Phantom Menace ($816 million), and The Force Awakens ($977 million). Which is understandable because they represented something new and mysterious. Do you remember the buzz around The Phantom Menace? If not, go back a few years and you’ll recall the insane amount of hype that surrounded The Force Awakens. People love new Star Wars films and the proof is in the box office.


12. THIRD MOVIES IN STAR WARS TRILOGIES MAKE MORE MONEY THAN THE SECOND MOVIES

STAR WARS: EPISODE III-REVENGE OF THE SITH, Ewan McGregor, 2005. Credit: Industrial Light & Magic/Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation/Courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Industrial Light & Magic/Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation/Courtesy Everett Collection)

If history repeats itself, The Rise of Skywalker will gross more than The Last Jedi and less than The Force Awakens. While we don’t have too large of a data pool, we do know that Return of the Jedi ($630 million) and The Revenge of the Sith ($536 million) pulled in more money than The Empire Strikes Back ($591 million) and Attack of the Clones ($483 million). Is it because people show up to see how the trilogy ends? Was it because of the adorable and deadly Ewoks? Or, do people just really love lightsaber duels on lava planets?


Tell us about your favorite Star Wars moments in the comments.

Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

Tag Cloud

Turner thriller south america Fantasy Logo Spring TV zombie Mindy Kaling 007 SundanceTV DC Universe mockumentary DC Comics Film Festival Netflix Christmas movies aliens Winter TV social media The Walking Dead Best and Worst Arrowverse Marvel Studios Emmys Holidays Reality Sundance TCA Awards Drama laika WarnerMedia Election TCA Winter 2020 sports ABC Signature Fox Searchlight Spike Valentine's Day Chernobyl Musicals FOX 4/20 A24 richard e. Grant nfl medical drama Tarantino Paramount nbcuniversal 99% Sci-Fi Polls and Games Universal Women's History Month documentary Amazon Prime Dark Horse Comics ratings black game of thrones Hulu GLAAD 2015 docudrama TCA Kids & Family CNN book Lifetime Christmas movies 72 Emmy Awards Esquire batman Walt Disney Pictures worst movies Shudder award winner A&E Paramount Network Comic Book zero dark thirty Hear Us Out romance politics renewed TV shows children's TV comic police drama First Look Disney Channel Set visit MCU disaster toronto theme song 2018 OneApp scorecard Ghostbusters Song of Ice and Fire Comics on TV El Rey President game show series Holiday james bond USA comics SDCC indie spinoff Quiz ID Showtime sequel Captain marvel stop motion worst Acorn TV 71st Emmy Awards Rom-Com halloween tv golden globes VOD werewolf Emmy Nominations YA The Purge comic books Film films Premiere Dates concert See It Skip It adventure First Reviews Sneak Peek toy story Starz space Alien IFC Films spanish language TBS BAFTA Nominations jamie lee curtis Schedule Summer Mudbound Countdown YouTube Red YouTube Reality Competition classics Biopics documentaries free movies WGN TNT Comedy Pride Month hist psycho Winners Watching Series Nat Geo OWN crime drama universal monsters cancelled TV shows Pirates BET Awards San Diego Comic-Con scary movies Podcast joker video on demand dragons BBC One robots cancelled binge Crunchyroll Hallmark Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV renewals Stephen King cooking TruTV asian-american Music Nickelodeon Shondaland Ovation Family twilight criterion Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt movies teaser Awards italian franchise news boxing Elton John deadpool National Geographic CW Seed breaking bad slashers NYCC emmy awards Apple TV+ Marathons Cosplay based on movie spider-man sitcom Cannes ESPN witnail Character Guide Toys halloween Pop Disney Christmas science fiction canceled TV shows critics Awards Tour Disney+ Disney Plus mutant Sundance Now elevated horror ghosts GoT biography cops History fresh Martial Arts Baby Yoda blaxploitation Thanksgiving diversity best Travel Channel supernatural 2020 nature latino Infographic Trivia Trailer dceu Box Office The Academy adaptation discovery Comedy Central Interview BET spy thriller women The Witch Extras 2019 Tumblr Amazon Studios Sundance TV festivals football Mary Tyler Moore what to watch venice Heroines Disney streaming service TLC Disney Plus Lucasfilm Mystery MTV IFC The Arrangement Teen indiana jones BBC cars ITV Masterpiece kids archives directors Horror cats screenings Television Academy dogs Action ABC natural history SXSW Classic Film christmas movies PBS Year in Review sag awards ViacomCBS true crime blockbuster foreign NBC golden globe awards Grammys dramedy E! all-time Marvel Television Discovery Channel trailers TCM DC streaming service obituary Pixar BBC America Hallmark Christmas movies Vudu Endgame Red Carpet die hard independent dc rt archives singing competition name the review Mary Poppins Returns 24 frames anthology Rock Television Critics Association HBO stand-up comedy Trophy Talk green book Amazon Prime Video Writers Guild of America reviews screen actors guild Food Network Rocketman American Society of Cinematographers vampires GIFs Creative Arts Emmys remakes Apple TV Plus ABC Family Netflix Cartoon Network canceled Calendar fast and furious VICE The Walt Disney Company versus Superheroes cancelled TV series war Rocky Brie Larson hispanic Avengers 21st Century Fox Mary poppins 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards cinemax stoner Paramount Plus Oscars miniseries Warner Bros. travel 45 tv talk Spectrum Originals Fall TV Syfy unscripted spain USA Network TV Land anime jurassic park superhero Star Wars RT21 satire reboot Photos zombies VH1 Super Bowl AMC Pet Sematary TV Fox News HBO Max YouTube Premium LGBT strong female leads chucky Superheroe DirecTV Musical FX Black History Month New York Comic Con technology FXX pirates of the caribbean serial killer TIFF crime thriller RT History TV One cults dark japanese Lionsgate Binge Guide period drama parents boxoffice romantic comedy FX on Hulu 20th Century Fox movie rotten movies we love animated 2017 Country justice league Pop TV Ellie Kemper TCA 2017 X-Men quibi political drama Animation sequels HBO Go CBS All Access Adult Swim casting MSNBC LGBTQ comedies Black Mirror Britbox Tomatazos Sony Pictures Columbia Pictures transformers streaming The CW Apple crime Lifetime Anna Paquin Academy Awards french Amazon historical drama television Bravo APB Freeform cartoon Crackle hollywood australia Video Games Opinion crossover doctor who revenge psychological thriller DGA Certified Fresh composers Star Trek Western Funimation child's play PaleyFest Turner Classic Movies E3 2016 comiccon rotten Marvel facebook CMT harry potter Tubi a nightmare on elm street cancelled television Epix PlayStation CBS talk show finale video festival Peacock mission: impossible spanish rom-coms