By James Hibberd
December 20, 2019 at 10:20 AM EST

Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker

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The audience scores are in for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and they show a split with the critics.

While professional reviewers gave The Rise of Skywalker a mere 58 percent “Rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes (making it the worst-reviewed Star Wars film since 1999’s The Phantom Menace), the first three days of audience feedback for The Rise of Skywalker gave the film a “Fresh” 86 percent (after 20,000 reviews).

Also, Deadline reports Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak exits polls show general audiences giving the film a very positive 4.5 stars and parents and kids giving the film 5 stars.

If the Rotten Tomatoes score continues to hold up, The Rise of Skywalker will have an audience score on par with 2015’s The Force Awakens and far higher than any of the prequels (which had audience scores in the 56-66 range).

The scores follow 2017’s The Last Jedi having a famously huge split between critics and fans, except in the opposite direction. The Last Jedi received a 91 percent from critics and only 43 percent from fans. For J.J. Abrams’ last Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, critics and fans were roughly united (93 percent from critics and 86 percent from fans).

Some critics have accused The Rise of Skywalker of not merely focusing on the storytelling set up in Abrams’ last Star Wars film, but pandering to fans who didn’t like The Last Jedi. “The haste with which The Rise of Skywalker rushes to undo its predecessor is almost comical at first, at least before its capitulation to the franchise’s most toxic fans turns outright contemptible,” slammed Slate, and EW’s review was a pan as well.

Some verified reviews on RT agree the film was lacking, but most have a different take: “The Last Jedi was not great in my opinion. This episode helped fix many of the holes from that movie and did so in the fun way that I have came to expect from Star Wars” read one. “I enjoyed every moment of it. Any negative reviews you see are people who nitpick everything and are never happy with anything” read another.

Begun this culture war has?

Just keep in mind it’s possible the audience score will evolve in the coming days, in one direction or another, as more casual fans see the film.

In other words, take this with a grain of…

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Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker

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