And some people reject perfectly valid scientific theories because they think they're "ridiculous." But not liking the truth doesn't make it stop being the truth. The calendar matters. For every movie. Whether you like it or not. Period. The only reason anybody anyone is arguing otherwise is because some director or producer pissed in their cereal.
Why would they release it during a time that would negatively affect the movie? What benefit is there to doing that?
I'm saying that TROS was negatively affected by the calendar, worse than the other new Star Wars films, by merit of having the latest release in December of any of them. It should have released a week earlier.
Every movie released in December takes a big hit after New Year's, no exceptions, and TROS released five days closer to New Year's than TLJ did. That makes a big difference. The days immediately after Jan. 1 (or Jan. 2 if NYD falls on a Sunday, for some odd reason) have seen every December release experience major drops in revenues, more than what the average summer blockbuster experiences, as people return to work and school after the holidays. Only extremely front-loaded summer films like Endgame have experienced relative drops that as large as a typical post-New Year's drop at the same point after release. With very rare exceptions (e.g., Avatar, and even it dropped big its third week because of the post-New Year's drop), December releases simply can't maintain the same kind of momentum after New Year's that summer releases can past their second or third week. Even The Force Awakens had larger percent drops in its third and fourth weeks than what we've seen with the biggest summer blockbusters of the past decade, and it wasn't because of audience reaction. It was because of January and its effects on holdovers from December.
Again, had TROS released a week earlier, it would have fared much better against TLJ than it has. It probably wouldn't have beaten it, but the gap almost certainly would have been a lot narrower, maybe no more than 10% lifetime (and, assuming ticket prices didn't jump up in Q4 2019, the adjusted gap would be even narrower; we should get something about Q4 ticket prices within the next week). It might have had a somewhat worse first week than it did in actuality, but it would have had a better second week, and a considerably better third week since its third week wouldn't end until Jan. 2 instead of taking place entirely after New Year's. January would have been closer between the two, though; TROS has had a considerably better January than TLJ (it's already grossed more this month than TLJ did in Jan. 2018 as a whole, and the month isn't even over year), and even over the past week when week-over-week drops are squarely against January dates TROS has, unless BOM is way overestimating it for this long weekend, managed softer week-over-week drops (and a way better MLK Day boost) every single day. While releasing a week earlier than it did would have likely resulted in a worse January, it could very well have still managed better post-New Year's legs proportionally, and maybe even absolutely, than TLJ.
In summary, there are some basic facts about the box office, including the following that are relevant to all Disney-era Star Wars films:
• Christmas Day is a good day for the box office, but Christmas Eve is a bad day.
• The box office experiences a significant slowdown after New Year's, which affects all holdovers from December.
• The timing of these events affects week-over-week comparisons for individual days, for weekends, and for whole weeks.
Anybody who does not recognize those facts does not deserve to be taken seriously in any kind of discussion on box office returns, whether it's for Star Wars or any other movie. I certainly hope most reasonable people can look at the data and realize that the calendar really does matter, and that the box office fortunes of movies, even ones from popular series, are affected by more than just public opinion. Unfortunately, some people want to be unreasonable (hence all the claims ranging from run-of-the-mill bad faith bullshit to incredibly outlandish nonsense), and I think a lot of that stems from vendettas against some perceived slight against them and the object of their fandom committed by certain elements in Hollywood. If this were any other movie, we wouldn't have the Nelsons of the internet pointing and going "Ha ha!" at it for dropping big after New Year's, but this is Star Wars we're talking about, and some of its so-called fans are perpetually disgruntled, can't let go of their hate, and can't resist any opportunity to accentuate or exaggerate the negative when it comes to any aspect of the franchise they don't like.