The Force dominated at the box office as Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi opened with a stellar $220 million weekend at 4,232 North American sites — the second-highest opening weekend of all time.
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” trails only the $248 million launch of 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
The tentpole opened with $104.8 million on Friday (including $45 million from Thursday night previews), followed by $63.7 million on Saturday and a projected $52 million on Sunday.
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has become only the fourth movie to top $200 million domestically in its opening frame, joining 2015’s “The Force Awakens,” 2015’s “Jurassic World” with $208.8 million, and 2012’s “The Avengers” with $207.4 million. It will finish the weekend 29% above the “Star Wars” spinoff “Rogue One,” which opened with $155.1 million on the same weekend a year ago.
“Truly in a class by themselves, the movies of the “Star Wars” franchise continue to re-write the history books as to what is possible in terms of box office performance,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at comScore.
“‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ posts the second biggest preview gross, the second best single day gross ever recorded and if that were not enough, the second biggest opening weekend ever in North America, joining the elusive $200 million club with a knockout of a movie that is proving to be both catnip to the critics and moviegoers alike over what has become the strongest moviegoing weekend of 2017,” he added.
Audiences surveyed by comScore’s PostTrak gave stellar marks to the tentpole with 66% calling it “excellent” and another 23% rating it “very good.” A total of 79% said they would “definitely recommend” the movie.
The stellar performance comes three days after Disney announced it was spending $52.4 billion to acquire 21st Century Fox assets — a move that will make the company the undisputed leader in box office share in coming
Domestic tracking for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has remained in the $200 million range since Nov. 22, when first estimates emerged. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” wound up its domestic run with a record-setting $936.7 million and $2.07 billion worldwide. “Rogue One” went on to gross $532.2 million by the end of its domestic run and $1.03 billion worldwide.
Directed by Rian Johnson, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” picks up where “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” left off. It stars returning cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Andy Serkis. New stars include Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro.
Fox’s counter-programming foray with animated family comedy “Ferdinand” finished a distant second with $13.3 million at 3,621 locations in North America amid expectations of a $15 million debut. The movie is based on the children’s book “The Story of Ferdinand” and directed by Carlos Saldanha, with John Cena voicing the Spanish bull who doesn’t want to fight.
Disney-Pixar’s fourth weekend of “Coco” led the rest of the pack with about $9.7 million in its fourth frame, enough to lift the animated musical to past $150 million domestically.
With the holiday season getting into full swing, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” should dominate moviegoing before a pair of new entries arrive on Dec. 20 — Sony’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and Fox’s “The Greatest Showman.”
More to come
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