As expected, “Star Wars” fever has taken the box office by storm as Lucasfilm’s latest installment, “The Last Jedi,” has posted an opening weekend of $220 million from 4,232 screens. That’s the second highest domestic opening of all-time behind the film’s 2015 predecessor, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and a 41 percent jump over the $155 million opening posted by last year’s “Star Wars” movie, “Rogue One.”
The film opened with $104.8 million on Friday (including $45 million from Thursday previews), making it only the second film to earn $100 million on opening day. This was followed by $63.7 million on Saturday and a projected $52 million on Sunday.
This total also pushes Disney past the $2 billion mark domestically for the third consecutive year and into the top spot among all studios for domestic revenue. In total, “The Last Jedi” has posted a global opening of $450 million excluding China – the second-highest opening sans The Red Dragon – and good for the fifth-highest global opening in box office history with $40.6 million coming from IMAX. The film opens in China on Jan. 5.
Hardcore “Star Wars” fans have been debating the film’s merits since screenings started on Thursday evening, but as a whole, critics and audiences have given the film a big thumbs up with an A on CinemaScore and a 93 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Star Wars”‘ big weekend comes after Lucasfilm’s parent company, Disney, turned Hollywood on its head by buying the original owner of “Star Wars,” 20th Century Fox, for $52.4 billion. As fate would have it, Fox has also released a movie this weekend, the Blue Sky animated film “Ferdinand.” Helmed by “Ice Age” director Carlos Saldanha, the film has grossed $13.3 million at 3,621 locations against projections of a $15 million opening. The film received an A on CinemaScore and a 74 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
In third place is Pixar’s “Coco,” which passed the $150 million domestic mark in its fourth weekend with $10 million from 3,155 locations. While “Star Wars” has yet to release in China, “Coco” is performing extremely well in that market, even outperforming its U.S. total with just under $154 million. It is expected to pass “Despicable Me 3” to become the second-highest grossing animated film in China, with “Zootopia” holding the record at $235 million. Globally, “Coco” sits at $448.2 million.
Next weekend, a flurry of new releases will try to fight against “Star Wars” and each other for the time and money of Christmas weekend moviegoers, starting with Sony’s comedy “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and Fox’s musical “The Greatest Showman” on Wednesday, Dec. 20. That will be followed by Universal’s “Pitch Perfect 3” on Friday, along with a bevy of prestige releases including Fox and Steven Spielberg’s “The Post,” Paramount’s “Downsizing” and Entertainment Studios’ “Hostiles.” Christmas Day releases include Sony and Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World,” STX and Aaron Sorkin’s “Molly’s Game” and Focus Features’ “Phantom Thread.”
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