Early predictions pegged Star Wars: The Last Jedi for a domestic opening right around $215 million to $220 million, with some box office analysts suggesting that Carrie Fisher’s death may actually lift the film’s ticket sales. As we draw closer to the movie’s opening in North America and other key worldwide territories this Friday, new numbers are starting to trickle in.
According to THR, The Last Jedi is set to earn right around $200 million domestic this weekend and $425 million-plus worldwide. Though that Stateside figure is slightly under initial expectations, it would still mark the biggest opening of the year and the fourth biggest of all time behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($247.9 million), Jurassic World ($208.8 million) and Marvel’s The Avengers ($207.4 million), per Box Office Mojo. But, there’s reason to believe that the final total may come in closer to the original projection. The Last Jedi is receiving universal praise from critics on social media, with many of them declaring that it’s the best Star Wars film since The Empire Strikes Back. Word of mouth is through the roof for this anticipated blockbuster and the only other new wide release this weekend is Ferdinand, an animated flick aimed at young children that is tracking for a $20 million opening.
Disney is reportedly trying to downplay internal expectations so that Rian Johnson‘s new installment isn’t compared too closely with J.J. Abrams‘ 2015 franchise relaunch. On top of snagging the biggest domestic opener of all time, The Force Awakens earned the second-biggest global opening ever ($529 million) behind The Fate of the Furious ($541.9 million) and the biggest domestic haul in film history with ($936.7 million). However, The Fate of the Furious enjoyed the added financial benefit of opening day and date in China whereas Force Awakens and The Last Jedi will see delayed roll outs in that territory. China, by the way, is back on track to becoming the most important box office territory in the world.
In 2016, spinoff Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opened to $290.1 million globally, including $155.1 million domestically and $135 million internationally.
One small factor that may slightly cap the box office numbers of The Last Jedi is its longer running time of two and a half hours, compared to two hours and 16 minutes for Force Awakens. While that seems like a negligible difference, it may prevent the new film from receiving as many daily screenings at its predecessor. Still, there’s no doubt that The Last Jedi is going to threaten, and very likely overtake, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast ($1.2 billion) as the top grossing film of 2017. But hey, the Mouse House doesn’t care; they own Lucasfilm.