Who would have guessed back when the opening crawl to Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope first appeared that an entire movie would be based off those events 39 years later? Now, fans are just days away from debuting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This will be the second film in the Star Wars franchise since the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm, and it will try and build off the record-breaking success of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.
While the latter had the help of a nearly decade-long Star Wars drought and the inclusion of characters from the original trilogy in key roles, Rogue One is largely comprised of new characters. But the film’s plot plays directly into the events of A New Hope and features an appearance by Darth Vader, helping position the film to be another big hit for Lucasfilm and Disney in December.
Variety is reporting that Rogue One is on track for the second-best opening weekend in December history. The low end of the projections has the movie coming in near $120 million, with the high estimates pointing towards the movie clearing $150 million in its first weekend. This is just an estimate at this point, but similar numbers would certainly show that fan interest in Star Wars remains high, regardless of what characters or events the films are based on.
This tracking is not surprising given previously reported projections for the film’s worldwide opening weekend topping $300 million, but this is far from a definitive range. The embargo on reviews for Rogue One was lifted earlier today and with reactions on the positive side of the spectrum, the good buzz could drive more people to the theaters this weekend. With this tracking being posted just hours after the embargo’s end, there is still plenty of time for the desire to see the movie rise amongst more casual fans.
Then again, this could be a reason why the projections are so wildly different just days before its release. Outside of the impact of reviews, it is nearly impossible to project repeat viewings in the opening weekend. Star Wars fans are as passionate as they come and if general audiences agree with critics, an increase in multiple viewings is not out of the question. No matter where Rogue One’s opening weekend ultimately hits, it should be the second-best opening for a Star Wars film ever and help the studio feel confident in continuing to tell similar anthology stories.