Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi soars to a $220 million opening weekend at the domestic box office. Lucasfilm’s second installment in their Star Wars sequel trilogy continues the story that began with J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens in 2015 and lays the foundation for the filmmaker to return for the new story’s concluding chapter, Star Wars: Episode IX in December 2019.
Estimates for The Last Jedi have been either on par with The Force Awakens‘ opening weekend totals or just under the 2015 film, with industry analysts believing the latest Star Wars outing would gross anywhere between $215 million to $240 million domestically during its first few days in theaters. But, tepid audience reactions to the film – in stark contrast to critics’ overwhelming praise for Johnson’s installment – may have damaged The Last Jedi‘s chances at topping The Force Awakens‘ opening gross. Regardless, Episode VIII is certainly off to a solid start at the domestic box office.
Variety reports that Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi is estimated to gross $220 million domestically during its opening weekend (note: Sunday estimates are common practice and are usually quite accurate). That’s $28 million less than what The Force Awakens earned in 2015, thus setting the record for the highest-grossing opening weekend of all-time. Currently, The Last Jedi sits in second place for highest-grossing opening weekends, in front of Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World ($208.8 million) and Joss Whedon’s The Avengers ($207.4 million).
The Last Jedi‘s gross is quite an impressive feat for the third Star Wars film to release in 2 years. Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story released in December 2016 – the first non-saga Star Wars film ever to grace the big screen – and scored an impressive$155 million opening weekend. Although the number is much lower than both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the film still managed to cross the $500 million threshold domestically and the $1 billion mark globally.
The Last Jedi is just at the start of its theatrical run and has virtually no major competition outside of Jake Kasdan’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Trish Sie’s Pitch Perfect 3, meaning the film should continue to pull in millions of moviegoers throughout the holiday season and well into January and February. The question is, will it continue to trail The Force Awakens and remain in second place throughout its run (i.g. fastest to $500 million, $1 billion, etc.), or will it falter along the way? Whatever happens, it will be difficult to top 2015’s Star Wars mania.
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