The earliest box office predictions for Star Wars: The Last Jedi have the anticipated sequel pegged for $215 million in its first three days, which would be the second-highest opening weekend of all-time. Unsurprisingly, the big screen revival of the galaxy far, far away (which started in 2015 with The Force Awakens) has proven to be quite lucrative for Lucasfilm, with both Episode VII and spinoff Rogue One crossing the coveted $1 billion mark worldwide. In the Golden Age of superhero cinema, the galaxy far, far away is the only franchise that can best the Avengers and the Justice League, with the last two years seeing a Star Wars film top the domestic charts.

That streak will most likely continue in 2017, as The Last Jedi is poised to dominate the holiday season. The hype for writer/director Rian Johnson’s film has reached a fever pitch – especially with the release of the latest theatrical trailer. Tickets for the blockbuster are already on sale, with eager fans securing their seats well in advance so they don’t get sold out. This fervent demand to see the Skywalker saga continue means Episode VIII should make a pretty penny when it finally opens, and now we know what kind of numbers Lucasfilm is looking at.

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Per Box Office Pro, the long range forecast for The Last Jedi indicates it will make $215 million in its opening weekend. While this will come up short of topping the whopping $247.9 million posted by The Force Awakens (an unprecedented movie event that will likely never be beat commercially), studio executives won’t be complaining. Should this projection prove true, Star Wars 8 would be just the fourth film in history to cross $200 million in one weekend and knock Jurassic World from the #2 position on the all-time chart. This figure would also be considerably higher than Rogue One, which debuted to the tune of $155 million last December.

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It doesn’t take an experienced box office analyst to figure out why $215 million is very much in the realm of possibility. Star Wars continues to be one of the biggest brands in the pop culture zeitgeist, drawing much interest from both die-hard fans and casual moviegoers. The Last Jedi is the direct followup to Force Awakens, which currently holds the title of highest-grossing film domestically ($936.6 million). Ever since 2015, viewers have been speculating about a number of topics, including Rey’s heritage, what happened to Luke Skywalker, and the truth behind Supreme Leader Snoke. With Episode VIII answering many of these questions, people won’t want to miss out on the event. This sadly is also the last time fans can see Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa, following the actress’ tragic passing late last year. Films that went through similar experiences, like The Dark Knight and Furious 7, broke records upon their release, so there’s a strong chance the Fisher situation impacts The Last Jedi in the same way.

Also helping Star Wars 8 (as if it needed more assistance), is the fact that it faces minimal competition. Animated film Ferdinand has the bad fortune of taking Last Jedi on head-to-head and won’t pose much of a challenge. It will also be the first major studio tentpole in theaters after Justice League in November, so it will be able to monopolize its target demographic and dominate the marketplace. Whichever way one skews it, The Last Jedi is sitting in the driver’s seat to be the biggest film of the year.

MORE: The Last Jedi Director Loves Dark Luke Theories

Source: Box Office Pro

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