The 2016 holiday movie season is filled to the brim with big blockbuster hopefuls and prestige films to sate the desire of moviegoers of all tastes and stripes - but no film is as widely-anticipated as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Serving to tell the tale of the daring mission by the Rebel Alliance forces led by new recruit Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) to steal plans for the Death Star by the Galactic Empire, the movie is directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and aims to please Star Wars fans the world over.
Situated between the events in Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Rogue One features plenty of new characters, Edwards' film isn't expected to be the monster smash success that last year's Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens was. Nevertheless, the latest box office projections for Rogue One suggest it will enjoy quite the lucrative opening weekend box office take, on its own terms.
According to THR, Rogue One is currently expected to make upwards of $130 million during its opening weekend domestically, making it the second-highest grossing December release of all time. Even though it's unlikely to match The Force Awakens record-breaking December opening of $248 million, the first spinoff film in the Star Wars franchise should net Disney and Lucasfilm a pretty penny by the end of 2016 - with total global earnings for Disney expected to reach over $7 billion in ticket sales following the release of Rogue One.
Last year, The Force Awakens became the third-highest grossing movie of all time with a $2.07 billion worldwide gross, with Avatar and Titanic still holding the top spots above it. Rogue One will have its work cut out for it, given the fact that it is the first in a planned series of anthology films in the Star Wars universe - with an untitled Han Solo movie on the way in 2018 - but is still expected to outperform such lucrative 2016 films as Suicide Squad and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Speaking to how well Rogue One is expected to perform overall, Disney chairman Bob Iger stated at an investors conference in September:
"Yes, the marketing material that we've had out has been extremely well received. We've not ever felt [Rogue One] would do the level that Force Awakens did, but we've been very, very encouraged that the level of interest in this is as high as it was for Force Awakens."
Only time will tell how capably the new Star Wars movie will ultimately do when it finally makes its way to theaters later next month - but everything is definitely looking up for the movie, right now. Rogue One should indeed be a brave new chapter in the Star Wars franchise too, no matter how you look at it or what the box office returns ultimately prove to be.
- Star Wars: Rogue One / Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) release date: Dec 16, 2016
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019