Following the theatrical reestablishment of the larger Star Wars franchise in last year's The Force Awakens, longtime fans have been eagerly looking forward to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Serving as the first anthology film under the direction of chief distributor and property owner Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the new movie directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) has already made $30 million in ticket sales over the course of opening night preview screenings this past Thursday.
The force is definitely strong with Edwards, as current box office projections for Rogue One have the movie expected to enjoy a $140 million opening weekend - an enviable feat even if it doesn't manage to match the massive $247.9 million three-day opening weekend that The Force Awakens received last year. Nevertheless, Rogue One is currently the top pre-selling movie of 2016, and the second-highest pre-selling ticket of all time. The latest word has an update on the film's box office earnings.
According to Variety, Rogue One made a grand total of $71.1 million in ticket sales by the end of business hours on Friday of this week, with screenings being hosted in 4,157 locations around the country. The movie has already earned the highest Thursday opening night numbers of all time, and is currently expected to reach between $145 and $150 million by the end of the weekend - with its only major competition coming in the form of Collateral Beauty from Warner Bros. and New Line. The Will Smith headliner opened to just $2.4 million on Friday in only 3,028 theaters.
If Rogue One manages $150 million over the course of its four-day opening weekend, it will rank among the largest opening weekends of all time - compared to The Force Awakens at $247.9 million, Spider-Man 3 at $151 million, and Furious 7 at $147 million. Currently, it still has a way to go before beating out this year's other top contender, Suicide Squad. That film opened to $133.7 million this past August and made it into the top 20 releases of the year.
Rogue One will almost certainly top the weekend box office over the course of the next two days, as Collateral Beauty has been largely panned - with the current critical consensus standing at 14% on Rotten Tomatoes - and La La Land - which is still in limited release in only 200 theaters - aren't currently expected to offer a lot of competition. This weekend looks to be another success in the larger Star Wars franchise for Disney, Lucasfilm and Star Wars fans alike.