'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' has the 2nd-largest US opening weekend box office ever

Disney/Lucasfilm‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi.’
  • “The Last Jedi” earned an estimated $US220 million this weekend, the second-best domestic opening weekend of all time, only trailing 2015’s “The Force Awakens.”
  • “Last Jedi” has the biggest opening of any 2017 release.

As anticipated, the latest “Star Wars” movie, “The Last Jedi,” did not disappoint at the box office. The only question was: How much it would earn?

Weekend estimates have the movie taking in $US220 million, according to Exhibitor Relations.

That’s the second-best opening weekend of all time at the domestic box office. The only movie that’s done better is, you guessed it, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015 with an incredible $US247.9 million opening.

As Disney/Lucasfilm had hoped, the performance by “Last Jedi” is by far the best of any movie at the box office in 2017 (beating out previous best opening weekend of the year, Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast” of $US174.7 million). And its figures only trail “Force Awakens” in the all-time records.

The movie took in an estimated $US45 million in its Thursday night previews, the second best all-time (“Force Awakens” earned $US57 million). That added to the movie’s Friday take of $US104.7 million (“Force Awakens” took in $US119 million). Then on Saturday, “Last Jedi” earned a strong $US56.7 million – the seventh-best all time. In third place all-time on Saturdays: “Force Awakens” with $US68.2 million.

These are astronomical figures that Disney seems to do in its sleep with its releases, especially the latest “Star Wars” trilogy titles.

Last Jedi 2 DisneyDisney

But by putting “The Last Jedi” on a record-breaking 4,232 screens (“Force Awakens” was on 4,134), Disney was aware that it was bringing a different blockbuster into the world at a different time.

“The Force Awakens” broke box office records across the board because it was the first “Star Wars” release in a decade.

The movie wasn’t just good; it touched on elements of George Lucas’ original trilogy that attracted the die hard and casual fans alike. Now with a “Star Wars” movie coming out yearly, the anticipation for “Last Jedi” (though still high) wasn’t at the ultimate peak that we saw with “Force Awakens.”

And Rian Johnson’s movie clocked in at two-and-a-half hours, the longest “Star Wars” movie ever released. Though movie theatres added 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. showings, there are still only so many times a theatre can play a movie in one day at that length.

However, theatres now have more IMAX, RealD 3D, and 4D theatres than when “Force Awakens” opened two years ago, and tickets for those showings are at a premium price. So that made up a little for the long run time.

The next test for “Last Jedi” is how it plays in its second weekend. Repeat showings for “Force Awakens” fuelled it to a $US149.2 million earning in its second weekend (only a 39.8% drop from its first weekend).

With only “Pitch Perfect 3” as the only major competition next weekend (Universal is opening it on over 3,000 screens), it should win the weekend. But can “The Last Jedi” continue to keep pace with its predecessor?

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