‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” rocketed to a debut of $220 million at the North American box office, landing the second-best opening ever and slotting in behind only its predecessor, “The Force Awakens,” according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Disney blockbuster became just the fourth film to open above $200 million domestically. Aside from “The Force Awakens” ($248.8 million), the others are “The Avengers” ($207.4 million) and “Jurassic World” ($208.8 million). Accounting for inflation, the debut of 2012’s “The Avengers” would rank just ahead of “The Last Jedi.”

“The Last Jedi” is off to a similar start overseas, too, with $230 million in international ticket sales, said Disney. That brings its three-day global haul to $450 million.

As anticipated, “The Last Jedi” fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot, which eventually grossed $2.1 billion worldwide. But the massive debut not only puts “The Last Jedi” in the record books, it singlehandedly brightens what has been a disappointing year for Hollywood. The weekend was far and away the highest grossing of the year.

The opening also gave the Walt Disney Co. the opportunity to flex its muscles on the heels of its deal announced Thursday to purchase 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion. As part of the acquisition, Disney will take control of 20th Century Fox, one of Hollywood’s six major studios.

Fox, as it happens, was the only studio to open another new wide-release film against “The Last Jedi.” Its family film, “Ferdinand,” was essentially stampeded by “The Last Jedi,” grossing $13.3 million. “Ferdinand” and other upcoming releases will look for more room in the coming weeks, once the “Star Wars” tsunami has waned.

While Abrams’ reboot capitalized on a decade’s hiatus for “Star Wars,” Rian Johnson’s sequel didn’t have the same luxury of freshness. It follows not only “The Force Awakens,” but last year’s spinoff, “Rogue One.” That release opened with $155.1 million, and ultimately took in a little more than $1 billion globally.

Johnson instead aimed to distinguish “The Last Jedi” by introducing some new tones to George Lucas’ space opera. “The Last Jedi” is more irreverent than previous chapters.

The plan has seemed to work. Critics gave Johnson’s film a 93 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences endorsed it, too, with an A CinemaScore.

Signalling its faith in Johnson’s course for “Star Wars,” Lucasfilm earlier announced that Johnson is developing another trilogy for the franchise, the first of which he’ll write and direct. Abrams is set to return to direct Episode IX after he was brought in to replace Colin Trevorrow.

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Penticton’s second Snakebite festival hits the screen Jan. 31

Snakebite Film Festival showing LBGT, Indigenous and other diverse films

LETTER: Funds were borrowed from ICBC and B.C. Hydro

Method helped government hype but depleted needed money in the corporations

LETTER: Questions raised about high docks in Summerland

Public docks were replaced following damage from flooding on Okanagan Lake

Crosswalk coming to intersection near Penticton events centre

After years of plans a crosswalk is expected to be built on Alberni Street on Highway 97 this year

EDITORIAL: Revisiting Banks Crescent

Summerland had earlier considered controversial development at same location

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Most Read