LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Disney-Lucasfilm's "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" is set to take over the box office in its opening weekend, raking in around $215 million from 4,232 North American sites.
Including $45 million from Thursday previews -- the second-largest Thursday night preview total ever, below "Star Wars: The Force Awakens'" 2015 total of $57 million -- the tentpole film brought in $104 million from Friday, and is looking to add over $100 million between Saturday and Sunday.
The total gross will make "The Last Jedi" the fourth film in domestic box office history to make over $200 million in its first weekend, joining "The Force Awakens" with $248.8 million, "Jurassic World" with $208.8 million, and 2012's "The Avengers" with $207.4 million. "The Last Jedi" will finish significantly above Star Wars spinoff "Rogue One," which opened with $155.1 million on the same weekend a year ago.
"The Last Jedi" has tracked consistently at $200 million for its opening weekend since first estimates in late November. "The Force Awakens" finished its domestic run with $936.7 million and $2.07 billion worldwide, while "Rogue One" took in $532.2 million domestically and $1.03 billion worldwide.
Directed by Rian Johnson, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" picks up where "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" left off. It stars returning cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Andy Serkis. New stars include Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro. The film has an A CinemaScore and a 93% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The only other wide release during the "Star Wars" blitz is Fox's animated family comedy "Ferdinand" -- opening at 3,621 locations in North America with an expected $12 million debut. The movie is based on the children's book "The Story of Ferdinand" and directed by Carlos Saldanha, with John Cena voicing the Spanish bull who doesn't want to fight.
Both films open in the wake of Disney's $52.4 million acquisition of many of 21st Century Fox's major assets, including its pictures department.
Disney-Pixar's "Coco" should top the rest of the pack this weekend with about $9 million in its fourth frame, enough to bring the animated musical to almost $150 million.
Luke Skywalker's peaceful and solitary existence gets upended when he encounters Rey, a young woman who shows strong signs of the Force. Her desire to learn the ways of the Jedi forces Luke to make a decision that changes their lives forever. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren and General Hux lead the First Order in an all-out assault against Leia and the Resistance for supremacy of the galaxy. Read More