Even though Star Wars: The Last Jedi is arriving in the final weeks of 2017, if it performs as well as The Force Awakens and Rogue One, it's safe to say it will still go down as one of the biggest blockbusters of the year. And make no mistake, you can count on the theaters being packed with hardcore fans and casual moviegoers alike to see the latest installment set in a galaxy far, far away. Disney is well aware of this, which is why Lucasfilm's parent studio is reportedly asking the theaters screening The Last Jedi to hand over 65% of what they earn from those ticket sales. And the demands don't stop there.
According to The Wall Street Journal, theaters are required to run Star Wars: The Last Jedi for four weeks straight without skipping a screening, and if a theater does this or miscounts its number of screenings, then Disney's cut of the ticket take increases to 70%. Normally studios ask for approximately 60% of ticket sales from domestic theaters (approximately 40% internationally), but considering what a pop culture juggernaut the Star Wars franchise is, not to mention how well many Marvel and traditional Disney movies have performed in recent years, that number has gone up. Theaters are also required to run specific promotional material from Disney for The Last Jedi on exactly the day the studio wants. Because of this deal, specifically the extended period the movie needs to be kept around, several theater owners in smaller markets have have opted not to screen The Last Jedi.
This isn't the first time theaters have had to meet certain demands to screen a Star Wars movie. When Attack of the Clones was released in 2002, George Lucas demanded that theaters install digital projectors in order to show the prequel. Given that The Last Jedi is practically guaranteed to be a box office success, this ticket take increase is an unusual move, especially when throwing in that 5% increase penalty. One wonders if Disney will want to implement something similar for Episode IX in 2019, which would cause even more friction with theaters.
Taking place immediately after the events of The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi will follow its main protagonists at different stages of their personal journeys. Rey will be learning the ways of the Force from Luke Skywalker on Ahch-To, Finn will go on a top-secret Resistance mission with newcomer Rose Tico, Poe Dameron will continue piloting his X-Wing while learning how to be a better leader for The Resistance and Kylo Ren will continue furthering the First Order's cause, though it remains to be seen if he'll ultimately an agent of darkness or will somehow find redemption.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in theaters on December 15. If you're interested in what the year's other remaining movies are, browse through our 2017 premiere guide.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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