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Star Wars: The last Jedi

As we inch closer and closer to the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the hype only gets bigger. But exactly how will that hype translate into box office dollars? The newest projections are now in. While it's still very early in the game, with The Last Jedi just under a month away, it's currently looking like the next entry in the Star Wars saga could see a $200 million opening weekend.

These numbers are actually down slightly from the first projections that were released a couple of weeks ago, that pegged the opening closer to $215 million. Having said that, $200 million is still nothing to sneeze at. The total would still put Star Wars: The Last Jedi as a strong second place in pretty much every conceivable box office category, right behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens which set the record in just about every conceivable box office category. The Force Awakens saw an opening weekend that was just short of $250 million domestically.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi doesn't need to do anything even close to $200 million to have an epic opening weekend at the box office, but the fact that it's looking like it will shows just how strong the franchise is. It wasn't a shock that Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a huge movie since it was the first Star Wars movie in decades. While the fervor for the franchise may have dropped a bit, it's only slightly. In fact, Deadline reports that audience awareness of The Last Jedi actually slightly exceeds that of where The Force Awakens was two years ago.

The Star Wars franchise is single-handedly changing the way studios view the box office. While the holiday season has always been a strong time for movies, the fact is that nobody saw December as the time to set records until The Force Awakens was released. No movie had broken even $100 million on an opening weekend in December, nevermind twice that. The fact that we now see Warner Bros. opening DC superhero movies in December, Aquaman will open in December next year, and Wonder Woman 2 was set for a December release until Star Wars: Episode IX was delayed, shows that other studios have taken notice.

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That Star Wars: The Last Jedi is tracking so far ahead of where Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opened ($155 million), also shows that, while the overall love of Star Wars is strong, it's also this particular story that fans are interested in. It's not just the power of Star Wars overall, but specifically, the success of The Force Awakens that will bring people back to the theater in apparently massive numbers.