Well, we've finally arrived. The reactions are in. The emotional premiere full of homage and excitement has happened. Star Wars: The Last Jedi blasts into theaters this weekend and with it the box office jumps to light speed. This new, holiday season tradition of new Star Wars films has become a reward at the end of the year both for movie fans and the box office. While success has become expected at this point, the numbers are still incredible. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is predicted to make between $424-$440 million worldwide this opening weekend. That includes an around $200 million domestic debut for the top opening weekend of the year.
The Last Jedi will be opening in more theaters than last year's Rogue One, which opened to $155 million domestically. So while this summer was the weakest at the box office in over a decade, thanks to a bevy of critical and commercial underperformers, Star Wars is once again here to save the day, even if Disney will be taking a bigger cut this time around. It has been predicted for some time now that The Last Jedi would hit $200 million during its domestic opening weekend, although box office prognostication is far from an exact science. But if the predictions over at Deadline are right and positive reviews and excitement around the film drive fans out to brave the cold and the elements, Star Wars will again prove its worldwide power at the box office. Blasting past $400 million worldwide on opening weekend sets The Last Jedi up nicely for a long and profitable run at the box office.
This year's current box office champ, at home and abroad, is another Disney film, Beauty and the Beast. That film $174.7 million opening weekend in North America and, if these numbers are any indication, The Last Jedi should easily best that. While Rogue One last year failed to reach Force Awakens-level success, it was not expected to. That film was a risk, featuring all new characters in a standalone story. The real competition for any sort of opening weekend crown is the beginning of this new trilogy, 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens which debuted with $537.96 million worldwide including the domestic record of $247.96 million. The Last Jedi is not expected to match these numbers, but it doesn't have to. The Force Awakens was a huge cultural event a decade in the making with fans who thought they would never get another Star Wars film seeing their patience rewarded with an exciting and nostalgic re-introduction to that galaxy far, far away.
While The Last Jedi does not have the same kind of anticipation as The Force Awakens, it does have a different kind of excitement around it. The Force Awakens introduced us to new characters that we came to love as well as ending with some major questions left unanswered. The Last Jedi offers the prospect of answers to those questions. In addition there is the long-awaited return of franchise hero Luke Skywalker as well as a farewell to Carrie Fisher. With little in its way Star Wars: The Last Jedi is poised to rule the box office for weeks to come.