It's a great weekend to be a Star Wars fan. With Disney in charge of the property, we should expect a new release every year for the foreseeable future. And this weekend brought Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which continues the main narrative of the franchise after The Force Awakens. Anticipation for the film was at a fever pitch, as the generations of fans longed to finally see Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker return in a major role. Box office predictions for this weekend are pretty bananas, and it's just been revealed how much money The Last Jedi made in its Thursday opening evening. Spoiler alert: The Force is very strong with this one.
Variety is reporting that the opening night of Star Wars: The Last Jedi made a whopping $45 million. This is shy of the all time record for a Thursday opening, but Disney likely won't be upset by this fact. Because it was only beaten out by the $57 billion made by The Force Awakens, which had years of anticipation and excitement behind it, as fans had waited over a decade since 2005's Revenge of the Sith. The third biggest Thursday opening was outside of the galaxy far, far away as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 made an impressive $43 million on opening night.
This is no doubt the start of an absolutely fantastic weekend of money for The Last Jedi. Disney has basically dominated December for the past three years, releasing a highly anticipated blockbuster just in time for the Holiday season. And with the spoiler-heavy society we live in, fans feel like they must shell out cash to see each new Star Wars movie opening weekend, or else have the film's contents be ruined. The Last Jedi is using this to their advantage in their marketing, with the recent TV spots saying telling fans not to let anyone spoil what goes down in the new sequel.
The strong opening night performance of The Last Jedi also makes it clear how much more the fandom cares about main installments than standalone films. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story still made an impressive $29 million in its opening night, but that's almost half of what The Force Awakens made two years ago. Rogue One was still critically acclaimed and made great money, but the main installments have proven to be more important for the fandom. Now we just have to see how Solo: A Star Wars Story does this coming May.
WATCH: Star Wars: The Last Jedi First Reactions
You can get in on all the Star Wars magic yourself, because Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in theaters now, which will be followed by Solo: A Star Wars Story May 25, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.