As Star Wars: The Last Jedi begins arriving in theaters around the world (the U.S. officially gets it on Friday), expectations are high for the franchise’s box-office performance after a spin-off year in 2016 with Rogue One. In fact, some industry watchers are predicting the biggest opening of the year — and then some.
At The Hollywood Reporter, the word is that Episode VIII is expected to open upwards of $425 million worldwide by Sunday. That’s Canto Bight levels of cash. It includes a $200 million-plus opening in North America alone, which would be the biggest of the year, and a large chunk coming from overseas. That also doesn’t include the huge market of China, which won’t see the film until early January.
This sets the film up for an admirable follow-up haul, but it's not expected to overtake its predecessor. While The Force Awakens scored a record-breaking debut, it had the advantage of being the first new Star Wars movie in 10 years — and the first in a new wave of canon-reviving films. It grossed $529 million globally, the second-biggest opening of all time behind the The Fate of the Furious, which raked in $541 million. The Last Jedi may not hit those levels, but Rian Johnson’s sequel should have no problem topping Rogue One’s $290 million opening.
With critics mostly sold on the film, The Last Jedi should have the legs to keep drawing fans throughout the holiday season. The latest Star Wars is, as you might expect, the No. 1 advance-ticket seller of the year, according to Fandango, which continues to bolster expectations that the film will score big — and we mean Star Wars big, not just regular-film-hit big — at the box office. Seeing as Disney has scared off all other competitors at the box office besides the animated-bull story Ferdinand, everything seems aligned for Johnson’s Star Wars to fulfill its destiny.