‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” rocketed to a debut of $220 million at the North American box office, landing the second-best opening ever and slotting in behind only its predecessor, “The Force Awakens,” according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Disney blockbuster became just the fourth film to open above $200 million domestically. Aside from “The Force Awakens” ($248.8 million), the others are “The Avengers” ($207.4 million) and “Jurassic World” ($208.8 million). Accounting for inflation, the debut of 2012’s “The Avengers” would rank just ahead of “The Last Jedi.”

“The Last Jedi” is off to a similar start overseas, too, with $230 million in international ticket sales, said Disney. That brings its three-day global haul to $450 million.

As anticipated, “The Last Jedi” fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot, which eventually grossed $2.1 billion worldwide. But the massive debut not only puts “The Last Jedi” in the record books, it singlehandedly brightens what has been a disappointing year for Hollywood. The weekend was far and away the highest grossing of the year.

The opening also gave the Walt Disney Co. the opportunity to flex its muscles on the heels of its deal announced Thursday to purchase 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion. As part of the acquisition, Disney will take control of 20th Century Fox, one of Hollywood’s six major studios.

Fox, as it happens, was the only studio to open another new wide-release film against “The Last Jedi.” Its family film, “Ferdinand,” was essentially stampeded by “The Last Jedi,” grossing $13.3 million. “Ferdinand” and other upcoming releases will look for more room in the coming weeks, once the “Star Wars” tsunami has waned.

While Abrams’ reboot capitalized on a decade’s hiatus for “Star Wars,” Rian Johnson’s sequel didn’t have the same luxury of freshness. It follows not only “The Force Awakens,” but last year’s spinoff, “Rogue One.” That release opened with $155.1 million, and ultimately took in a little more than $1 billion globally.

Johnson instead aimed to distinguish “The Last Jedi” by introducing some new tones to George Lucas’ space opera. “The Last Jedi” is more irreverent than previous chapters.

The plan has seemed to work. Critics gave Johnson’s film a 93 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences endorsed it, too, with an A CinemaScore.

Signalling its faith in Johnson’s course for “Star Wars,” Lucasfilm earlier announced that Johnson is developing another trilogy for the franchise, the first of which he’ll write and direct. Abrams is set to return to direct Episode IX after he was brought in to replace Colin Trevorrow.

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Report of dead body in Manning Park actually headless sex doll

This discovery, made at Manning Park on July 10, led police to uncovering two other sex mannequins

They’re coming!

Communities in Bloom judges return to see if Hope has what it takes for another 5 Blossom year

Chilliwack lagging real estate sales mirrors provincial trend

Forecast for 2019 is a drop from 2018 but a bounce back predicted for 2020

Hope Arts Gallery brings in new show with new member

“All God’s Creations” by Eva Heller will show during August

Young musicians get chance to win opening act spot at Chilliwack Fair

Three finalists will vie for top spot at the Fair’s Saturday night show

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Thunderstorms forecast across B.C.

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for B.C.’s central Interior

B.C. mom to go to Europe court in hopes of getting alleged abducted daughter back

Tasha Brown alleges her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

Driver who killed B.C. motorcyclist receives absolute discharge

Chase family speechless following decision by BC Review Board

Lower gas prices slow annual inflation rate to Bank of Canada’s 2% bull’s-eye

Prices showed strength in other areas — led by a 17.3 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

Most Read