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Star Wars

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ hauls in US$450m worldwide on opening weekend, leaving box-office rivals far, far away

Its US$220m take in the US and Canada is second only to that of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 December, 2017, 8:15am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 December, 2017, 9:14pm

Star Wars: The Last Jedi burst into theatres with a staggering US$450 million in global ticket sales in its opening weekend, confirming that the celebrated space adventure franchise remained a powerful force at the box office and leaving its rivals this weekend trailing in the distance.

The eighth movie in the Star Wars saga created by George Lucas in 1977 also collected US$220 million in the United States and Canada, according to box office estimates released by comScore on Sunday. The total ranked second only to the US$248 million for Star Wars: The Force Awakens two years ago.

The debut marks another major success for Walt Disney Co, which bought “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm in 2012 and reinvigorated the story set in a galaxy far, far away.

“There are very few brands that can sustain this kind of enthusiasm and relevance,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore said of The Last Jedi. “This supercharges the potential for all the other ‘Star Wars’ properties down the line.”

There were no serious challengers to Last Jedi this weekend; second and third placed at the US-Canadian box office were animated pair Ferdinand (US$13.3million) and Coco (US$10million). Chinese drama Youth was second-placed on the worldwide box-office list, with US$44.3 million.

At least five more “Star Wars” movies are in the works at Disney, including one about a young Han Solo due for release next May, followed by Episode IX in December 2019.

Last Jedi features actress Carrie Fisher’s final performance as Leia, the beloved princess who became a general leading resistance forces against the evil First Order. Fisher died of a heart attack in December 2016.

The film also gives a prominent role to original Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker, portrayed by Mark Hamill.

International sales for Last Jedi were the third biggest for films that did not include the Chinese market during their debut weekends, Disney said. Last Jedi opens January 5 in China, the second largest movie market, but has already opened in Hong Kong.

Positive fan reaction suggested strong ticket sales over the coming holidays, said Dave Hollis, Disney president of worldwide theatrical distribution. Audiences awarded the film an “A” grade in polling by CinemaScore.

Box office analysts did not expect Last Jedi to repeat the opening weekend numbers of Force Awakens. The 2015 movie had been subject to unprecedented interest because it was the first new “Star Wars” film in a decade. It eventually took in more than $2 billion worldwide.

Disney will take over distribution rights to all past “Star Wars” films as part of its US$52 billion deal last week to buy film and some television businesses from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc Fox had released the first six “Star Wars” movies made by Lucas.