‘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

Chilliwack art show fundraiser, One Foot by One Foot, helps mental health community

Sales from Chilliwack Visual Artists Association show benefit two local charities

Excel Martial Arts raises more than $5,000 for family of Chilliwack man killed in workplace accident

By-donation fundraiser event helps wife, three children of 28-year-old Nathan Appleton of Chilliwack

Seven Days in Chilliwack for the week of Dec. 17

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Dec. 17 to 23

Chilliwack Lions Club has a new place to call home

After more than five years without a headquarters, Chilliwack Lions Club moves into new hall

Sardis Falcons top Heritage Woods in field lacrosse opener

The Falcons rallied from a halftime hole to take a big win on the road in Port Moody.

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

VIDEO: Craft growers will add to recreational market, cannabis producer says

Two B.C. men say their expertise in running small legal medical grow-ops a benefit to recreational market

World Sikh Organization demands Canada prove Sikh extremism is a threat

Sikh community says this is first time such extremism has been mentioned in federal terror-threat assessment

Risk of catching the flu increasing in B.C. this holiday season: BCCDC

Dr. Danuta Skowronski with the BC Centre for Disease Control says influenza will pick up during the holidays

Most Read