“Star Wars” will rule the galaxy this December.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is on pace to open to more than $130 million, according to pre-release tracking. The film is the first spinoff in the space opera franchise. It is a prequel that follows a group of rebels as the try to steal plans for the Death Star, the spaceship that serves as the Empire’s base of operations.
Some box office agencies and tracking services have “Rogue One” opening even higher. If it hits those projections, “Rogue One” will enjoy the second-biggest debut ever for a December release. The record belongs to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which kicked off its run with a $248 million bow last year. It went on to become the highest-grossing domestic release in history, earning $936.7 million in the U.S. and $2.1 billion globally.
Disney, the studio behind the “Star Wars” franchise, has lowered expectations for “Rogue One.” Company head Bob Iger has said the studio is not expecting the film to do “Force Awakens”-level business because it exists outside of the main narrative about the Skywalker clan. It relies largely on a new cast of characters, instead or bringing back fan favorites such as Han Solo and Princess Leia. Felicity Jones stars in “Rogue One,” alongside Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, and Forest Whitaker. Gareth Edwards, who previously oversaw the 2014 “Godzilla” reboot, directs the film. It opens in the U.S. on Dec. 16.
In a recent interview with Variety, LucasFilm chief Kathleen Kennedy said that “Rogue One” would be reminiscent of World War II adventure films.
“We’re stepping into entirely new territory with ‘Rogue,'” she said. “It’s certainly a different genre. I hesitate to say it’s darker, because the entire story moves towards ideas of hope.”