“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is heading for a massive launch in the $200 million range during its Dec. 15-17 opening weekend in North America, according to the first estimates released by tracking services on Wednesday.
Directed by Rian Johnson, the movie picks up where 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” left off. It stars returning cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Andy Serkis.
The new stars include Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro. It’s the final film role for Fisher, who died last December.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” set an all-time record in December of 2015, with a domestic opening of $248 million at 4,134 theaters for the first “Star Wars” movie in a decade. The first “Star Wars” spinoff, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” opened a year later with $155.1 million.
The debut for “Rogue One” — which starred Felicity Jones, es Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, and Donnie Yen — was the 13th-largest of all time. The film wound up with $532 million in domestic grosses, the seventh-largest ever.
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” will most likely be the biggest debut of the year, surpassing the March 17-19 opening for “Beauty and the Beast” at $174.8 million.
Disney had no comment on the tracking, which showed the key “unaided awareness” and “definite interest” categories in the same range as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Should the $200 million forecast hold, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” could be the fourth film to debut at that level. The others are “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” 2015’s “Jurassic World” at $208.8 million for Universal, and 2012’s “The Avengers” at $207.4 million for Disney-Marvel. “The Force Awakens” went on to become the top domestic grosser of all time with $936 million.