Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the current opening weekend record holder with a commanding $248 million in the U.S. Traditionally, direct sequels don’t tend to make more than their predecessors on opening weekend (for example, The Avengers opened to $207 million, but Avengers: Age of Ultron opened to $191 million). So where does that leave Star Wars: The Last Jedi in terms of predicting its opening weekend?
According to THR, analysts predict that The Last Jedi will open above $200 million, and that alone would put it in rare company. The only movies to ever eclipse $200 million on opening weekend are The Force Awakens, The Avengers, and Jurassic World. Last year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story made an impressive $155.1 million, but The Last Jedi, with the power of being a “main” Star Wars film carries more power, especially since audiences have sparked to new characters like Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren.
Although THR doesn’t specify if they think The Last Jedi can beat out The Force Awakens, I predict it will fall just a little shy. The Force Awakens had the benefit of being something completely new and a way to get people back on board after the disappointing prequel trilogy. But without that “shiny, new” thing that people need to know about on opening weekend, the demand for The Last Jedi will be somewhat lessened even if the reaction is more enthusiastic (a tough bar to clear since people seem to really enjoy The Force Awakens).
The other question is whether The Last Jedi will have the legs of The Force Awakens. J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars movie went on to pull in over $2 billion worldwide while Rogue One topped out at a little over $1 billion. I don’t expect this will be a case of diminishing returns, and I wouldn’t be surprised if The Last Jedi lands closer to The Force Awakens’ return assuming the film is good.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens December 15th.