Though Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League have yet to open, there’s little to no disagreement amongst box office prognosticators that 2017’s box office king will be Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Of course it will be. It’s marketing thus far as been predictably excellent, including the latest trailer that threw in a number of possible plot twists that range from Daisy Ridley‘s Rey being tempted by the dark side and a face-off between Adam Driver‘s Kylo Ren and his mother (Carrie Fisher). Domestically speaking, there is simply no way that The Last Jedi will not stand head and shoulders above the competition when 2017 comes to a close.
The bigger question, at least in terms of fiscal success, is where the film will land on the highest grossing opening weekends and, ultimately, highest grossing movies of all time. Though anyone who is interested in the numbers has already assumed that the latest Star Wars volume will make its way into the top five, there hasn’t been much talk of exact figures until this weekend. The team over at Box Office Pro has projected that the movie’s opening weekend will come in at some $215 million, which would place Rian Johnson‘s film firmly in the second place spot on the big list, right behind its predecessor, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. They also predict that the film’s domestic run will clock in around $742 million, just a little short of Avatar‘s $760 million take.
To compare, The Force Awakens opened at $247 million but that movie had the benefit of being the first proper Star Wars movie since 2005, excluding the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars in 2008. There was a bigger build-up for J.J. Abrams‘ absurdly entertaining opener for the new trilogy, and the second installment in any trilogy tends to do worse than the first or final chapter. Then again, Attack of the Clones had a better opening weekend than The Phantom Menace, even if it fell vastly short in cumulative box office of both The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith.
All that being said, there’s every reason to believe that these projections are a bit off. Word of mouth will matter a bit for the constituencies that don’t just go see the new Star Wars because it’s the new Star Wars, whether they’re just not that interested overall or if they were displeased by the similarities between The Force Awakens and A New Hope. The money will be immense and The Last Jedi will no doubt take its place in the upper echelons of box office history, but its legacy will be determined by what Johnson, Disney, Lucasfilm, and the extensive creative team put to the screen.