Opening with a staggering $450 million in global ticket sales over the weekend, the latest episode of the Star Wars is expected to break the billion-dollar mark this week. But there’s one film that actually beat it…With a debut of $220 million (€186 million) at the North American box office, the blockbuster “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” directed by Rian Johnson marked the second-biggest opening of all times on the continent. The global box office exceeded $450 million (€382 million) and is expected to hit the one-billion-dollar mark in the days to come.
On the North American continent, the opening box office for “The Last Jedi” was surpassed only by its predecessor, J. J. Abrams’ “The Force Awakens” from 2015.
While both releases have been critically acclaimed, “The Last Jedi” received praise for its darker undertones and its irreverent nature, elements rarely seen in the saga’s previous chapters.
Some observers believe Abrams’ reboot had the advantge of a decade’s Star War hiatus, while this sequel doesn’t have the same benefit of freshness. It follows not only “The Force Awakens,” but last year’s spinoff, “Rogue One.”
Read more: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’: the best episode yet
On Rotten Tomatoes, the new movie now holds the score of 93 percent, the second highest of the franchise, topped only by Irvin Kershner’s “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” from 1980.
The galactic opera was created by American director and writer George Lucas in the 1970s. The first movie, “Star Wars,” whose name was later changed to “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,” mixed aspects of ancient epic drama with breakthrough effects. It became an instant success.
The measure of success
The film is another hit movie produced by Disney. The company behind a series of record-breaking box office debuts, including “The Avengers” (2012) and “Jurassic World” (2015), which both topped the $200-million mark on their opening weekend.
Read more: ‘Star Wars’: Disney announces new trilogy
The opening also gave the Walt Disney Co. the opportunity to flex its muscles on the heels of the deal to purchase 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion, as announced on Thursday. It means Disney will take control of one of Hollywood’s six major studios.
Read more: Disney to buy Twenty-First Century Fox assets
jt/eg (AFP, Reuters)