The Force Is Strong With ‘The Last Jedi’ As Thursday Night Preview Looks To Rack Up $45M+ – Early Estimate. EXCLUSIVE: Disney is having a fantastic day, and it’s not even over yet
- Disney began today at 4:13AM PST with the acquisition of the majority of 21st Century Fox, a deal valued around $66 billion, and they’ll end tonight with a huge box office record as
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is poised to post the second best Thursday preview ever with $45M-plus.
These projections come to us from Deadline sources, not Disney. Last Jedi easily ranks behind Disney/Lucasfilm’s 2015 The Force Awakens which owns the best preview night of all-time with $57M. Last Jedi is bound to unseat Warner Bros.’ July 2011 finale Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 for second place on the preview B.O. chart. That pic earned $43.5M from its Thursday night preview with showtimes that began at midnight.
We have to continually asterisk these projections when they are this early, but there’s even a shot that The Last Jedi could even cross into the $50M-plus sphere. Most tracking services and rivals had Last Jedi opening to north of $200M over three days, but still even if it falls to $185M, that’s a fantastic number for December. There were storms in the Midwest and Northeast last year when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opened and even that didn’t deter business with fans shelling out $29M on that pic’s Thursday night, which repped 40% of its $71M opening day before finaling a $155M opening weekend. Force Awakens’ $57M preview accounted for close to 48% of its $119.1M opening day before filing the biggest domestic opening of all-time at $247.966M. Force Awakens and Rogue One also easily ranked as the first and second best weekend openings in December.
Tonight in America, and around the world, it’s a holiday. Star Wars fans dressed to the nines as Rey, Kylo Ren, Stormtroppers, Boba Fett, Chewbacca, etc. Fans have a lot of questions as they enter the theater to watch director Rian Johnson’s spectacle. Who are Rey’s parents? What’s the connection between Luke Skywalker and Rey? Who is Snoke? Similar to Heath Ledger with The Dark Knight and Paul Walker with Furious 7, Last Jedi is already something special for Star Wars fans as it marks the late Carrie Fisher’s last Star Wars movie. The film is organically a catharsis for them, and that posthumous performance will definitely pull in masses and masses of people. Fisher died during the holidays a year ago on Dec. 27 with her mother Debbie Reynolds following on Dec. 28. Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd also has an expanded role in Last Jedi as one of the Rebels.
As per Star Wars tradition going back to the moment it first projected on screen in Hollywood, fans camped outside the TCL Chinese Theater. In response Red Robin stopped by to hand out free hamburgers to those waiting. Most previews started tonight at 7PM, but there were fan and marathon events in 1,300-plus locations featuring an early look at The Last Jedi at 6PM. Tickets for some of those 6PM shows which reportedly include deleted footage that’s not part of the theatrical release are going for $30. In response to the demand this week, the world’s largest exhibitor AMC is adding a number of 2AM IMAX and Dolby Cinema at AMC showtimes nationwide, from their Loews Lincoln Square on the Upper West Side of Manhattan to AMC River Park Square in Spokane, Washington. There are also some theaters running on a 24-hour schedule from tonight into tomorrow including AMC Empire 25, Lincoln Square and Fresh Meadows in NYC as well as the Southpoint 17 in Durham/Raleigh, NC. Tomorrow, The Last Jedi will be in play at 4,175+ theaters in the US/Canada. Of that 410 are IMAX screens, 640+ premium large format, 3,600+ are 3D locales, and 212 D-Box locations. We’ll have an update with Disney’s office Thursday night figure in the morning. A look at the lines: Star Wars fans are in line to see The Last Jedi! #StarWars70mm pic.twitter.com/B4CYXuXZTF — Space & Rocket Ctr (@RocketCenterUSA) December 14, 2017