'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Delivers Second Largest Opening Ever
Star Wars: The Last Jedi delivered on expectations, debuting with the second largest opening weekend of all-time and propelling the box office to the third largest weekend ever based on estimates. In an attempt at counter-programming, Fox's Ferdinand got off to a bit of a slow start against the might of Star Wars as well as the continued strong performance of Pixar's Coco as it fell below Mojo's expectations, though the studio is optimistic when it comes to the film's future.

With an estimated $220 million, Star Wars: The Last Jedi delivered the second largest opening weekend ever behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which debuted with $247.9 million back in 2015. Last Jedi got off to a strong start on Thursday night with the second largest preview gross ever of $45 million and became only the second film to ever gross over $100 million on opening day resulting in the second largest opening day ever, second largest single day, second largest Friday and joins Force Awakens as the fastest films to reach $100 million.

Opening day demographics show the film played to an audience that was 58% male vs. 43% female and of that audience 37% was 25 years old or under. Opening day audiences gave the film an "A" CinemaScore, matching the score for Force Awakens. However, there may be a small glitch in the Force as many are pointing to the RottenTomatoes audience score for Last Jedi, which is currently 56% vs. a 93% score from critics. It is the largest audience-to-critic divide for films in the Star Wars franchise on the site. Additionally, IMDb is showing a down tick in user ratings over opening release weekend when compared to user ratings for Force Awakens (8.8/10) and Rogue One (8.3/10) on the Sunday following release with Last Jedi currently holding a 8/10 rating. Just how significant an effect this data has on the film may be difficult to assess given the sheer size of its grosses, but it's definitely worth noting.

That being said, projecting Last Jedi's future prospects using the multipliers for previous $200+ million openers, as well as Rogue One, gives us the following possibilities based on the film's estimated $220 million debut:
  • Force Awakens (3.8x multiplier) - $831.2 M
  • Rogue One (3.4x multiplier) - $755.11 M
  • Jurassic World (3.1x multiplier) - $687.38 M
  • Avengers (3x multiplier) - $661.25 M

Using these numbers as a starting point, a domestic performance anywhere from $750-830 million feels a safe bet and it will be interesting to see where it ends up, especially considering some of these early responses from moviegoers. Of course, Last Jedi's performance doesn't end at the domestic box office.

Internationally, Last Jedi delivered an estimated $230 million overseas, which is the tenth largest overall international opening of all-time and the fifth largest global debut ever with $450 million. Those figures, however, take into account the fact The Fate of the Furious and Jurassic World also opened in China during their opening weekend. Exclude China grosses and Last Jedi holds the third largest global debut behind Force Awakens and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Of the markets where the film is already in release, opening weekend performances are as follows:
  • UK - $36.7 M (3rd largest ever)
  • Germany - $23.6 M (2nd largest ever)
  • France - $18.1 M
  • Australia - $15.9 M (2nd largest ever)
  • Japan - $14.4 M
  • Russia - $8.5 M
  • Spain - $8.3 M
  • Brazil - $7.2 M
  • Italy - $7.0 M
  • Mexico - $7.0 M
  • Sweden - $6.0 M (2nd largest ever)
  • Korea - $5.1 M

Last Jedi opens in China on January 5.

It's also worth noting, Last Jedi's opening helped push Disney over the $2 billion mark domestically, joining Warner Bros. as the only two studios to reach that mark in 2017. This is the third consecutive year Disney has reached $2 billion domestically, becoming the first and only studio to have achieved this and given their upcoming slate and pending Fox acquisition it would seem the streak may never end.

Finishing in second is Fox's release of Blue Sky's latest animated feature, Ferdinand, which delivered an estimated $13.3 million from 3,621 locations. This is the lowest opening ever for a Blue Sky release, falling well behind the $21.3 million opening for Ice Age: Collision Course last year before it went on to gross $64 million domestically.

Looking ahead, Ferdinand received an "A" CinemaScore from opening day audiences and the studio is optimistic about the film's future due to K-12 schools yet to be dismissed for end of year holidays and thanks to the film's 54% uptick from Friday to Saturday. By comparison, the film's opening is relatively similar to the $14.2 million opening for Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, which attempted to offer some counter-programming when it opened against The Force Awakens back in 2015. The studio was similarly optimistic after Alvin saw 39% growth on Saturday. Road Chip went on to gross just over $85 million.

Internationally, Ferdinand brought in an estimated $6.2 million from 18 markets for a $19.5 million global debut. Ferdinand expands its international reach next weekend when it will add another 44 markets.

Disney and Pixar's Coco finished third with an estimated $9.7 million, pushing the film's gross over $150 million domestically. Coco also added another $27.4 million internationally this weekend pushing its global cume just shy of $450 million with openings set for Australia and Italy in the coming weeks and releases in Brazil, Korea, UK and Japan in 2018.

Lionsgate's Wonder continued its strong performance, grossing an estimated $5.4 million this weekend bringing its domestic gross just shy of $110 million. The film also added another $9.4 million internationally this weekend as it crossed the $150 million mark globally.

Rounding out the top five is Warner Bros. and DC Comics' Justice League, which pulled in an estimated $4.1 million as its domestic cume is now just shy of $220 million. Additionally, the film added an estimated $5.3 million from 65 markets this weekend, pushing its international cume to $414.5 million for a global tally north of $634 million.

Elsewhere in the top ten, A24's The Disaster Artist suffered a steep drop, delivering just $2.6 million this weekend from 1,010 locations (+170). The 59% drop is far more than expected after its strong expansion last weekend. The film's domestic cume now totals $12.9 million.

Just outside the top ten, Fox Searchlight's release of The Shape of Water expanded to 158 theaters (+117) this weekend and brought in an estimated $1.7 million for a $11,000 per theater average. The film's domestic gross now stands at $3.6 million after three weeks in limited release with the stage set for the film's upcoming expansion into ~750 theaters next weekend.

In limited release, GKIDS' Birdboy opened with $5,684 from four theaters ($1,421 PTA) and A24's The Ballad of Lefty Brown brought in an estimated $6,115 from two theaters ($3,058 PTA).

Also notable is Sony Classics' expansion of Call Me By Your Name into 30 theaters (+21) where it grossed $491,933 for a $16,398 per theater average and Neon's I, Tonya, only added one theater and still brought in $176,189 from five locations for a $35,238 average.

Taking a look at the bigger picture, heading into the weekend 2017 was pacing 4.2% behind 2016, but with this weekend's grosses the year is now just 3% behind last year as of December 17. Additionally, December is shaping up to be huge as it is now 30.5% ahead of last year with the largest December gross to date ever, though do remember Force Awakens was a December 18 release so these grosses will start to be a bit more comparable by the end of the week.

Next week sees several new releases beginning on Wednesday with Fox's The Greatest Showman opening in 3,100 theaters and Sony will release Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle into 3,600 locations. Following that, Friday sees three new wide releases including Paramount's release of Alexander Payne's Downsizing into ~2,500 theaters, Warner Bros. will release the comedy Father Figures into 2,800+ locations and Universal closes out the Pitch Perfect trilogy with Pitch Perfect 3 opening in 3,400 locations. In all we're talking about seven new wide releases in the span of just seven days, accounting for over 23,000 theaters.

You can check out all of this weekend's estimated results right here and we'll be updating our charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.

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