Star Wars: The Last Jedi is Headed for Historic Opening Weekend
It pretty much goes without saying that Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi is gonna be a massive hit. Even if all indications (the stellar trailer, the smooth production,Johnson’s track record of intriguing, daring films) weren’t pointing to The Last Jedi being a potentially iconic Star Wars film, the sheer force of the franchise’s pull would guarantee the film will be a financial success. The question really is one of scale; how big will it be? History dictates that second-in-a-trilogy films usually do a little less brisk business than the first and third films, but we’re going to go out on a limb and say The Last Jedi will be the exception to that rule.
Way back in 2015, The Force Awakens broke records left and right, opening to a colossal $247 million weekend and ultimately making more than $2 billion at the worldwide box office. J.J. Abrams’ film enjoyed being the first new Star Wars movie since George Lucas’s polarizing prequels, thus ensuring a ton of added interest, and then he went ahead and made a great film, thus ensuring the film’s monster opening would enjoy great word of mouth, guaranteeting its overall, world-beating success. Yet the success of The Force Awakens also bodes well for The Last Jedi‘s shot at history because there’s no reason there will be any less appetite to see what Johnson’s done with the characters Abrams introduced, and in fact, there could even be more interest now that we care so deeply about Rey (Daisy Ridley) and what’s in store for her. The trailer dropped a lot of delicious potential narrative twists, including Rey’s ongoing battle with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), a possible head fake of her dabbling with the Dark Side, and her struggle to get Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill, obviously) to train her. The trailer also giving us a lot of intrigue with Finn (John Boyega), as you see in the featured image above, and adventures with his new partner-in-Resistance, Rose (Kelly Marie Tran). Then there’s the inevitable showdown (we think) between Kylo Ren and Leia (the late, great Carrie Fisher) over the litlte fact that he murdered Han Solo. Yeah, there’s plenty of narrative reasons that The Last Jedi is gonna be huge.
There is already talk about the very real chances that The Last Jedi will end up being one of the highest grossing films of all time. Collider and Slashfilm both cite Box Office Pro‘s projections that The Last Jedi is looking at an opening weekend of somewhere around $215 million, with a domestic haul of $742 million, putting it right behind Avatar‘s $760 million take. Yes, the second films in trilogies typically don’t fare as well at the box office as the first, but what The Last Jedi has going for it, we predict, is the fact that it’s going to be a very good film, and the quality will be a major talking point, driving more people to see it as the weeks go on, likely making up for any traditional dip that second-in-the-trilogy films suffer. While Rian Johnson might not be as seasoned and well known as J.J. Abrams, he enjoys a passionate following of fans who adore his singular work, from Brick to Looper, and his credible claim as a unique indie director given fairly free reign to envision The Last Jedi will likely draw in people who may not care as much about the franchise itself.
Look for The Last Jedi to do serious business, but more than that, look for it to be a great film, full stop. We’re banking that Johnson’s knack for vivid storytelling, and the massive amounts of talent involved in The Last Jedi, are going to make this film not only historically successful, but narratively satisfying.
Featured image: Finn (John Boyega) fights Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie). Courtesy Lucasfilm/Walt Disney