There is no question that Disney’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be be a massive box office hit, with analysts predicting a $200 million opening weekend at the domestic box office, but it’s shaping up to be an even bigger hit overseas as well. A new report reveals that Disney and LucasFilm are eyeing a roughly $225 million overseas opening weekend for a global opening weekend haul of $425 million. While that is far from the current record, it is among the top 5 of all time, and one of the biggest reasons it won’t contend for the record is that it won’t be opening in China right away.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens held the all-time global opening weekend record of $529 million, including the domestic record of $248 million and the overseas debut of $281 million, for a year and a half, until Universal’s The Fate of the Furious broke that record with an impressive $541.9 million, with 81.8% of that tally coming from overseas with an international opening weekend record of $443.2 million and a decent domestic debut of $93.8 million. If Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is shaping up to be a critical hit as well with glowing Last Jedi reviews surfacing this morning, hits this projection, it will pass Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($422.5 million) as the fifth best global opening weekend of all time, falling just behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($483.2 million) in fourth place and Jurassic World ($525.5 million) in third place.
The biggest reason that The Fate of the Furious posted such a massive international opening weekend was due to its incredible $184.9 million opening weekend, the biggest debut in Chinese history, behind the $182.4 million debut of Furious 7. While Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($52.3 million opening, $124.1 million total) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ($30 million debut, $69.4 million total) have fared well in China, both movies have opened in early January, and not at day-and-date with the rest of the world. The Last Jedi opens in several international markets on December 13 and 14 with its entire global rollout complete by December 15, with the exception of China, which won’t debut until January 5, 2018 in the Middle Kingdom. While this delay in China certainly won’t be disastrous, it will be interesting to see how its confirmed status as the longest Star Wars movie of all time will impact repeat viewing.
While Disney is certainly expecting both a critical and commercial hit with The Last Jedi, they are also mounting an Oscar campaign for Mark Hamill, for his performance as iconic Jedi Luke Skywalker. The studio is putting the movie in contention for all major awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, but it will be interesting to see if awards season voters will spark to this movie as much as the fans certainly have. While Star Wars movies are largely nominated on the technical side of the Oscars, Alec Guinness was nominated for his performance as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the very first Star Wars movie, so there is a precedent in place.
All of the studios as a whole are likely hoping that The Last Jedi opening weekend is huge, because it’s basically the last chance to turn around a truly bizarre year at the box office, since the year-to-date totals are currently 4% behind last year’s record-breaking domestic box office total of $11.4 billion, and a big opening weekend could help close the gap, along with the final wide releases of the year that are being spread out over December 20 (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, The Greatest Showman on Earth), December 22 (Downsizing, Pitch Perfect 3, Father Figures) and December 25 (All the Money in the World). The Hollywood Reporter broke the news on the global opening weekend projetion today.