Sad but true, Rogue One is no The Force Awakens, but compared to almost any other movie this year, it's a certified blockbuster. The first Star Wars spin-off has scored the second best ever Thursday Night preview at the box office with an estimated $30M and it's looking to continue its hot streak through the weekend. But did anyone expect less from the Star Wars franchise? Perhaps some fans expected more?

But that seems impossible. Disney and Lucasfilm's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is down 47% from what Star Wars: The Force Awakens pulled in last year around this time when it opened for Thursday Night previews to the tune of $57M. Disney hasn't released the official box office numbers for Rogue One's Thursday bow yet, though. That is expected a little later in the morning.

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Rogue One is currently Fresh on the Rotten Tomatoes TomatoMeter, with a whopping 85%, but it fails to live up to the Force Awakens, which sat with a 92% after critics got down with it. Audience polls from ComScore PostTrak indicate that audiences are loving the movie, with a positive score of 88%, but again, it's not sitting where The Force Awakens was, with that movie garnering a 94% last year. 77% percent of the paying audience would recommend the movie to friends and family, with 88% of those same people giving the 7th Star Wars movie a thumbs up.

With a strong female lead in Jyn Erso, more women did turn up for Rogue One than The Force Awakens, with the audience being 38% to 29% ladies. The men made up 94% to 79% of the paying audience last night. Though Rogue One is much darker than any of the previous Star Wars movies, 90% of boys under 12 say they would definitely recommend it to their friends, while 84% of girls in that bracket are going to spread the gospel. 92% of their parents will tell other parents to check it out.

Deadline is the first to update with these numbers. Being the second best Thursday night opener for December is not a bad feat, especially when the movie only sits behind The Force Awakens, perhaps the most anticipated movie of all time. Rogue One is one of only 7 movies to ever gross this much on a Thursday preview night. 2014's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies took in $11.2M during its 7 PM Tuesday night previews at 3,100 theaters; beating the $8.8M Thursday night for the trilogy's second installment, 2013 installment The Desolation of Smaug.

It's believed that Rogue One will rack up a healthy $60 to $65M for opening day Friday, and a weekend total that is well north of $140M, hitting its early estimates almost dead on. Over at Fandango, the movie currently sits with the number 2 best advanced ticket numbers of all time. The movie should end the weekend with 90% of the ticket sales over this three day stretch heading into the holidays. It should help that 62% of all ticket buyers say they'll return at some point over the weekend for a second screening. That should help boost the end of weekend total, but it's unclear just how high Rogue One can reach. Still, when all the dust clears, Rogue One will not be able to stand as tall as The Force Awakens. But there's no way it could reach so high.

B. Alan Orange at Movieweb
B. Alan Orange