The Disney era of Star Wars kicked off with a big bang last December when Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out. It will be hard to imagine any movie ever capturing that much hype again, but Star Wars: Rogue One is going to give it a good try. As of right now, the movie is tracking for a monstrous opening weekend of around $130 million domestically.
The Hollywood Reporter reported the $130 million figure for Disney's very first Star Wars spinoff movie, which would be a massive success for the studio. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has very high expectations placed on it, both in terms of quality and box office, just by virtue of the fact that it is a Star Wars movie. If it does cross $130 million on its opening weekend, that would be one of the biggest of 2016. It will have a pretty tough time topping Captain America: Civil War ($179 million) or Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice ($166 million).
Disney also had a massive opening with Finding Dory this summer, which brought in $135 million on its opening weekend, but that figure seems well within reach for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at this point. A big opening weekend like that could help propel Disney to a staggering $7 billion total at the worldwide box office this year. If there is one thing we have learned it is not to underestimate the power of Disney, especially when combined with the power of Star Wars. When Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted last year, it shattered the opening weekend record, bringing in $247 million domestically. Many blockbuster movies don't even make that during their theatrical run. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story may not even match the total of The Force Awakens' second weekend, which brought in a staggering $149 million. That said, Disney has been tempering expectations for this movie all along. Here is what Disney chairman Bob Iger said back in September.
"Yes, the marketing material that we've had out has been extremely well received. We've not ever felt [Rogue One] would do the level that Force Awakens did, but we've been very, very encouraged that the level of interest in this is as high as it was for Force Awakens."
One thing that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will have going for it that Star Wars: The Force Awakens didn't is the presence of Darth Vader, arguably the greatest movie villain of all time. Because of the placement of the movie within the Star Wars timeline, director Gareth Edwards was able to make use of the famed Sith Lord. Not only that, but James Earl Jones returned to once again provide the voice of Darth Vader. With the villain being an increasingly prominent focus of the marketing material, that may help propel the movie beyond these early estimates.
Presale tickets for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story are already on sale in the U.K and are expected to go on sale in the U.S. very soon. Once the presale numbers start coming in, we will have a better idea of just how high this movie can fly on opening weekend. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set for release on December 16.