For many fans, the entire year has been leading up to this very weekend, with Disney and LucasFilm's highly-anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi hitting theaters. The movie is shaping up to pass the current records this year for opening weekend ($174.7 million), domestic gross ($504 million) and worldwide gross ($1.26 billion), which are all currently held by another Disney hit, Beauty and the Beast. Last month, The Last Jedi box office projections put the movie at just over $200 million for its opening weekend, and now with the hype even bigger than before, we're putting The Last Jedi at $220.7 million.
While the $220.7 million mark is still more than enough to claim the top box office opening of 2017, it still falls $20.2 million short of the all-time record, $247.9 million set by Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While the full review embargo has yet to break, the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiere reactions have been exceedingly positive, and it should join Star Wars: The Force Awakens (93% on Rotten Tomatoes) and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (85% on Rotten Tomatoes) as critical hits, while claiming the top spot at the box office for the third year in a row. The movie is expected to open in roughy 4,175 theaters this weekend, a slight increase from the 4,134 rollout of The Force Awakens and the 4,157 debut of Rogue One.
If this opening weekend hits these projections, then it also seems unlikely that Star Wars: The Last Jedi will break anther box office record set by The Force Awakens, the all time domestic mark of $936.6 million, which shattered the previous mark of $760.5 million set by James Cameron's Avatar. It couldn't surpass the $2.7 billion global record set by Avatar, or the $2.1 billion by James Cameron's Titanic, finishing its run with $2.06 billion for third best of all time. As for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, to have a shot at contending with the all-time domestic and worldwide records, it would need both a record-breaking debut and some impressive longevity, which may be an issue since its the longest Star Wars movie ever, with the original Last Jedi cut coming in over 3 hours..
Even if it doesn't break any box office records, The Last Jedi will still give a last-minute boost to the sagging box office, which has seen Coco win the last three weekends in a row, with hardly any new competition in theaters, as the competition cleared out to pave the way for this new adventure featuring Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker, who may be getting an Oscar campaign, Daisy Ridley's Rey, John Boyega's Finn and Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron. 20th Century Fox's animated adventure Ferdinand, featuring a voice cast lead by WWE Superstar John Cena, is opening in roughly 3,600 theaters, and we're predicting that it will debut in a far-distant second place with $20.6 million, which isn't all that bad, considering its circumstances.
We're predicting the top 10 will be rounded out by Coco ($9.1 million), Justice League ($5.1 million), Wonder ($4.2 million), The Disaster Artist ($3.4 million), Thor: Ragnarok ($3.1 million), Daddy's Home 2 ($2.8 million), Murder on the Orient Express ($2.4 million) and Lady Bird ($1.9 million). Also arriving in limited release next weekend is Magnolia's Permanent, Vertical Entertainment's Beyond Skyline and Well Go USA's The Thousand Faces Of Dunjia. Next weekend will be the final major weekend of the year, with Sony's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and 20th Century Fox's The Greatest Showman on Earth opening on Wednesday, December 20, Paramount's Downsizing, Warner Bros.' Father Figures and Universal's Pitch Perfect 3 arriving on Friday, December 22 and Sony's All the Money in the World, which replaced Christopher Plummer for Kevin Spacey at the last minute, the only wide release arriving on Christmas Day. Take a look at our top 10 projections for the weekend of December 15, and check back Sunday for the top 10 estimates, courtesy of Box Office Mojo.