Rogue One: A Star Wars Story landed in cinemas on Thursday last week and has had fans flocking to cinemas over the four-day weekend. Why? To catch up on all the latest story developments as told by the newest addition to the saga as soon as they possibly can. While there’s clearly a drive to see the latest feverishly anticipated instalment of the most successful film franchise of all time, there’s also a motivation to see it early in order to avoid inevitable spoilers.
The film has taken an estimated £17m at the UK and Irish box office and can boldly claim the biggest opening of 2016 and the second biggest December opening ever. It’s runner-up to last year’s The Force Awakens which bagged an eye-watering £34m in its opening weekend (including previews). Disney is estimating that this big-on-action story of Rebellion vs Empire has captured 75% of UK audiences.
In the US, it’s had similar success, also claiming the second biggest December opening of all time. This was again behind The Force Awakens. Estimated box office takings are $155m. Rogue One has opened at number one in every country where it’s been released in, making $290.5m so far worldwide, according to early reports.
When compared with Friday-Sunday figures, however, it’s actually the fourth biggest opening of 2016 with £13.21m ($16.5m). Screen Daily lists Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (£15.33m/$19.2m), Batman v Superman (£14.62m/$18.3m) and Captain America: Civil War (£14.47m/$18.1m) as taking in more during their Friday-Sunday openings than Rogue One over the same timescale.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is billed as a standalone film which tells the tale of the incidents that lead directly to the events of Episode IV. It recounts how a team of rebels led by Jyn Erso got their hands on the Death Star plans.
Since Disney secured the rights to the Star Wars universe, they’ve announced a series of sequels and spin-offs, including a forthcoming Han Solo origin story. Alden Ehrenreich will play the young Han Solo. He was seen earlier this year in the Coen brothers’ critically acclaimed Hail, Caesar! and the film is due for release in 2018.
The second Disney sequel, the as-yet-untitled Episode VIII, is due out at the end of 2017, with Episode IX set to follow in 2019. On the evidence of Rogue One, Disney looks set to make a killing from Star Wars for many years to come.