Millions of dollars are now rolling into the Disney/Lucasfilm coffers thanks to Thursday previews. And while those midnight showings were impressive for Rogue One, it’s a bit off from other recent high-profile releases, including last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The Star Wars anthology film earned $29 million Thursday night, according to Forbes reporter Scott Mendelson, which beat out previews from both Captain America: Civil War and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice earlier this year. Yet, it was well behind the last Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which earned $43.5 million in its previews, and The Force Awakens, which holds the record at $56 million.
So yes, this Thursday debut figure is half of what the last Star Wars movie pulled in on this pre-weekend slot last year. But before you shout, ‘Can this franchise be saved?’ this film was never intended or expected to replicate last year’s insane debut figures.
Rogue One is still expected to have a big weekend, even if it’s not a Force Awakens. The standalone film puts itself in the time right before 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, exploring exactly how the plans to the Death Star were acquired, allowing Luke Skywalker and crew to blow up the massive space station in the first movie.
Still, Rogue One seems on track for an opening of less than $200 million, but could be as high as $193 million, Mendelson notes.
Civil War did go on to have a $179.1 million opening weekend in May, while Batman v. Superman had a $166 million debut weekend in March.
There’s still a ways to go to see how the weekend shapes up, however. The latest critics tally from Rotten Tomatoes has 85 percent liking Rogue One, with 89 percent of audiences so far saying they liked it.
Rogue One is playing in theaters now.
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