Weekend Estimates: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Soars to Second Biggest Day Ever at $104.8M, Pacing for $205M+ Domestic Launch

Saturday Update: Star Wars: The Last Jedi has officially claimed the second biggest opening day in history. With $104.787 million banked between Thursday evening’s first shows and the end of Friday night, the massively anticipated sequel is on pace for a domestic opening weekend north of $200 million, which would make Star Wars the first ever franchise to cross that benchmark more than once.

Last Jedi‘s first day of sales came in 47 percent ahead of last year’s Rogue One ($71.1 million), while as expected falling shy of The Force Awakens‘ all-time record ($119.12 million) by 12 percent.

Breaking things down a bit more, Last Jedi achieved a 2.33x multiple from Thursday night’s $45 million launch to earn $59.79 million on Friday proper. By comparison, that was less front-loaded than Force Awakens (2.09x, earning $62.1 million on Friday proper) and closer to the realm of Rogue One (2.45x, $42.1 million). The shift in pattern from Awakens likely stems from the fact that the 2015 film was simply in another galaxy due to decades of pent-up demand, although Last Jedi‘s longer run time could be a minor factor as well.

Entering the weekend, our forecasts had called for an opening around $210 million and that remains the general expectation. Initial word of mouth may not be as universally strong as Awakens at this stage due to a sect of fans that have created an online uproar over certain plot developments in the film — something that has caused the film’s Flixster audience score to sit at a shockingly low 56 percent his morning. Still, Disney reports the film earned a strong “A” CinemaScore, while IMDb users rate the pic at 8.0 currently — virtually identical to Awakens‘ 8.1 score. The significant difference between these scores and the Flixster outlier gives some credence to rumors that the Flixster score has been intentionally manipulated by grassroots fan efforts to send disappointed viewers to the polls in a concentrated effort to lower the film’s score on the popular Rotten Tomatoes site — where the film has an excellent 93 percent score from critics.

Whatever the truth is, word of mouth for this film will be essential to how the weekend and weeks ahead play out. As of this morning, the backlash appears contained and hasn’t negatively weekend projections in a major way, but the first true test will be Saturday and Sunday business. Historically, even disappointed fans have still shown up for repeat viewings in this franchise, but it’s a unique situation that introduces an unexpected variable in projections. As such, The Last Jedi could still land anywhere between $200 million and $229 million — the higher end coming to fruition only if it follows Awakens‘ daily pattern to the letter.

Either way, this is another monumental debut for the Star Wars franchise, Disney and Lucasfilm, and the entire industry.

In Other News…

Ferdinand bowed to $3.6 million yesterday, a modest start but one that could still set the stage for a fairly healthy run through the holidays as Fox plays the long game by counter-programming against Star Wars this weekend. By comparison, yesterday’s take was 13 percent behind the $4.13 million first day of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip when it launched against Force Awakens two years ago. Ferdinand is aiming for a $12.425 million weekend, according to the studio’s official estimates.

Coco added $2.243 million yesterday, bringing it to $143.03 million domestically thus far; Wonder posted another $1.48 million to give it $105.34 million to date; Justice League scored $1.06 million for a current haul of $216.35 million; Thor: Ragnarok earned $780,000 for a $304.2 million total; The Disaster Artist took in $750,000 from 1,010 locations for a new sum of $11.05 million; and, last but not least, The Shape of Water expanded to 158 locations with $490,000 yesterday and now stands at $2.37 million.

A mix of official estimates from studios and our own projected estimates can be found below.

WIDE (1000+)

# TITLE WEEKEND LOCATIONS AVG. TOTAL WKS. DIST.
1 Star Wars: The Last Jedi $210,000,000 4,232 $49,622 $210,000,000 1 Disney
2 Ferdinand $12,425,000 3,621 $3,431 $12,425,000 1 Fox
3 Coco $10,000,000 -46% 3,155 -593 $3,170 $150,785,896 4 Disney
4 Wonder (2017) $5,100,000 -40% 3,047 -472 $1,674 $108,956,738 5 Lionsgate
5 Justice League $4,000,000 -59% 2,702 -806 $1,480 $219,286,347 5 Warner Bros.
6 Daddy’s Home 2 $3,500,000 -41% 2,493 -770 $1,404 $96,279,982 6 Paramount
7 Thor: Ragnarok $3,000,000 -52% 1,895 -1152 $1,583 $306,394,120 7 Disney
8 The Disaster Artist $2,500,000 -61% 1,010 170 $2,475 $12,795,130 3 New Line / A24
9 Murder on the Orient Express (2017) $2,350,000 -54% 1,923 -1166 $1,222 $97,132,742 6 Fox
10 The Star $2,100,000 -43% 1,936 -1040 $1,085 $35,700,220 5 Sony / Columbia

LIMITED (100 — 999)

# TITLE WEEKEND LOCATIONS AVG. TOTAL WKS. DIST.
1 Lady Bird $2,000,000 -42% 947 -610 $2,112 $25,869,389 7 A24
2 The Shape of Water $1,490,000 31% 158 117 $9,430 $3,372,564 3 Fox Searchlight
3 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri $1,440,000 -50% 944 -676 $1,525 $21,188,978 10 Fox Searchlight
4 Roman J. Israel, Esq. $130,000 -85% 238 -1215 $546 $11,718,747 5 Sony Pictures
5 Jigsaw $77,000 -53% 181 -76 $425 $37,983,629 8 Lionsgate

PLATFORM (1 — 99)

# TITLE WEEKEND LOCATIONS AVG. TOTAL WKS. DIST.
1 Darkest Hour $750,000 1% 84 31 $8,929 $2,240,848 4 Focus Features
2 Marshall $16,000 -83% 71 -270 $225 $9,425,613 10 Open Road
3 Last Flag Flying $8,500 -82% 18 -67 $472 $959,213 7 Lionsgate
4 Painted Woman $450 1 $450 $450 6 Amor Media

===

Friday Update: Star Wars: The Last Jedi soared to $45 million domestically on Thursday evening, marking the second best Thursday night launch of all-time. That comes in behind The Force Awakens’ $57 million by just 21 percent, while topping Rogue One‘s $29 million by 55 percent. Of note, IMAX venues generated $5.3 million last night, just a hair behind Awakens‘ $5.37 million record launch in the format two years ago.

If the film behaves in a pattern similar to that of Force Awakens, an opening weekend around $195-200 million appears likely. Initial word of mouth from audiences is a bit more divisive for Last Jedi than it was for the 2015 release, though, so different day-to-day trajectories could play out.

Overseas, The Last Jedi is off to an equally strong start with Disney reporting the sequel has amassed $60.8 million in two days thus far, giving it a $105.8 million global total through Thursday night. The film opened in 14 markets on December 13, followed by another 34 markets on December 14. Disney notes that the same group of territories represent earnings 63 percent ahead of Rogue One and 25 percent behind Force Awakens at the comparable point. The film opens in Japan and Spain today for a day-and-date release across all territories except China, which opens on January 5.

Meanwhile, Ferdinand opened to $350,000 from 5pm shows on Thursday night. With most schools around the country still in session yesterday, that’s a relatively encouraging early performance ahead of the weekend. We’ll have a better idea of how its weekend will play out after Friday estimates roll in Saturday morning.

Check below for a breakdown of The Last Jedi‘s overseas earnings thus far. We’ll continue to update via Twitter and in this post with official reports from the studio as they become available. First weekend estimates will be available following Friday’s official estimate on Saturday morning.

Detailed Overseas Reports:

UK                         $10.2M

Germany              $6.1M

France                  $6.0M

Australia              $5.6M

Brazil                    $2.5M

Sweden                $2.4M

Italy                      $2.3M

Mexico                 $2.1M

Denmark              $1.7M

Russia                   $1.6M

Norway                $1.5M

Other terrs          $18.8M

Total                     $60.8M

Shawn Robbins

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