Last Jedi set for $215m opening in US
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is set to take over the box office in its opening weekend, raking in around $US215 million ($A301 million) from 4232 North American sites.
Including $US45 million from Thursday previews - the second-largest Thursday night preview total ever, below Star Wars: The Force Awakens 2015 total of $US57 million - the film brought in $US104 million from Friday, and is looking to add over $US100 million between Saturday and Sunday.
The total gross will make The Last Jedi the fourth film in domestic box office history to make over $US200 million in its first weekend, joining The Force Awakens with $US248.8 million, Jurassic World with $US208.8 million, and 2012's The Avengers with $US207.4 million.Controversies rock Hollywood in 2017
The Last Jedi will finish significantly above Star Wars spinoff Rogue One, which opened with $US155.1 million on the same weekend a year ago.
Directed by Rian Johnson, The Last Jedi picks up where Star Wars: The Force Awakens left off. It stars returning cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Andy Serkis. New stars include Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro.
The only other wide release during the Star Wars blitz is Fox's animated family comedy Ferdinand - opening at 3,621 locations in North America with an expected $US12 million debut. The movie is based on the children's book The Story of Ferdinand and directed by Carlos Saldanha, with John Cena voicing the Spanish bull who doesn't want to fight.Jazz and pop singer Keely Smith dies at 89
Disney-Pixar's Coco should top the rest of the pack this weekend with about $US9 million in its fourth frame, enough to bring the animated musical to almost $US150 million.