We’ve been saying for close to a year now that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story would be an important endeavor for Disney. They could continue to profit from a Star Wars saga film every couple years, but when all said and done, they could only take it to the next level if they found ways to expand their already-expansive universe. These aptly-named “A Star Wars Story” films have the potential to open the floodgates to a whole new world of cash monies in the form of ticket sales, new toys, and new canon to explore.
Rogue One is only a tentative step outside the existing film canon, but given its general lack of attachment to the main saga in terms of its characters (with the exception of Vader), it still is something of a risk. I often complain about Lucasfilm’s inability to opt in for a completely new story (their second spinoff film is set to be a Han Solo vehicle -- which is even closer to the existing canon), but realistically speaking, staying close to the familiar isn’t a bad idea. Give it a few more films, and in a decade, we’ll be far away from that original material before we know it. For now, it's a matter of keeping things safe while still inching for the sidelines where more money lies.
This is, of course, assuming that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story does well. So that brings us to the big question: how is it tracking? The folks over at THR have thrown their predictions out into the aether, and the magical number they’ve come up with is $130 million domestically in its opening weekend. Even more promising is the fact that some of the tracking services they used even show it hitting around $150 million. This would put it squarely in the number two slot of highest grossing openings in December of all time — behind last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, of course.
The outlet is quick to point out how much of an anomaly this is. In the past, December hasn’t been a month known for big openings. In fact, before The Force Awakens obliterated all expectations with its $248 million opening, the highest opener was Avatar, which had a relatively modest $85 million opening.
Given that Lucasfilm has successfully relaunched the Star Wars franchise, one can hope that this has rekindled the desire for Star Wars in the mainstream. The only hurdle they really have to jump is making sure that these casual moviegoers understand that this film won’t be a continuation of the saga. Should enough audiences head to the theaters anticipating the return of Rey and Luke Skywalker, this could result in a cascade of negative word of mouth that could backfire.
However, if Rogue One ends up anywhere near these tracking numbers, I think we’d be able to safely call Rogue One: A Star Wars Story another success for Disney in an already-successful year.
How much do you think Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will make in its opening weekend? Let us know in the comments down below!
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