"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" dominated the box office over the weekend, surpassing Disney's lofty prediction for the newest "Star Wars" prequel and taking in $155 million in North America.
Disney had counted on "Rogue One," starring Felicity Jones, to bring in from $120 million to $150 million during its North American debut, CNN Money reported. Equally impressive was "Rogue One's" $290.5 million haul worldwide without the China movie market weighing in, making it the top feature film globally, the network noted.
The showing was the second-best December opening ever, second only to "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," which opened to $248 million in the domestic market last year, eventually bringing in $937 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.
"This was a much-anticipated weekend," Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore, told Bloomberg. "With its brands including Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, Disney is creating movies of quality, and the figures show that fans clearly see that."
The prequel takes place right before the storyline of the 1977 "Star Wars: A New Hope" begins, telling the story of how the Rebel Alliance stole the secret plans for the Death Star in the first place, CNN Money noted.
"It's doing exactly what it needs to do, what we hoped it would do, and is a great signal for what the stand-alone films might be capable of from a story telling and commercial point going forward," Dave Hollis, executive vice president of distribution at Disney, told Bloomberg.
Hollis told the Wall Street Journal that the bigger goal for "Rogue One" is to bring new fans into the installments beyond the ones who are currently following the saga.
"You can create a way in for the uninitiated," Hollis told the Journal, which added that Disney will be looking at exit polls to see if "Rogue One" attracted any newbies.
"Rogue One" is expected to be received well in China starting Jan. 6 with the casting of Hong Kong star Donnie Yen as one of the movie's stars as a blind rebel fighter, the Journal said.
Bloomberg wrote that "Rogue One's" success appears to bode well for the upcoming "Star Wars: Episode VIII" expected in December 2017 and the young Hans Solo movie in May 2018.
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