Both Lucasfilm and Star Wars fans are curious to see how the experiment that is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story pans out. As the first of the planned Star Wars "standalone films," Rogue One is eschewing Star Wars traditions like the opening text crawl and the sort of high adventure of the Skywalker Saga "Episodes" in order to tell a darker war story about the Rebellion's mission to steal the Death Star plans.
Rogue One tickets recently went on presale, and not it's become clear that the increased hype surrounding the film is paying off dividends: Rogue One's ticket presales have so strong that they shut down Fandango.
Tickets went on sale at 12:01am EST today, November 28, and the response was so overwhelming that Fandango had to create a wait room for users to essentially "wait in line" to purchase their tickets:
Fandango still down, but @atomtickets was a breeze.— Stephen M. Colbert (@smcolbert) November 28, 2016
As of right now, Rogue One is on track to be the second biggest December movie opening of all time, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Estimates for the opening weekend box office keep going up, with the current figure ranging from $140 - 150 million. That would indicate that despite the experimental format of Rogue One, the Star Wars brand is strong enough at the moment to stand at the top of both the Cineplex, and the pop-culture zeitgeist.
All that remains to be seen now is to see how well director Gareth Edwards, his cast and crew have done in crafting a standalone Star Wars story. If they score a big critical and financial victory, the possibilities for Star Wars movies on the big screen (and maybe other projects like a TV series) will increase exponentially.
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits US theaters December 16, 2016. Directed by Gareth Edwards, it's the first of the new standalone features from Lucasfilm and Disney, which take place outside the core "Skywalker Saga" of films noted by an Episode number. Rogue One tells the story of the small band of rebels that were tasked with stealing the plans to the first Death Star. The story spins directly off the opening crawl from the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. In that crawl, it read: "Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet." Tickets are on sale now.