Going by pre-sales of tickets for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story alone, it looks like it will be a major success. In the first 24 hours of sales, Rogue One became the top seller in a first day of any film in 2016 on both MovieTickets.com and Fandango, the two largest online suppliers of cinema tickets in the US. That followed a loose report of "hundreds of thousands" of tickets sold in the first few minutes they were available late Sunday night/early Monday morning.
That means Rogue One has passed up Suicide Squad, Deadpool, Doctor Strange, and Finding Dory, amongst the other box office hits in 2016. 90% of ticket sales on MovieTickets.com on Monday were for Rogue One.
The movie is doing well in large-format screens as well, with IMAX, while not yet reporting exact figures, noting that it was the second-highest day of presales all time for their supersized screens. Rogue One comes in second to big sister Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which had the benefit of three decades of anticipation for that particular sequel. Regal's 4DX theaters in LA and in Union Square, NYC are both sold out for opening night, and approaching sellouts for Friday's showings as well.
While it's not expected to do the mammoth business of The Force Awakens, a very strong $130 million first industry tracking figure would put it over current December second place by almost fifty million dollars. All eyes are on the film to see if it's a success, as the very future of the Star Wars franchise - whether it starts producing more standalone films or sticks to the backbone of the Skywalker Saga films - depends on it.
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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 Onetells 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."