The latest estimates for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story directly from Disney are extremely positive, with a $135 million to $140 million range released by the powerhouse. That five million fluctuation is a smaller one than any of the projections released before now, and comes after a Thursday night final of $29 million, which factors into an opening day that should come in just about $69 million.
All three of those numbers are second place wins for December releases by a huge margin - in both directions. Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted last year with a record-shattering preview night, opening Friday, and weekend that won not just December but all-time in all of those categories. It would go on to set over 30 box office records during its run, after starting with a $119 million opening day and $248 million opening weekend.
However, should Rogue One meet Disney's expectations, the margin of victory over second place, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey should be nearly as wide; that film did $84.6 million in its December opening weekend, debuting the same relative weekend (December 14, 2012).
$140 million would net Rogue One number 17 on the all-time launch list, and if it could somehow pop over $141m it could go up a spot or two.
Either way, after Disney's $4 billion purchase of Lucasfilm from George Lucas four years ago, they will be very pleased with their second consecutive December release establishing it as a month for big budget blockbusters unlike anything the final month of the year has typically seen. Disney has made $2.5 billion in just domestic box office so far this year. They've also already set a worldwide box office record, so one last hit will provide a lot of smiles at the house of mouse.
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in US theaters now. 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."