This weekend's The Last Jedi is sure to have a huge opening at the box office, with the film facing little competition and the sequel being one of the most-anticipated releases of the year. The film is in such demand, in fact, that AMC is responding to those demands by adding screenings at 2:00 AM on Friday morning at a "significant" amount of their locations, according to Variety.
The film is currently tracking to have a $425 million opening worldwide, with a domestic opening estimated at being in the $200 million range. By comparison, The Force Awakens opened to $529 million worldwide opening, with $247.9 million coming from the domestic box office.
In recent years, films slated for release on Fridays began to regularly feature midnight screenings, later adding 10:00 PM screenings and, currently, most theaters begin showing Friday new releases on Thursdays at 7:00 PM.
The addition of these 2:00 AM screenings isn't unprecedented, as The Force Awakens also earned these late-night screenings. In some markets, AMC will be showing the movie in 24-hour screenings in hopes of meeting demands, which also ties into their corporate strategy of not closing out their business day with a sold-out showing. The theory being that, were one show to sell out, the next screening, no matter what time, is sure to do well.
Not only is The Last Jedi tracking to do huge numbers purely because it's a Star Wars sequel, but the film debuted with the highest score of the saga on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. In the time since the score debuted Tuesday morning, the percentage points have dropped to 94%, which makes it tie with 1980's The Empire Strikes Back. As more reviews pour in, the score is sure to fluctuate more.
Our own review of the film claims it "is what the franchise should be in a post-George Lucas world. Instead of following the expectations of fans who grew up with the saga, The Last Jedi forges new ground with head-spinning plot twists and endearing characters."
The praise isn't unanimous, however, with CNN claiming, "The film feels like a significant letdown, one that does far less than its predecessor to stoke enthusiasm for the next leg in the trilogy."
Fans can see the film when it hits theaters Thursday night.