'Star Wars' fans, box office analysts brace themselves for 'The Last Jedi'

"Star Wars" fans in galaxies both near and far, far away are less than a week away from watching "The Last Jedi."...

Posted: Dec. 9, 2017 8:44 PM
Updated: Dec. 9, 2017 8:44 PM

"Star Wars" fans in galaxies both near and far, far away are less than a week away from watching "The Last Jedi."

The next installment of the "Star Wars" saga opens in U.S. theaters next Thursday night and with it comes some of the biggest buzz for a film since, well, the last "Star Wars" movie, 2015's "The Force Awakens."

Analysts have a hard time predicting opening weekend numbers when it comes to movies with a lot of hype. "The Last Jedi" could make anywhere from $190 million to $215 million, and falling anywhere in that range would give it one of the biggest openings of all time.

"Movies with such a high level of interest, demand, and secrecy are more sensitive to the flow of buzz, especially a film with a fan base as vast and opinionated as that of 'Star Wars,'" said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com.

"The Last Jedi" stars Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Daisy Ridley as Rey. Carrie Fisher, who reprises her role as Princess Leia, made her last film appearance in "The Last Jedi" before her untimely death last December.

"The Force Awakens" had the biggest opening in film history, bringing in $248 million in its first weekend. It would go on to make more than $2 billion worldwide. Last year, the "Star Wars" spinoff, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," raked in more than $1 billion globally.

Related: 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' trailer debuts on 'Monday Night Football'

It appears unlikely that "The Last Jedi" will reach the same heights as "The Force Awakens," but since no one has really seen the film, it's hard to judge just how much of a force it will be at the box office.

That will change Saturday night when the first initial reactions hit social media following the film's world premiere in Los Angeles.

However, according to Robbins, it's unlikely the first response to the film is going to have a huge impact on its opening weekend projections.

"Unless the reaction is surprisingly poor, it shouldn't impact numbers by any major extent," he said. "The first two films under Kathleen Kennedy's Lucasfilm, and the confidence Disney has in director Rian Johnson to give him a standalone trilogy, have produced an enormous amount of audience goodwill that's already built into current projections."

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