Rogue One Pulls In $29m from Thursday Night Previews; $150m + Domestic Weekend in Sight

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was always going to be a tale of mixed expectations from a box office standpoint depending on your perspective. Is it a follow up to last year’s highest domestic grossing movie of all time or a risky foray in to new territory for a franchise that has not yet tested its ability to work outside it’s own saga theatrically? As it stands now, Rogue One is poised to vault itself to the second biggest December opening weekend of all time.


Variety states that Rogue One has taken in $29m from its Thursday night previews. This makes it the biggest Thursday Night preview of the year, finishing just ahead of  the early summer Super Hero battle duo Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and  Captain America: Civil War. The top December Thursday preview take of all time was, of course, The Force Awakens which pulled in $57m in its previews alone. But pent up demand, returning characters, and the continuation of the saga story clearly made that more of an historic event than the riskier Rogue One.



Disney and Lucasfilm execs should be very happy as expectations continued to climb throughout Friday. According to Deadline, after Thursday night Rogue One was pacing to have an opening at -46% of The Force Awakens. After Friday’s estimates are accounted for (pulling in approximately $71m combined between Thursday night and Friday), that has climbed to -37% for an estimated weekend take of about $152m which will make it the second biggest December opening weekend of all time only behind the aforementioned Episode VII.


There are some concerns that the film could come in a bit short of those estimates. Winter weather in the northeast United States may drive down attendance a bit. Additionally, the darker tone and fewer schools being closed on Monday this year than last could lead to a slower than anticipated Sunday. All that being said, Rogue One has matched The Force Awakens’ A Cinemascore rating, which should lead to good word of mouth.




Meanwhile, outside of the US, Rogue One took in $33m on Wednesday and Thursday and is expected to come in around $150m internationally by the end of the weekend as well. So, all told, by Sunday night Rogue One should be crossing the $300m mark world wide. Suffice to say, unless you had the unreal expectations that this would match The Force Awakens at the box office, that is a stunning success for the first standalone Star Wars film and should ensure we will see Lucasfilm start to plan more of these beyond the upcoming Han Solo film in the near future. The risky move has paid off. The public does want to see Star Wars expand its boundaries, and it has proven that at the box office this weekend.



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37 thoughts on “Rogue One Pulls In $29m from Thursday Night Previews; $150m + Domestic Weekend in Sight

  • December 17, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    “The risky move has paid off.”
    It’s a small thing, but are we saying that putting At-Ats, X-wings, stormtroopers, the Death Star and Darth Vader in a movie tied directly to Star Wars is the new ‘risky’? This was an important business move, but could hardly be described as risky.

    • December 17, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      What you mentioned is not risky at all.

      The thing that is risky is:


      A Disney war movie where every single one of the protagonists is being killed is pretty risky in my opinion. 🙂

      • December 18, 2016 at 6:31 am

        Totally agree, the 8 main characters destiny is so tragic, even the Empire ones.
        They only can do that because the last ending, we could call it “the second ending”, in fact watching it alone without having ANH as a reference… it would lose some very big meaning…

      • December 18, 2016 at 5:34 pm


        Isn’t it weird how they all died by exploding? I don’t think I minded since I liked all the characters in this film.

        • December 18, 2016 at 5:54 pm

          Explosions are an easy way to kill a character, I guess. You get the feeling that they have a big death, but there’s no blood.

    • December 17, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      The concept of moving outside the established norm is risky for a major studio. There was never any doubt a film like his would be popular among fans. Its the cinematic equivalent of what we did as kids playing with our action figures. The risk is in whether general audiences have interest in seeing different types of Star Wars films. Movies that don’t involve Skywalkers. Where there are no Jedi. Where there is a darker and more somber tone. Where heroes commit murder and die.

      Disney could have demanded they keep doing “more of the same” to ensure their investment. But instead they allowed Lucasfilm to break the mold and try something new. A risky move to broaden the franchise and increase profitability for the long term. Yes, they went with an idea with intrinsic appeal in an action/war movie. But the success of the “Star Wars Story” model was anything but assured. Having proven the appeal to general audiences outside the main saga, they will now be freed to potentially take more and greater risks in the stories they can tell within the Star Wars universe.

      • December 17, 2016 at 10:17 pm

        Nice point! The PG-13 rating (and yeah, the comment about everyone of the major characters getting the 86) means you’re also locking a lot of the usual kid* audience out, which is anything but the established Disney M.O.

        *I’m sorta bummed – I went yesterday, and having seen it, there’s NO way I can take my 4 & 7 y/o girls to see this one…gotta wait for VIII & enjoy the rest of Rebels season 3!

        • December 17, 2016 at 10:21 pm

          Same here. While I loved that they went for the throat at the end, I was simultaneously thinking about how it will be a few years til my 6 year old can watch it. He’d love the rest, but that K2 scene will leave him in tears for hours at this point. It’s such a new feeling to have a SW movie I’m not quite comfortable showing to a young kid. That is a brave step for Lucasfilm.

          • December 18, 2016 at 3:21 am

            Ha! Never even thought about that K2 scene, but you’re right – my 4 y/o would be crushed & my 7 y/o would likely say something like, “Wait…Jyn doesn’t LIVE?!?!”

            I saw ‘Fantastic Beasts’ last month as well & was encouraged by the PG rating; got in & the opening bit where they introduce Newt, the escaped creatures & visit his TARDIS…er, ‘magic suitcase’ is wonderful / very much in the vein of the earlier Potter flicks, but man, that thing takes a pretty dark turn in the final act – another one the kiddos’ll have to wait on

          • December 18, 2016 at 5:38 pm

            I liked Beasts too. This has been a good year for spinoffs with that, Rogue, and Deadpool.

          • December 19, 2016 at 4:17 am

            As a kid, I loved films without happy endings. They punch you in the gut, but they stick with you. They inspire you.

          • December 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm

            It reminded me of what they did to J-5 in Short Circuit 2. I felt more bad over what happened to him than I did for Han Solo in TFA.

          • December 19, 2016 at 4:16 am

            But seeing Anakin burned to a crisp with flesh dripping off his scalp was okay? ^^

        • December 17, 2016 at 11:05 pm

          “Disney” lol.

          They’ve been making PG-13 movies for YEARS. It’s LFL, not Disney.

      • December 18, 2016 at 1:59 am

        Well said indeed! And within the context of the movie itself, I love how the filmmakers showed us the Star Wars Universe in all its complexity and its suffering under the Empire across all those worlds. It seems like so many stories could be opened up from even just within this film itself! Such as, a film in the future about Jedha, perhaps?

        • December 18, 2016 at 5:37 pm

          First SW film where Stormies can actually hit a moving target.

      • December 18, 2016 at 5:37 pm

        It really was a film made for the fans though, I wonder what direction Han will go in. Like this or more general audience like TFA?

    • December 17, 2016 at 11:04 pm

      The very idea of having a Star Wars movie, a year after TFA, set before ANH, with none of the major characters and minimal Vader, was highly risky.

      • December 19, 2016 at 4:15 am

        They can pull off 3 Marvel movies a year. They can pull off 1 Star Wars a year. I’m glad we got this one after the complete disaster that was EP7

  • December 18, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Thusly movie makes me mourn even stronger what Ep. 7 should have been. This movie killed it, and it was handicapped by the story already being mostly known.

    JJ and company had basically an open book, and they decided to tell the same story that was already told.

    It would be a disappointment if people don’t see this movie, because they did a great job. Risk better step

    • December 18, 2016 at 5:33 pm

      It did the impossible and made me optimistic for the Han film if they can nail the OT feel like Rogue One did. Hope Gareth comes back someday.

    • December 18, 2016 at 7:47 pm

      Ep. 7 was a phenomenal movie. All three trilogies purposely mirror one another. There are going to be similarities among them, just as The Phantom Menace mirrored A New Hope. But a story about a deserting stormtrooper teaming up with a girl abandoned by herself on a junkyard planet locating a missing Jedi Knight on an island before his dark side-influenced nephew tracked him down and killed him is not a story that has been told before in Star Wars.

    • December 19, 2016 at 4:14 am

      EP7 was complete garbage. Not even a fanedit can fix that turd. But this one was great.

      • December 19, 2016 at 4:21 am

        lol, ok

  • December 18, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    This film gave me a lot of the feels that I never really got in TFA outside the duel scene at the very end and where Luke appears. It also has my favorite space battle since Jedi as well.

  • December 18, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Quite a drop off from The Force Awakens numbers. Not to say that anyone was expecting anything near that, but still…

    • December 19, 2016 at 2:14 am

      Didn’t have a lot of the same draws TFA had.

    • December 19, 2016 at 11:58 pm

      Yeah, it only had the SECOND biggest December debut for any movie in all of film history.

      What a drop-off.

      • December 20, 2016 at 2:32 am

        TFA: $247 million
        R1: $155 million
        Drop-off of $92 million
        That isn’t a significant number to you?

        • December 20, 2016 at 4:19 am

          From a huge film that was anticipated for three decades to random spin-off? No. $155 million is an objectively huge opening.

          • December 20, 2016 at 6:48 am

            Three decades? Try 3 years. It was announced in late 2012. Lucas firmly denied that 7 would ever be made after the prequels wrapped. R1 was announced in 2014 and had 2 years to build its own anticipation. And it made less than Captain America’s opening weekend, itself a spin-off of the Avengers.

          • December 20, 2016 at 6:27 pm

            You know what I mean. Fans waited for the theoretical Episode VI sequel for 30 years. They waited and waited to know what really happened to Han, Luke, and Leia.

  • December 18, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    They are reporting a $155 mil domestic $290 mil ww haul for RO’s first weekend. Not bad.

  • December 19, 2016 at 4:14 am

    A little late for a review but here goes: Rogue One absolutely hits the mark in terms of tone, production design, grit, humor and thrills. It’s an almost perfect movie in every regard, except for….

    -Blatant fan service (Cantina guys, AT-ACT, Vader Cameo at the end)
    -Underwhelming music
    -A predictable story with an admittedly fantastic ending
    bust most importantly: no chemistry between the characters. I’ve thought long and hard on why this is. It happened with TFA, too and several other recent blockbusters. And then I realized: everyone speaks in their own, completely distinct accent. The main characters have almost nothing in common. Disney, in their quest to go multicultural and diverse, forgot that the chemistry between the leads was what made the OT work so well. Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Leia all spoke with heavy American accents. Whereas now you have a lead actress speaking an extreme form of British (wherein each instance of the letter A is replaced by O) and everyone else speaks with a non-native speaker accent. Diego Luna spoke with a French accent, Donnie Yen with a Chinese Accent, Riz Ahmed with a middle eastern accent, Forest Whitaker with a mix of African and Kermit the Frog… the only other hero who spoke British was the Robot and lo and behold, he has the best chemistry with the lead actress.

    Interestingly, when you watch a dubbed version, where the accents are severely toned down, the chemistry of the leads improves.

    This is something studios should realize for future movies. I know they are all about diversity these days, but it’s to the detriment of their characters.

    • December 19, 2016 at 4:19 am

      The AT-ACT is fan service? Ok…

      Accents killed chemistry? The characters were somewhat thin.

      • December 19, 2016 at 5:28 am

        The heroes were thin indeed. K2 and Galen Erso were the only ones I really enjoyed. On the other hand, the banter between the imperials was just awesome. Ben Mendelsohn did an incredible job showcasing Krennic’s ruthlessness as well as his vulnerability, seeing as how he is under constant threat to deliver. The moments between him and Tarkin were highlights of the film. Vader’s first appearance was also quite impressive, especially considering how much of a pop culture joke character he’s become (from Lord helmet to Robot Chicken to Chad Vader). Gareth Edwards deserves a big pat on the back for handling the villains perfectly.
        Seeing how well this was done, I can’t help but ask what they were thinking with those crap villains in EP7. This little Star Wars story showed how it’s done. Let’s hope they take note for EP8.

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