The latest entry in the STAR WARS saga is finally here and the fans were certainly ready for it. After an incredible $45 million gross from preview screenings on Thursday, the film went on to pull in $220 million, which places it second to only STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS as the highest opening weekend in history.
Critics and Cinemascore ranked the movie highly, though there is a surprising disparity between critical and moviegoer response on the Rotten Tomatoes site, with 93% of critics liking the picture, but only 56% of audiences agreeing. This is very unusual for a megabuck blockbuster. Subsequent reports suggest that this may be the work of bots and an individual who has an axe to grind with Disney. The picture also rolled out internationally in most major markets (China being the notable exception), adding an additional $230 million to that total.
Believe it or not, there were other movies debuting this weekend, too. Fox’s animated feature FERDINAND presumably served as counter programming for families unable to get into sold out screenings of STAR WARS. The film was not particularly liked by critics, though audiences were more receptive, giving FERDINAND an “A” Cinemascore. We should say, the audiences that turned up liked it because the scheduling was not successful: the movie’s $13.3 million opening is, by far, the lowest for any recent Fox animated movie. Once people have seen THE LAST JEDI, numbers might improve, but it definitely seems like a swing and a miss, and draws into question the logic of opening anything other than art house fare against STAR WARS. The film’s overseas bow was similarly lackluster, though luckily for Fox, it only represented a small portion of screens. The picture will expand into an additional 44 markets next weekend.
Data courtesy of Box Office Mojo.