In its third Friday in theaters, “The Last Jedi” added $19 million to bring its total to $483 million domestically. At this pace, it will pass the $504 million made by “Beauty and the Beast” to become 2017’s highest grossing domestic release by New Year’s Eve on Sunday, with industry estimates expecting a third weekend total of $54 million to give it a $537 million total by year’s end.
Five years after Disney bought Lucasfilm for a whopping $4 billion, box office grosses for “The Force Awakens” ($2.06 billion), “Rogue One” ($1.05 billion) and “The Last Jedi” have matched that amount, not to mention the billions more in merchandising, TV deals, and other ancillary revenue that have come from this new era in the forty-year-old franchise. To this point, “The Last Jedi” is 23 percent ahead of the pace set by “Rogue One” after two weeks in theaters, and 30 percent behind that of “The Force Awakens.”
Neither box office analysts nor Disney expected “Last Jedi” to match the gross for “The Force Awakens,” which had the advantage of being the first “Star Wars” movie in a decade to be released. The drop-off for “Star Wars” sequels was also the case for “The Empire Strikes Back,” which made $98 million less than the first “Star Wars” did during its initial run in 1980. Analysts who spoke to TheWrap said a reasonable goal for “The Last Jedi” would be $1.4 billion, a worldwide total 30 percent less than “Force Awakens” that would put it in the top 10 highest grossing films of all-time and on the same level as “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”