LOS ANGELES: The latest episode in Disney´s colossally popular Star Wars series has passed the $1 billion mark in worldwide revenues after just three weeks, a Disney spokesperson confirmed Sunday.
That helped provide a positive spin to what has been a year of ups and downs for Hollywood, while giving a clear boost to Disney, now the only studio to surpass $5 billion globally for the last three years, according to Deadline.com.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is expected to surpass another Disney film, Beauty and the Beast, as the year´s top-earning film. Beauty took in more than $500 million domestically and exceeded $1.3 billion worldwide.
Jedi is expected to earn about $65.6 million over this four-day holiday weekend in North America, for a $530.3 million total since its opening three weeks ago, said industry watcher Exhibitor Relations.
The space saga stars Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver and two members of the series´ original cast, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and the late Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia.
Its domestic earnings come on top of an international take estimated at $523 million for this eighth episode in the series. Jedi is now the year´s number one film in European theatres.
If the estimates are borne out, Jedi will be the eighth highest-grossing domestic movie of all time, according to Variety.com.
It opens in the enormous Chinese market on Friday.
A struggle to fill seats
Hollywood has had its struggles this year, however.
Based on early estimates, North American revenue is expected to reach about $11.1 billion, down more than two percent from the year before, industry analysts comScore reported.
With more people curling up to watch movies at home, theater attendance appears set to hit a 22-year low.
But in the meantime, holiday viewership provided a boost not just for Jedi but for Sony´s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. That family adventure, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is expected to surge on Monday after trailing Jedi through most of the four-day weekend to earn a total $67 million in North America.
In third was Pitch Perfect 3 from Universal, at $22.7 million for the four days. The cast, led by Anna Kendrick, follows the continuing adventures of glee singers the Bellas.
Next was The Greatest Showman, from Fox, at $20.3 million. The musical features Hugh Jackman as legendary circus impresario P.T. Barnum.
In fifth spot was the animated family feature Ferdinand, the story of a peaceful Spanish bull forced to take on the world´s most famous bullfighter. The Fox film netted $15.2 million.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
Coco ($8.8 million)
Darkest Hour ($7.4 million)
All the Money in the World ($7.2 million)
Downsizing ($6.0 million)
Father Figures ($5.5 million)