‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Eyes Big $150 Million Debut in Early Forecasts

Lucasfilm prequel should easily be third-highest opening of the year

Lucasfilm prequel “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is positioned to open to $150 million, according to an average of multiple estimates obtained by TheWrap.

The second “Star Wars” movie to come out since Disney acquired Lucasfilm stars Felicity Jones as rebellion leader Jyn Erso and opens on Dec. 16 in the U.S. and Canada.

Early tracking has the film making more than half of the record-breaking $248 million that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” debuted to at the same time last year.

Don’t let that fraction fool you: The figures on “Rogue One” put it among the top 20 highest movie openings of all time. A number of $150 million would rank it 14th, just behind “The Hunger Games” and “Spider-Man 3,” and ahead of “Furious 7.”

If it meets the high end of expectations, the movie could come in higher than the ninth-biggest opening of all time, “The Dark Knight Rises,” which debuted to $160.9 million in 2012.

As of now, the movie looks like it will safely land as the third-highest-grossing debut of the year, behind “Captain America: Civil War” ($179.1 million) and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” ($166 million) and ahead of “Finding Dory” ($135 million).

This latest “Star Wars” installment, directed by Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla”), takes place between the prequel and original trilogies as the Empire’s hold on the galaxy continues to strengthen. It depicts Erso’s efforts to drum up support among the disenfranchised to rebel against the evil Galactic Empire as it works on a new super-weapon — the infamous Death Star seen in George Lucas’ first “Star Wars” movie.

Her ragtag rebel militia is sent in to pull off a mission that could be the last chance to defeat the Emperor. Their job: steal the plans to the Death Star. Among Erso’s allies are Rebel intel officer Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Force warrior Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), and Clone War veteran Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker).

Mads Mikkelsen, who is also the villain in Disney-Marvel’s “Doctor Strange,” plays Galen Erso, Jyn’s father.

The film’s final trailer offers the deepest look at the “Star Wars” spinoff yet, and its international trailer provides a longer peek at Darth Vader.