Box Office: ‘Rogue One’ scores massive $155 million debut as Star Wars fans flock to theaters

People wearing costumes wait for the first showing of 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California U.S., December 13, 2016. - REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

People wearing costumes wait for the first showing of ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ in the forecourt of the TCL Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California U.S., December 13, 2016. – REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

LOS ANGELES:- “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” sold out multiplexes around the country and brought fanboys and fangirls out in force over the weekend. The “Star Wars” prequel scored the second largest December opening in history, the second largest launch of the year, and one of the top debuts in history, opening to a massive $155 million.

Globally, the film has earned $290.5 million, after touching down in nearly every major foreign market save for China and South Korea.

Disney, which shelled out $4 billion to buy “Star Wars” creator LucasFilm in 2012, had been trying to downplay expectations for “Rogue One.” Executives noted that the film is the first “Star Wars” movie to exist outside of the main Skywalker clan storyline. It’s also a darker, war-themed tale; one that has an unusually high body count for a popcorn flick.

But the “Star Wars” pedigree proved irresistible to audiences, and the film seems positioned to play well through the holidays. Disney is planning to do more “Rogue One”-style spinoffs. The company is already working on a film about the early years of Han Solo that will star Alden Ehrenreich.

Disney’s “Moana” snagged second place, picking up $11.7 million and pushing its stateside gross to $161.9 million. Paramount’s “Office Christmas Party” nabbed third, earning $8.4 million and bringing the raunchy comedy’s total to $31.5 million after two weeks of release.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” rounded out the top five, picking up $5 million to push the Harry Potter spinoff’s domestic total to $207.7 million.

“Rogue One” galvanized the box office, but overall ticket sales still fell sharply. That’s because of tough comparisons. Last year, this period hosted “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which shattered records when it opened to $248 million.

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