'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' Tracking For $130 Million Opening Weekend

In many ways, Rogue One is different from all the other Star Wars movies. It's the first spinoff, centered on a bunch of characters we've never heard of before and may never hear about again. It's the first without an opening crawl and the first without a John Williams score. It's described as a "darker" affair, more akin to a war drama than a lively space adventure.

But one way Rogue One is like every other Star Wars movie before it? It's expected to make tons and tons of money. Early Rogue One box office tracking suggests it'll open to about $130 million domestically, which would make it the second-highest December debut of all time — behind The Force Awakens, of course. 

The Hollywood Reporter looked at numbers from a number of different tracking services, with estimates running from the high $120 million range to the near $150 million range. In all, it looks like we can expect Rogue One to rake in about $130-140 million in its first weekend after hitting theaters December 16. Obviously, like all box office tracking, these numbers are just estimates, so take 'em with a grain of salt.

December isn't really known for juggernaut opening weekends, but there are some exceptions. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey set a record in 2012 with $84 million, and Avatar premiered to $77 million in 2009. But The Force Awakens blew all those out of the water last year with an absolutely astounding $247 million domestic debut. Not even Rogue One's projected $130+ million premiere comes close to that.

But then again, no one ever expected Rogue One to top The Force Awakens on that front, not even Disney CEO Bob Iger. "We've not ever felt it would do the level that Force Awakens did, but we've been very, very encouraged that the level of interest in this is as high as it was for Force Awakens," he told investors earlier this fall. Whereas The Force Awakens was the first new Star Wars movie in ten years, and picked up with the three beloved heroes of the original trilogy, Rogue One is the first new Star Wars movie in just twelve months, and has promised to set itself apart by not focusing on the Skywalker family.

While Rogue One is the first-ever Star Wars spinoff, it's not the last. A $130 million opening weekend is a strong start for the A Star Wars Story series, which will explore characters and stories that fall outside the Skywalker Saga at the center of the "Episode" films. It's also an excellent finish to 2016 for Disney, which has had already an absolutely fantastic year between Finding DoryCaptain America: Civil WarThe Jungle BookZootopia, and Doctor Strange.