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Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Rockets To Year’s Top Domestic Opening, Disney Says

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the eighth episode in the widely popular intergalactic series, ascended to first place among American and Canadian movie-goers in its debut weekend.

From Friday through Sunday, it brought in an estimated $220 million domestically, making it the No. 1 debut of the year, according to Disney. Its weekend haul also earns it the title of the second biggest domestic debut of all time, behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, its predecessor released in 2015.

Internationally, the movie brought in an estimated $230 million, the fifth largest debut of all time. But those numbers don't include China, where the movie opens Jan. 5. China is the world's second biggest film market behind North America.

The Last Jedi, written and directed by Rian Johnson, brings back familiar faces like Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker alongside new additions like Laura Dern's Vice Admiral Holdo.

And Carrie Fisher, whose double bun role of Princess Leia at age 19 in 1977's first episode came to help define her career, gave her final performance in The Last Jedi before she died last December.

Disney bought Lucasfilm, the studio behind Star Wars, in 2012 for a reported $4 billion in cash and stock.

"The weekend that we're in is a byproduct of the foresight and vision from our CEO Bob Iger to bring Lucasfilm into the fold," Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis told The Associated Press. "So as we think about the possibility of other things being added, you can't help but be excited about the possibilities."

This weekend's strong numbers gave Disney a boost just three days after it announced a $52.4 billion deal to acquire much of 21st Century Fox.

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