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A Star Wars Story Takes $290m On First Weekend

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has taken $290.5m (£232.8m) globally on its opening weekend.

North America accounted for about half of the Star Wars spin-off’s total, making $155m, according to box office analyst Exhibitor Relations.

That gave the film the second-best December opening weekend in both the UK and the US and Canada on record.

The record is held by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which took $248m in North America on its debut last year.

Rogue One has taken £16.8m at the UK box office and is yet to open in China and South Korea.

Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst with comScore, said the film lived up to expectations.

Based on the success of Rogue One and The Force Awakens, he said: “The next film in the Star Wars saga has the potential to claim the title as the biggest movie of all time.”

That title is still held by Avatar, which made almost $2.8bn in 2009, followed by Titanic on close to $2.2bn in 1997. The Force Awakens has made about $2.07bn.

Produced by Lucasfilm and directed by Briton Gareth Edwards, Rogue One stars Felicity Jones and Riz Ahmed, alongside Forest Whitaker and Diego Luna.

The first standalone chapter in the Star Wars saga is set shortly before the events of the original 1977 film and tells the story of Rebel Alliance fighters trying to steal plans for the Empire’s feared Death Star.

The film has been described as a darker tale with an unusually high body count for a multiplex flick rated 12A in the UK and PG-13 in the US.

It has been well received by critics, with the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw awarding it four stars.

LucasFilm was bought by Disney four years ago for $4bn and the studio plans more Rogue One-style spinoffs. It is already working on a film about the early years of Han Solo that will star Alden Ehrenreich.

The next film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, known as Episode VIII, is scheduled to be released in December 2017. It is directed by Rian Johnson, best known for Looper in 2012.

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