Rogue One earnings
Actress Felicity Jones arrives at the world premiere of the film "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" in Hollywood, California, Dec. 10, 2016. REUTERS/MARIO ANZUONI

It appears the Force is strong with “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” The Walt Disney Co. movie picked up an estimated $290.5 million globally over its opening weekend, collecting about $155 million in the U.S. and Canada alone.

The film, a prequel to the original “Star Wars: A New Hope” picked up the second largest earnings ever for a December opening behind the 2015 sequel, “The Force Awakens,” which broke nearly every record when it made its debut in the domestic market at $248 million, later going on to rake in $937 million.

Ticket sales increased through the weekend unlike “The Force Awakens,” which saw moviegoers purchasing tickets for Thursday and Friday shows, according to Dave Hollis, Disney’s executive vice president for distribution. Hollis said this could suggest repeat viewings. Nearly 75 percent of the audience for “Rogue One” was adults.

Star Wars cast
Actors Mads Mikkelsen, Riz Ahmed, Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk and Donnie Yen (Left to Right) arrive at the world premiere of the film "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" in Hollywood, California, Dec. 10, 2016. REUTERS/MARIO ANZUONI

Analyst Paul Dergarabedian reportedly said the “Star Wars” spinoff had lived up to its expectations. "The next film in the ‘Star Wars’ saga has the potential to claim the title as the biggest movie of all time,” he said.

The highest grossing film of all time is James Cameron’s “Avatar,” which collected nearly $2.8 billion when it was released in 2009. Next in line is “Titanic,” also directed by Cameron, which collected about $2.2 billion in 1997. “The Force Awakens” picked up about $2.07 billion.

“They could make ‘Star Wars’ movies from here to eternity,” Karl Gehring, an art director from Houston who traveled to California for the premiere of the new “Star Wars” spinoff, said. “Quite frankly, I hope they do.”

The first standalone film in the ‘Star Wars’ franchise is reportedly darker than the previous chapters in the saga and is the first one that doesn’t feature the franchise’s core characters Han Solo, Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker. The events of “Rogue One” lead up to George Lucas’ 1977 film “Star Wars: A New Hope” and the movie revolves around the rebels' attempts to steal the plans for the Empire’s Death Star.

In Asia, the film has only opened at Japanese theaters and the film is yet to be released in China and South Korea. Produced by Lucasfilm and directed by Gareth Edwards, the Felicity Jones-starrer has been received well by critics.

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