'Rogue One' Tops Global Box Office with $290 Million

The Death Star blueprint-stealing bandits of Rogue One made off with a killer opening weekend of $290 million worldwide.

The Disney and Lucasfilm release took $155 million in the U.S. and a further $135.5 million in other territories, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It is the second highest December opening in the U.S. behind last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In the U.K., Rogue One was the biggest opening of 2016, despite coming so late in the year, earning $21 million at British theaters.

The haul isn't as impressive as The Force Awakens, the seventh film in the Star Wars saga, which took $247.9 million in its opening weekend in the U.S. alone. However, that film had all the nostalgia of George Lucas' original trilogy, released between 1977 and 1983, as it was a direct sequel to the classic series and brought back beloved characters like Han Solo and Princess Leia after more than 30 years.

Related: 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'—the Newsweek review

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Rogue One, in comparison, was something of a gamble for Disney: it is the first time Star Wars has produced a standalone film that deviates from the core story. Set before the events of 1977's A New Hope, it tells the story of a crew of ragtag rebels—led by Oscar nominee Felicity Jones's Jyn Erso—who try to steal plans for Darth Vader's dangerous weapon, the Death Star.

"This is a massive opening and the second-best by a wide margin. And it sets us up in a perfect way for the lucrative holiday period ahead," Disney's Dave Hollis told The Hollywood Reporter. "It is a litmus test for what these stand-alone movies can be, both from a story perspective and a commercial perspective."

Director Gareth Edwards' spin-off, although not directly correlated to the story in Star Wars Episodes I-VII was praised by critics for maintaining a familiar sense of nostalgia. Darth Vader, the villain in the original films, makes an appearance and there are a few other previously unannounced cameos that nod to the earlier films.

Lucasfilm will follow Rogue One with Star Wars: Episode VIII next December. A second standalone film, a prequel about a young Han Solo, is due for release in 2018.

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'Rogue One' Tops Global Box Office with $290 Million | Culture