LOS ANGELES — “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” soared to the top of the weekend box office as expected, scoring the second-best December opening ever with $155 million in estimated ticket sales.

After the biggest Thursday night debut of the year, the intergalactic adventure blasted past industry expectations for a $130 million weekend, according to Sunday’s studio estimates. “Rogue One” opened at No. 1 in all markets globally, though it has yet to debut in China and South Korea.

“We’re in uncharted territory for December,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box office tracker comScore. “It’s going to be really hard for any movie to catch up.”

The record-setter was “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the space saga’s seventh installment, which debuted to $247.9 million in the U.S. and Canada last December.

Set before the events of the original 1977 “Star Wars,” “Rogue One” stars Felicity Jones and Diego Luna as leaders of a rebel faction that steals plans for its imperial enemy’s master weapon, the Death Star.

“Rogue One” knocked the No. 1 movie for the past three weeks, Disney’s “Moana,” to a distant second with $11.6 million, followed by “Office Christmas Party” with $8.4 million.

The weekend’s other new wide release, the critically panned Will Smith drama “Collateral Beauty,” opened in fourth place with $7 million.

“This is one of the most intense marketplaces for movies I’ve ever seen,” Dergarabedian said. “You have a ‘Star Wars’ movie out there looming like the Death Star over everything, and a really great crop of Oscar contenders that keeps expanding.”

– The Associated Press


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