‘Star Wars’ Buzz: Box Office Bonanza, Rian Johnson’s Surprise and More

Today is the day: Star Wars: The Last Jediis now in theaters and racking up money, positive reviews and lots of piping hot takes. There’s also some non-spoilery news items to share with you while you wait in line for your first or fifth viewing of the new movie.

The Last Jedi has already grossed $45 million

While today is technically opening day, screenings of Star Wars: The Last Jedi began last night and managed to bring in $45 million already. That’s the second-highest Thursday night preview gross ever, while previous episode Star Wars: The Force Awakens remains at the top spot with $57 million. The Last Jedi replaced previous second-place holder Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which made $43.5 million in 2011 (accounting for inflation, though, Harry Potter is still number two). Last year’s spin-off prequel, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story grossed only $29 million during its Thursday previews.

Outside of the domestic box office, The Last Jedi has additionally taken in $60.8 million overseas from 14 markets. According to Box Office Mojo, the international opening grosses are so far 25% down from The Force Awakens two years ago but 63% ahead of Rogue One. If it stays on the same path as other markets opening today, that would put its worldwide debut somewhere above $400 milion. The new movie is expected to debut above $200 million over the weekend in North America alone.

Rian Johnson went to work on opening night

Speaking of Thursday night previews, guess what Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson was doing as the movie unloaded into theaters? He was working as an usher at one of those theaters. Well, pretending to, anyway. As seen below, Johnson got into a uniform and appeared at an ArcLight Cinema in California to surprise the fans.

#TheLastJedi writer & director @rianjohnson reports for his shift at @arclightcinemas, surprising fans on opening night! pic.twitter.com/5U1R66lp5j

— Star Wars (@starwars) December 15, 2017

The Last Jedi has the most practical effects of any Star Wars movie

In a time when everything in movies seems to be CGI, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is old school with its focus on practical effects. The Force Awakens was also heavily populated with practical creatures and effects, as a response to the disfavor of all the prequels’ digital space and characters, but according to creature designer Neal Scanlan in an interview with /Film, The Last Jedi not only doubles the previous episode’s amount of tangible effects work, it also has more practical effects than any other Star Wars movie before it. Most of it is thanks to the number of alien extras populating the Canto Bight casino scene.

Stream the Last Jedi score online

Whether you’ve already seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi or want to get yourself pumped up ahead of your showtime, you can now head over to Spotify (or YouTube, see below) and check out the score by John Williams. The music includes familiar themes going back to the 1977 original, as well as The Force Awakens and some new stuff like the composition for a chase scene that’s in tune with other family adventure movies (including those scored by Williams). The Last Jedi soundtrack album is also available to buy anywhere music is sold.

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