Just a few weeks from the opening domestic weekend for Rogue One: A Star Wars story means that predictions, sale projections and fan excitement is reaching a furious crescendo. Early tracking figures have come in recently that put the movie somewhere between $130 and $150 million US dollars for a US domestic opening weekend.
That puts this movie solidly in the top 20 all time movie openings hall of fame. It will also make it the third highest grossing movie of 2016 behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($166 million) and Captain America: Civil War ($179.1 million).
While it won’t reach the $248 million seen by last years’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the projected $150 million is extremely impressive especially given the slump in ticket sales seen in the fourth quarter of 2016.
If there was any doubt about the movie being a success, one must only look at the first day of early ticket sales by the website Fandango.
When pre-sale tickets went up for sale Monday morning an onslaught, a virtual stampede rushed the website causing crashes, delays, freezes and very long wait times for the ticket sale to process. Customers experienced time-outs and server hiccups which made them refresh the screen and restart the sale which understandably came with a fair bit of frustration for ticket purchasers. At one point in the early Monday morning hours customers could not even log in to the website. While the website didn’t truly “crash”, it created a lot of headaches for customers.
At that point, Fandango set up a virtual waiting room to help manage the traffic flow and create an orderly processing queue for the ticket sales. Fandango, channeling Yoda, tweeted; “Due to an overwhelming amount of traffic, a wait room has been activated. Get #RogueOne tickets soon, you will.”
Another website, Atom Tickets, attempted to redirected those in the wait queue to their website for ticket sales. Rogue One has been 76% of ticket sales for MovieTickets.Com as well.
Later, Fandango issued a statement to CBS News: “Last night, Fandango saw extraordinary demand for tickets to ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.’ Within minutes of going on sale, we sold hundreds of thousands of tickets, Similar to ticketing for a highly popular concert event, a ‘waiting room’ in the checkout process was established to accommodate customers as quickly as possible. We were able to continuously serve a record number of customers throughout the night, despite some intermittent slowdowns — and in order to meet the incredible consumer demand, our exhibition partners continue to add new showtimes for opening weekend.”
So we can either look at early survey projections by professional Hollywood analysts or we can look at the rabid actions of Star Wars fans and moviegoers but either way it is clear that this movie will be every bit of the successful hit it is expected to be.