Daisy Ridley, left, and John Boyega pose upon arrival for the premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. AFP
The force is clearly still with the galactic good guys, as "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" opened with a massive estimated take of $175.5 million in North America, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.
The Disney film scored the third biggest December debut ever, behind only the two earlier chapters in the "Star Wars" sequel trilogy, "The Force Awakens" and "The Last Jedi," according to Variety.
"Rise of Skywalker," directed by J.J. Abrams and starring Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac, blew away the weekend's competition.
Its domestic take was nearly seven times that of the No. 2 movie, Sony's game-inspired "Jumanji: The Next Level," which booked $26.1 million for the Friday-through-Sunday period. It stars Jack Black, Dwayne ("The Rock") Johnson and Kevin Hart.
In third was another Disney product, "Frozen II," at $12.3 million. The animated film recounts the return to Arendelle and the magical animated world of Queen Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) and the gang.
Fourth place went to Universal's film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Cats," at $6.5 million. Tom Hooper, critically acclaimed for his work on "The King's Speech" and "The Danish Girl," directed the movie.
But despite an all-star cast including Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba and James Corden, the musical has received stunningly bad reviews (the Guardian called it a "dreadful hairball of woe," while for the Wall Street Journal it was "a confusing litter box of intentions").
In fifth spot was Lionsgate's droll murder mystery "Knives Out," at $6.1 million. Daniel Craig plays a Southern detective hired to unravel the bloody death of a wealthy patriarch.
"Terminator: Dark Fate" opened atop the North American box office this weekend with a take of $29 million, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said, but analysts said that figure fell far below expectations.
The Disney film, marketed as a grand finale of the nine-film "Skywalker Saga," has had mixed reviews and was down considerably from last weekend's lofty $177.4 million opening.
Disney's new release "Frozen 2" iced out competitors to top North American box offices over the weekend, taking in an estimated $127 million, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said Sunday.
“The exhibition reveals that though we come from different cultures and have diverse personalities, art portrays the beauty of this country through lives lived together in harmony,” says Jesno Jackson, co-founder of the gallery.
"Most of these youngsters grew up at the time when JK Rowling's work was being presented in the novels and then later on in the films," Dr Asghar Zaidi, the university's vice chancellor and a "Potterhead" himself said.
Shehzad Roy, one of Pakistan’s top pop stars, singer and social worker who visited the Expo 2020 Dubai said: “This is truly larger than life. To be here at the Expo is an experience, which I can’t really express in words. Words become a barrier when you’re trying to express what you’ve seen. It’s so beautiful.”