In the wake of Disney’s announced plans to purchase the assets of competitor Fox this week, the war between Disney and one of its few remaining rivals, Warner Bros., continues at the box office. Star Wars: The Last Jedi has made $104.8 million dollars on Friday in North America alone, the second highest domestic opening day in history behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, adding to an already massive Thursday total of $45 million. Star Wars: The Last Jedi remains on track to make more than $205 million in its opening weekend, and the revenue the film will generate before the end of the year will push Disney ahead of Warner Bros. in total annual box office gross.
The success of The Last Jedi follows a disappointing performance for Justice League, a movie that made only $94 million in its opening weekend despite featuring iconic characters Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg together in one film for the first time. Thanks to an inflated budget including reshoots and Henry Cavill‘s mustache CGI, despite a box office tally that would be a major success for any other film, Justice League stands to lose money for the studio unless it hits a global total of $750 million, which seems unlikely.
Disney’s plans to swallow all competitors and become the one entertainment mega corporation to rule them all has included some hardball tactics. The studio reportedly squeezed movie theaters for a bigger cut than ever before for showing the movie, along with concessions that demanded The Last Jedi hold the theater’s primary auditoriums, potentially affecting competing blockbusters in the coming weeks. In addition, the Rotten Tomatoes scores for The Last Jedi and Justice League are like mirror images, with critics panning Justice League while audiences generally liked it, and those same critics giving The Last Jedi a 93% positive score while audiences rated it negatively.
To many fans of the DCEU, critics’ negativity about the movie helped sabotage the movie’s box office performance, though even they will have to admit that Warner Bros. did as much as possible to sabotage themselves. Star Wars: The Last Jedi, on the other hand, has received near universal praise and excitement from the press, which has surely helped propel it to its near record-breaking totals.