“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Rises to Bottom of Top Ten Highest-Grossing Films of All Time

On the first day of January we reported that Disney and Lucasfilms’ Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which premiered on December last year, has broken the billion-dollar box office milestone. Three days later, it was 19th on the Top 20 All-Time Highest-Grossing Films. It’s now January 15. Guess what happened?

The Last Jedi, despite its divisive nature among the Star Wars fan base, despite its poor performance in the Chinese market, is now at the Top 10 Highest-Grossing Films of All Time. True, it’s currently at rank 10, but that’s quite the jump from its 19th spot on January 4.

All told, the total box-office take for Last Jedi in terms of its ranking is $1.26 billion. $591.5 million of that is from domestic theaters while $673.4 million comes internationally. That $1.26-billion earning to reach Top 10 had The Last Jedi bumping Beauty and the Beast (2017) off the list.

In addition, that current number also makes The Last Jedi the highest-grossing domestic and worldwide film of 2017. Were it not for the utter ambivalence that the film received in China, it would have been extremely close to reaching the initially-projected $1.6 billion box-office high-water mark before its run ended.

Much hay has been thrown about regarding the sheer vitriol some fans have for the storyline developments of The Last Jedi. Devotees of the original trilogy have cried foul over “mischaracterizations” of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, or the “Mary-Sue” nature of Daisy Ridley’s character Rey, and the plot twists.

As of now, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now playing in cinemas, winding down to the end of its theater run. Meanwhile, Solo: A Star Wars Story is gearing up for a May 25 release, despite the surprising lack of any teasers and trailers for the viewing audience’s benefit.

New Additions and Events for Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 2018

A New Year means new things, new places and new experiences. It may sound a tad poetic and idealistic cliché, but that statement holds true for even the Disney chain of theme parks. There’s a score of upcoming new attractions opening this 2018 that visitors would most certainly enjoy seeing.

These upcoming attractions run the gamut from being seasonal events to brand-new permanent additions to the parks where they’re opening in. Disneyland in Anaheim for example has a new “Pixar Fest” event beginning April, with a Nighttime Spectacular featuring Buzz Lightyear flying around Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and a Play Parade.

And the Pixar fever doesn’t stop there. Disney California Adventure sees its former Paradise Pier area returning to the public as Pixar Pier, with attractions from films Toys Story, The Incredibles and Inside Out taking prominence. Pixar Shorts will have a film festival in Hollywood Land, a Pixar musical group will star performances in Paradise gardens, and even more Pixar characters will be appearing in the Paint the Night event.

Downtown Disney meanwhile gets two major attractions. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire takes guests on a VR experience to meet their favorite characters from the franchise, while a staple from Walt Disney World, Splitsville Luxury Lanes, makes its debut in the Disney West Coast.

Disneyland and its surrounding resorts and parks don’t have a monopoly on new stuff for 2018. Over in Walt Disney World, Florida, Disney’s Hollywood Studios can finally celebrate the opening of its expansion theme area Toy Story Land, featuring a Slinky Dog roller coaster and the Woody’s Lunch Box restaurant.

Animal Kingdom also celebrates two decades of operation as the latest park addition to Disney World, with a Caravan Theater show featuring the characters of Pixar’s Up seeing all the bird species in the park. Next, Epcot is looking make their second year holding a Festival of the Arts to be even bigger than its first year in 2017, expanding its duration this year from January 12 to February 19.

To wrap things up in Disney World, Disney Springs will be seeing no less than seven brand-new dining places of various cuisines and styles opening all through 2018. And finally, the ESPN Wide World of Sports will be proud to inaugurate their 8,000-capacity multipurpose sports and entertainment venue, with six courts that can be alternately configured for basketball, volleyball, or concert performances. It’s a great year to be a Disney theme parks guest, of that there can be no doubt.

“Solo” May 25 Premiere Remains Firm Despite Lack of Trailers or Teasers Hinting at Later Release

It’s been said that as of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise finally falling under Disney, one can expect that a new film in the series would premiere in December, during the Holiday Season. It held true for The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and even the Rogue One spinoff.

That’s three straight years of a Star Wars movie for Christmas, but 2018 looks to be changing things up. Coming up next from Lucasfilm is another Star Wars Story spinoff in the vein of Rogue One. This is Solo, a prequel detailing the early adventures of a young Han Solo.

Rather than yet another December premiere, Solo is set to arrive in cinemas this coming May. Interestingly, May was the original Star Wars release date back when Lucasfilm was working with 20th Century Fox. That studio has two non-MCU Marvel films premiering before and after Solo, but have changed schedule.

First, The New Mutants that was supposed to release a month before Solo is now a February 2019 premiere, while the other, Deadpool 2, is shifting to open a week before the latest Star Wars installment after being originally scheduled for a week after. Solo however, remains in its place.

This could be a matter of concern, seeing as it’s less than five months away before premiere and we’ve had yet no teaser, much less trailer, of Solo that’s supposed to come out in May. The film has had some directorial trouble, with its original tandem at the helm fired.

Chris Miller and Phil Lord were let go from the project when they were only 85% finished filming. Their replacement, Ron Howard, appears to have lengthened the photography period, fueling concerns that the May release date be moved for later. But even without tangible previews, the premiere schedule remains firm.

While many fans may be worrying over the lack of any new stuff to hype up the coming of Solo, its stubborn May 25 premiere date may be at the insistence of Disney to avoid movie collisions. After all, their sequel film Mary Poppins Returns is set for December itself.

This surprise continuation from the 1964 musical classic starring Julie Andrews – whose role is being taken up by Emily Blunt – does come across as a better film to celebrate the Holidays with, than following the exploits of a galactic smuggler and future Rebel hero. Seen that way, it makes sense.

And while it’s frustrating not to see anything to give us an idea of what Solo will be like, for now we should trust Disney to carry the day. Someday before May, we hope to see Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover as Han and Lando Calrissian on the first trailers.

Upcoming Episode Titles of “Star Wars Rebels” S4 Hint at Possible Main Cast Casualty

For those who haven’t gotten the memo yet, the Disney XD 3D animated series Star Wars Rebels is set to resume its fourth season by next month, February. And from there, it’s all the way to the season finale and series finale, ending the show after 4 seasons of broadcast.

With the story of Rebels set to terminate, bets have started among viewers on what’ll be the fates of the characters by the last scene of the finale. Already the Rebel team leader Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall) seems safe, but the rest of her crew, it’s up in the air.

While web series Forces of Destiny (which also has a comic series on IDW) would have it that Hera would be at the after-party on Endor post-Return of the Jedi, no peep has been heard about what her crew got to until at least before the first Star Wars film.

Some episode titles and blurbs for the latter half of Rebels season 4 appear to spoil the fate of at least one member of the Ghost crew. Episode 10: “Jedi Night” involves the heroes pulling a rescue mission to save a captive teammate: Hera, caught in the 2017 midseason finale.

Episode 11: “Dume” however, notes the the Ghost team are reeling from a “devastating loss,” insinuating that one of their number doesn’t survive “Jedi Night.” The most likely character to get killed in fan theory is the blind Jedi Padawan Kanan, who’s also in a relationship of sorts with Hera.

In case nobody got the reference, the birth name of Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is Caleb Dume, the Episode 11 title. It’ll indeed be a heavy loss, but signs point to Kanan’s potential sendoff being most likely one of the most epic and talked-about series episodes before the ending.

Star Wars Rebels season 4 resumes February 24, with “Jedi Night” airing 9 PM / 8 Central on Disney XD.

The Last Jedi Makes Up for Poor China Reception with Great Box Office Gains in Japan

It’s plain to see by this point that The Last Jedi wasn’t going to be big in China following it premiere there, in that usual powerhouse of a box office audience. Some would call it the death-knell of Star Wars in that country, the franchise never truly taking off there.

However, something might still be salvaged out of Episode VIII for the Star Wars saga in its Far East premieres. If China was not wowed, then Japan has been all too eager to lap up the latest feature-length serving of the Force, Jedi, Sith, and a Galaxy Far, Far Away.

By now The Last Jedi has passed its fourth weekend in Japan, and it’s been smooth sailing all the way. Their January 6-7 weekend saw the movie earn $3 million, at a time when most Japanese were still on vacation. As of January their total box-office take was $55 million.

Indeed, the Force was strong for Disney-Lucasfilm in the Land of the Rising Sun, as their Star Wars film powered past another recent foreign premiere, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.” The first weekend of the Fox spy action-comedy film made $2.9 million, and is projected to make well over $20 million.

If The Last Jedi and “Kingsman 2” were the top two films in Japanese movie screens this week, then third place goes to a local production, “Destiny: The Tale of Kamakura” from Toho Pictures of “Godzilla” fame. The CGI-rich Takashi Yamazaki film has made $21 million in the box office.

Oscar Isaac Stirs “Star Wars” Shipping Fans with His Opinion on John Boyega’s Kiss Scene in “The Last Jedi”

For any sizeable fandom with a wide variety of characters like Star Wars, there’s always the risk of fans falling in one camp or another with regards to “character shipping,” or the romantic pairing up of characters according to fan opinion. Arguments involving different match-ups can be a common occurrence.

For the Disney-era Star Wars sequel trilogy, the “shipping wars” usually involve the “new-generation characters” Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). Interestingly, the argument is whether Rey-Finn or Finn-Poe is better; that is, one of them is a guy-guy pairing with plenty of circumstantial scenes.

In 2015’s The Force Awakens, Finn and Poe form something of a strong bond after the former deserts from the First Order to help the latter escape capture. Fans who latched on to their “connection” don’t like how Finn later warms up to Rey, thus providing grounds for shipping arguments.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..L to R: Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac)..Ph: David James..© 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved.

This isn’t helped either by statements from Oscar Isaac himself, who mentioned in a recent Q&A for The Last Jedi with BAFTA that he felt uneasy watching John Boyega doing a scene from near the movie’s ending: him kissing Resistance fighter Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), implying a newly-formed pairing.

In a move sure to spur shippers pushing for Finn-Poe, Isaac notes of the Boyega-Tran kissing scene, “Look, it was a little difficult to see my man kiss somebody else, but, you know, you gotta give up control…you got to watch some stuff you don’t want to watch some times.”

Another segment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy shipping community is also looking at the movie plot with some concern: the Finn-Rey shippers. They too have their own beef with new fans calling for Rey with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

While they’re somewhat relieved that Ren’s Dark-Side-fueled ambition would sour prospects of pairing him with Rey, they also see the new Finn-Rose dynamic potentially leaving the new heroine of the Force single by the time Episode IX comes in 2019.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is still running in theaters, though its last major premiere in China has been abysmal.

“Star Wars Rebels” Executive Producer Posts Photo of Work on Season 4 and Series Finale

When Lucasfilm Animation began the CG-animated series Star Wars Rebels in 2014, there was a hint of risk in the venture with portraying events leading up to the original film trilogy. Fortunately, audience reception was exceptionally good, and Rebels went on to get more seasons over the next four years.

Last 2017 it was announced that season 4 of Star Wars Rebels, which began in October of that year, will be the last for the series. Nine episodes were aired before the show took a winter hiatus, but the remaining episodes up to the series finale will resume this 2018.

The production crew has been hard at work to make sure the lead-up to the end, Season 4 episode 16, will be among the best episode runs of Star Wars Rebels ever. To prove that, executive producer Dave Filoni posted a behind-the-scenes look in the making of those last episodes.

Filoni’s post on Twitter shows the music unit of Rebels recording the background music for that last episode. The shot of what looks like a chamber orchestra performing really sells the epic nature of the finale. Music composer and conductor Kevin Kiner was also thanked by Filoni on his tweet.

Star Wars Rebels fans looking for hints towards the series’ ending will not be disappointed with one of Filoni’s hash-tags, referring to an alien creature, the white Loth-cat, that’s been observing the final struggles of Ezra Bridger and his fellow Rebels for most of the first half of season 4.

There’s been discussion on who amongst the Rebel band will survive to the end. Comic-book tie-ins imply that at least Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall) will survive to the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi. There’s no word yet on when Rebels season 4 will resume on Disney XD.