“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” roared into move theaters late Thursday with an opening of $45 million, according to Variety.
Variety on Friday reported that the total set a record for the second-largest Thursday night preview gross in North America.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is the only film with better results, earning $57 million two years ago under similar circumstances.
“The Last Jedi” surpassed “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” which had previously ranked second for the second largest Thursday night preview gross in North America.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opened last year with $29 million in its Thursday night preview totals.
“The Last Jedi” on Friday launches in 4,232 theaters in Canada and the U.S., including 410 Imax screens, 640 premium large format screens, 3,600 3D locations and 212 D-Box locations.
Domestic tracking for the movie has stayed within the $200 million range that first emerged late last month.
“The Last Jedi” would become the fourth-biggest opening of all time if that prediction holds, trailing “The Force Awakens,” “Jurassic World” and “The Avengers.”
“The Force Awakens” raked in $248 million during its opening weekend in 2015 amid vast hype for the first film from the popular franchise in decades.
The movie has been estimated for a global opening in the $425 million range, which would place it fifth among the biggest global debuts of all time.
“Fate of the Furious” set the record last April with $541 million, besting $529 million from “The Force Awakens.”
“Jurassic World” nabbed third with $525 million, while “The Deathly Hallows: Part 2” grabbed $483 million.
“The Last Jedi” is the latest film in the “Star Wars” universe, serving as the middle part of a trilogy begun by “The Force Awakens” in 2015.
“Star Wars” became a global phenomenon when the first film of the science fiction series debuted in 1977, and the series’ characters and concepts are now fixtures of pop culture.