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Will Disney's 'Rogue One' Outperform 'The Phantom Menace'?

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Will Disney's 'Rogue One' Outperform 'The Phantom Menace'?

The latest in the Star Wars franchise, " Rogue One" could see Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) laugh all the way to the bank.

'Rogue One': Strong, But ...

The standalone film was released in North America at midnight Thursday and is expected to have a domestic opening of $130 million to $150 million, with the global debut estimated at $300 million to $350 million. The performance, however, is expected to trail the opening grossing of $529 million worldwide for "The Force Awakens" last year.

Thursday preview numbers are pitched at $30 million, according to a report on Deadline.com quoting exhibitors. This is below the $57 million earned by "The Force Awakens."

Overall, the consensus is that the film is unlikely to outperform "The Force Awakens," which had a $2.07 billion haul.

'Phantom Menace' Could Be Overcome

Turn the calendar back a decade to "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace."

Released in 1999, "The Phantom Menace" was the first in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. This film was produced by Lucasfilm, which existed as an independent entity then, and was distributed by 20th Century Fox, which has since then become part of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ: FOXA).

Estimates put the returns from the film at $924.3 million and over $1 billion, considering the 3D reissue. Adjusting for inflation measured in 2013 dollars, the film grossed $1.217 billion.

Whichever way the comparison is made, it looks like "Rogue One" will outpace "The Phantom Menace" in terms of box office returns.

In pre-market trading, Disney was down 0.09 percent at $104.30. By mid-morning, shares were still down slightly (down 0.16 percent) at $104.22.

Image Credit: By Walt Disney Pictures - Wars.com, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

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