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A massive opening weekend of $155 million for Rogue One was good, its not the highest of the year and not as high as Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens from last year, but this is new territory for the Star Wars franchise.
Despite what way you look at it Rogue One has a good start, and like Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them from earlier in the year it shows that these worlds can survive beyond the core story.
Moana fell into the runner up spot this week with $11 million, it gives Disney the top 2 films in the US, not bad, and brings Moana's total to $161.8 million.
Collateral Beauty, new from Will Smith, also opening in the top 10, at 4, with a $7 million debut weekend.
Longest running film and highest grossing for again this week is Doctor Strange at 9 with $226 million after 7 weeks.
The first spin off film, directed by Gareth Edwards is called Rogue One and will be released worldwide on December 16th 2016.
Star Wars Episode VIII will be released May 26th 2017, not long after the previous Star Wars film.
Here is the full press release courtesy of starwars.com
ROGUE ONE IS THE FIRST STAR WARS STAND-ALONE FILM, RIAN JOHNSON TO WRITE AND DIRECT STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII THE TITLE FOR DIRECTOR GARETH EDWARDS' STAND-ALONE MOVIE, FEATURING ACTRESS FELICITY JONES, IS REVEALED, AND RIAN JOHNSON IS CONFIRMED FOR STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII -- COMING TO THEATERS MAY 26, 2017.
“Always in motion is the future,” Yoda said. The future of the Star Wars cinematic galaxy, however, is taking shape.
This morning at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, across the street from Lucasfilm, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger hosted a shareholder meeting where he announced news regarding the first Star Wars stand-alone movie as well as Star Wars: Episode VIII.
Rogue One is the title for the first film in a unique series of big-screen adventures that explores the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga. Rogue One will be directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) and written by Oscar nominee Chris Weitz (Cinderella, About a Boy, Antz). The first actress cast is Felicity Jones, who garnered an Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim for her performance in The Theory of Everything. The idea for the story of Rogue One came from John Knoll, an Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic. He will executive produce along with Simon Emanuel (The Dark Knight Rises, Fast & Furious 6) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin, War of the Worlds). Kathleen Kennedy and Tony To (Band of Brothers, The Pacific) are on board to produce and John Swartz (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) will co-produce. The film starts shooting this summer in London and is due for release on December 16, 2016.
In addition, Iger confirmed that Rian Johnson will write and direct Star Wars: Episode VIII. The film, which continues the saga after the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is set for release on May 26, 2017 — forty years and a day after the release of Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977. Johnson is widely considered one of cinema's most gifted young filmmakers, having directed the modern sci-fi classic, Looper, as well as Brick and The Brothers Bloom. He was also behind the camera for three episodes of the critically-acclaimed TV series Breaking Bad, including “Ozymandias,” which series creator Vince Gilligan named as the best installment of the show. Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman, producer of Looper, Don Jon, Brick, and The Brothers Bloom, are on board to produce.
The stand alone films will be origin stories from characters from the Star Wars universe, Yoda and Bobba Fett and hot favourites of fans, that will be released between the sage episodes 7 - 9.
Although the films wont be directly related to the core saga they will inevitable have links to the series.
JJ Abrams is currently filming Episode VII at Pinewood Studios in England, and today posted an amusing tweet asking people not to post leaked pictures!
No release date so far for the splinter films but 2016 is most likely for the first.
From the Press release on starwars.com
"JOSH TRANK TO DIRECT STAND-ALONE STAR WARS FILM
June 04, 2014
In addition to the episodes of a new Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm and Disney continue development of multiple stand-alone movies that will offer new stories beyond the core Saga. The newest director to come on board is Josh Trank.
"We're thrilled to welcome Josh into the family," says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. "He is such an incredible talent and has a great imagination and sense of innovation. That makes him perfectly suited to Star Wars, and for this new slate of movies that reach beyond the core characters and storylines of Episodes I through IX."
Trank states, "The magic of the Star Wars Universe defined my entire childhood. The opportunity to expand on that experience for future generations is the most incredible dream of all time."
Trank captured imaginations worldwide with his critically lauded directorial debut Chronicle, a fresh and engaging take on the superhero genre. Trank is currently at work on Fantastic Four for 20th Century Fox."
Gary Whitta will write the screenplay, Who is Garry Whitta? He used to be a PC magazine journalist who turned screen writer with The book of Eli.
Here is the press release
"GARETH EDWARDS AND GARY WHITTA ONBOARD FOR STAR WARS STAND-ALONE FILM
May 22, 2014
In addition to the episodes of a new Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm and Disney have begun development on multiple stand-alone movies that will offer new stories beyond the core Saga. Gareth Edwards will direct the first stand-alone film, with a screenplay by Gary Whitta. The film is due out December 16, 2016. Gareth Edwards blazed into the filmmaking forefront with his acclaimed work on Monsters, a film he wrote, directed and served on as cinematographer and visual effects artist. The skill and vision readily apparent in Monsters earned him the high-profile spot directing this year's smash hit Godzilla. "Ever since I saw Star Wars I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life -- join the Rebel Alliance! I could not be more excited and honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm," said Edwards. Gary Whitta's screenwriting credits include 2010's The Book of Eli starring Denzel Washington. He is also well known as a journalist and editor in the video game industry, as well as part of the BAFTA award-winning team on Telltale Games adaptation of The Walking Dead. Whitta states, "From the moment I first saw the original movie as a wide-eyed kid, Star Wars has been the single most profound inspiration to my imagination and to my career as a writer. It is deeply special to me,so to be given the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing legacy, especially in collaboration with a film-maker as talented as Gareth, is literally a dream come true. I'm still pinching myself."
StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time."