Los Angeles - Star Wars: The Last Jedi is off to a death star-sized start at the box office.
Disney said on Friday that the eighth installment in the space franchise has earned an estimated $45m from Thursday night showings.
It's the second-highest Thursday night preview tally following the $57m start for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which kicked off this modern trilogy in 2015.
The Last Jedi is expected to net around $200m throughout the weekend, which would make it the fourth-biggest opening of all time. It's set to play on 4 232 screens in North America.
Rian Johnson wrote and directed The Last Jedi, which stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver.
The Last Jedi is currently showing in SA cinemas.