10:03am PT by Pamela McClintock
Box Office: 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Crossing a Galactic $500M Globally
Disney's and Lucasfilm's Star Wars: The Last Jedi is jumping the $500 million mark at the worldwide box office after finishing Monday with $494.6 million in global ticket sales.
In North America, the sequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossed $21.6 million Monday, one of the 10 best showings of all time. That's well less than the Monday record set by Force Awakens two years ago with $40.1 million, and less than Rogue One: A Star Wars Story earned on its first Monday last year ($32.1 million).
However, because of where Christmas Day falls this year, far fewer kids were out of school on their holiday vacations Monday (33 percent were out of school, compared with 77 percent during the Force Awakens corridor and 48 percent on Rogue One's first Monday). The landscape is similar overseas.
Over the weekend, Last Jedi nabbed the second-best opening of all time in North America with $220 million after earning glowing reviews and an A CinemaScore. Force Awakens is the record holder with $249.7 million. Through Monday, Last Jedi's domestic haul is $241.6 million.
Overseas, the Rian Johnson-directed tentpole earned another $22.2 million Monday for a total $253 million. Last Jedi is playing in virtually every major market, save for China, where it doesn't unfurl until Jan. 5.
The Last Jedi — otherwise known as Episode VIII — reunites many of the new Star Wars actors introduced in The Force Awakens, including Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis and Lupita Nyong'o, along with original stars Mark Hamill and the late Carrie Fisher, to whom the movie is dedicated. Franchise newcomers include Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro.
The story picks up immediately after the events of The Force Awakens, with Rey (Ridley) seeking out Luke (Hamill) to help the Resistance (led by Fisher's Leia) and its fight against the villainous Kylo Ren (Driver) and The First Order.
The Last Jedi blasted off just as Disney announced its $52.4 billion bid to buy major 21st Century Fox assets, including the film studio, home of George Lucas' first six Star Wars movies, prior to selling Lucasfilm to Disney.