SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Star Wars fans propelled a local theater chain to the top of the national rankings.
Three Megaplex Theatres in Utah ranked among the top 25 theaters for opening weekend sales of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which debuted last week.
The company's South Jordan location at The District shopping plaza ranked No. 5 nationally, the Jordan Commons location in Sandy followed closely at No. 7 and Lehi's Thanksgiving Point location finished at No. 20.
Before “Last Jedi” debuted, Jeff Whipple, vice president of public relations for Megaplex, told the Deseret News that Megaplex anticipated a record opening — the theater chain, which led the nation in total dollar revenue for “Rogue One” in 2016, said its presale numbers for “Last Jedi” pointed to a historic opening.
“There is a healthy number of Star Wars fans looking to celebrate this premiere with (other) Star Wars fans,” Whipple said at the time.
Fans spanning multiple generations gathered together to see the film in the Beehive State. As the Deseret News reported, Star Wars fandom gathered in costumes with toy lightsabers and action figures before the film’s premiere.
“With dozens of premiere parties, special events and company parties, the Megaplex holiday celebration is just getting started,” said Blake Andersen, president of Megaplex Theatres. “We’re looking forward to hosting movie fans at Megaplex locations from Logan to Mesquite, Nevada, and everywhere in between.”
Nationwide, “Last Jedi's" debut marked the second-highest opening of all time with a $220 million opening weekend. The Star Wars film was the second film in history to earn more than $100 million on an opening day.
But despite its box-office success, the film received mixed reviews. While critics heralded the film, earning it a 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — the second-highest in the Star Wars saga — audience members didn’t feel the same. The film’s audience score on Rotten Tomatoes finished at 55 percent, which puts it below all three of the less popular Star Wars prequel films.