PICS: Rogue One brings the Force back to Hollywood

2016-12-13 06:01

Los Angeles - Fans cheered wildly Saturday as the star-studded world premiere of the hotly anticipated Rogue One: A Star Wars Story continued the space saga after the last episode shattered box office records.

The $200m spin-off is expected to be the hottest ticket of 2016, recording the second-highest first day of domestic pre-sales ever, behind last year's "The Force Awakens."

Police cordoned off the area around the Pantages Theater in Hollywood hosting almost 3 000 guests, setting up metal detectors and deploying scores of officers and sniffer dogs.

"I feel honoured to be part of this family, and by that I mean the fans, not just the filmmakers," British actor Riz Ahmed, who stars as pilot Bodhi Rook, told AFP ahead of the screening.

"They are what keep this alive. And it's them that we're all looking to, to gauge how we've done. I really feel proud of the film, and I hope they connect with it too."

Set just before A New Hope - the original 1977 film - Gareth Edwards's Rogue One stars Felicity Jones as rebel Jyn Erso alongside Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker.

Jyn - a delinquent with a string of convictions for forgery, assault and theft - is recruited by the Rebel Alliance for a mission to destroy a planet-sized weapon of mass destruction recently named the Death Star.

Mikkelsen told AFP it felt "surreal" to be part of the iconic saga, having grown up with the original trilogy.

"People will be surprised that we did a grittier film than the former ones, and more character driven," he said.

As well as the cast and crew, celebrities including actors Michael Douglas and Christian Bale, as well as maverick filmmaker Kevin Smith, walked the red carpet ahead of the screening.

The intergalactic tale of good versus evil, friendship, loyalty and love created a defining moment in the history of popular culture, and launched one of the biggest movie franchises ever.

Pundits expect Rogue One to open at $130-$150m, some way behind the $248m debut weekend for The Force Awakens, and end up with a final global total around $1.4bn.

See the pics here:

(Photos: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney)

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