AP
This image released by Lucasfilm shows Daisy Ridley as Rey in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is off to a death star-sized start at the box office. Disney says Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, that eighth installment in the space franchise has earned an estimated $45 million from Thursday night showings. (Lucasfilm via AP)

LOS ANGELES — "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" is off to a death star-sized start at the box office. Disney says Friday that the eighth installment in the space franchise has earned an estimated $45 million from Thursday night showings.

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It's the second-highest Thursday night preview tally following the $57 million start for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," which kicked off this modern trilogy in 2015.

"The Last Jedi" is expected to net around $200 million 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.