The preview night numbers of Episode VIII is second only to its prequel, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which made $57 million when it opened in 2015.
The Last Jedi opens in more than 4,100 theaters domestically today but it will likely come up short against the opening for The Force Awakens which premiered to $248 million two years ago.
Living up to the hype of its predecessor is a big challenge for Last Jedi, but it has been getting mostly rave reviews from fans and critics with a 93% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Some critics have said the film, which is directed by Rian Johnson, is the best since the The Empire Strikes Back, which many consider the best in the Star Wars series.
The saga’s eighth installment stars Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill and is the final on screen performance for Carrie Fisher, who died unexpectedly last year.