Star Wars: The Last Jedi rocketed to a debut of $220 million US at the box office, landing the second-best opening weekend ever in North America and slotting in behind only its predecessor, The Force Awakens.

The Disney blockbuster is only the fourth film to open above $200 million in North America. Aside from The Force Awakens, the others are The Avengers and Jurassic World.

Good reviews helped it. Rian Johnson's sequel to The Force Awakens has a 93 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences endorsed it too, giving it an A on CinemaScore.

The weekend's only other new wide release came from 20th Century Fox, the film studio that Disney on Thursday acquired as part of its $52.4 billion purchase of its parent company, 21st Century Fox. Ferdinand grossed $13.3 million.