NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The force is back!

The new “Star Wars” movie is now in theaters.

It had the biggest Thursday night opening of the year, taking in $29 million. Experts predict it’s going to be a blockbuster.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” takes place right before the first “Star Wars” came out in 1977.

“Best one since ‘Empire Strikes Back,'” Parik Pilly, of the Upper West Side, said. “The execution, the feeling, the tone, what you felt when you saw the original trilogy.”

“It puts the wars back in ‘Star Wars.’ This is a riskier ‘Star Wars’ movie, it’s a bravery one, it takes chances that the other ‘Star Wars’ movies haven’t taken,” Managing Editor of Fandango.com Erik Davis said.

The film is about a new group of rebels, including Felicity Jones, who plays Jin-Erso, that is on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star.

“Her focus is actually very much a parent/child relationship more than a romantic love relationship,” Jones said.

“Expect little cameos from characters that maybe you have seen in those ‘Star Wars’ movies — Darth Vader is one of them,” Davis said.

CBS2’s Jill Nicolini went to the AMC Empire 25 theater in Times Square to catch some fans’ first reactions.

“Fabulous, unreal, much better than expected,” one woman said.

“Loved it, fantastic, way to go, best movie,” one man agreed.

“My god, it was incredible. It had laughs, it had action, it was so scary,” another man said.

“The first hour did have some pacing issues, but hang in there, because the second hour is mind blowing,” Christopher Harrison, of Harlem, said. “Lots of action at the end.” 

The “star warriors” who braved the cold to catch the premiere in Chelsea told 1010 WINS’ John Montone it was well worth the newly-hiked $16.25 ticket price.

“It was like ‘Star Wars’ but more serious, more explosions, more war-like,” one movie-goer said.

The theater manager said the movie was great for business and great for entertainment.

“There are a couple of fun cameos. That’s all I’m going to say, I’m not going to spoil it,” he said.

The next ‘Star Wars’ movie, a follow-up to “The Force Awakens,” will be in theaters December 2017. Then, the next stand-alone film about a Hans Solo adventure will come out in 2018.

Experts predict “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” could top $300 million globally, and if it cracks the $180 million mark this weekend, it will be the highest opening weekend of the year.

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