Another hit for Star Wars despite falling sales

The latest Star Wars blockbuster raked in $374m (£288m) in global ticket sales in its opening weekend, falling short of prior films in the trilogy.

The Rise of Skywalker's US sales were down nearly 30% on the first movie in the saga, The Force Awakens.

Still, the latest instalment ranked as one of the best December openings in North America.

It is expected to end a strong year for distributor Disney, with a string of hits grossing more than $1bn.

Starring Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, the film is the final chapter in the Skywalker saga begun by George Lucas in 1977. It is set one year after its predecessor.

The movie, directed by JJ Abrams, has drawn mixed reviews from critics with some describing the plot as unimaginative.

In North America, the world's largest film market, The Rise of Skywalker pulled in about $176m.

Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations Co, told Reuters the opening weekend takings marked a "great number for December".

But he added the US sales showed a 20% decline from the previous instalment.