The Disney/Lucasfilm stratagem is easy: release a “Star Wars” movie every year and watch the money roll in. And while the stand-alone film “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” wasn’t as much of a gangbusters flashpoint as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was — it was never going to be of course; it wasn’t the first ‘Star Wars’ film in 33 years to feature the original cast — it’s still done remarkably well for itself (don’t be fooled by any of the conservative nitwits who think their #DumpRogueOne campaign made the slightest dent at all). Considering the film features no real name brand stars, with Felicity Jones as its lead, ‘Rogue One’ is certainly proving the “Star Wars” brand is more powerful than any force out there. Over the three day weekend, ‘Rogue One’ grossed $64.3 million and $96 million over the four day weekend. The film is only 58% down from its first weekend and now clocks in at $555.4 million worldwide and $318 million domestically. That’s not too bad for two weeks work.
‘Rogue One’ is expected to hit $1 billion overall and with these kinds of figures, the trajectory seems doable. Though note the legs of some certain franchises; “Doctor Strange” seemed poised for a ballpark gross of $750 million worldwide. But at $656 million worldwide after eight weeks, it appears the movie’s box office mojo has stalled and it’s easy to conceive the film falling short of $700 million when all is said and done.
Films in new release didn’t fare that well outside of Universal’s animated tooner, “Sing.” A musical from director Garth Jennings (“Son Of Rambow”), the picture from Illumination Entertainment grossed a strong $35.2 million in its opening weekend. Presumably it’s going to have legs and could become a huge animated grosser if it picks up the usual steam (four of the top 10 grossing films of 2016 are animated films). Less successful openers were Sony’s “Passengers,” and even moreso, Fox’s “Assassin’s Creed.” The latter was outgrossed over the three-day weekend by the comedy “Why Him?” and the former, which cost upwards of $110 million, could only muster a $14.8 million bow. The caveat, after six days, “Passengers” has grossed $30 million so far which isn’t too bad.
Things are looking particularly bleak for “Assassin’s Creed.” What is supposed to be the first in a trilogy, the Justin Kurzel-directed video game adaptation was met with middling reviews (here’s ours), and only earned $10 million in its opening weekend (it cost north of $125M). A B+ Cinemascore will help a little, but it’s probably safe to say, even this early, you won’t be seeing an “Assassin’s Creed 2.” On the other hand, things are looking good for Disney’s “Moana.” In its fifth week of release, the movie only dropped -41.8% and and has hit $180 million domestically ($327M worldwide).
Other than ‘Rogue One,’ the box-office story this weekend was awards contenders moving into wider release. Paramount’s “Fences” increased its theater count exponentially and landed in the top 10 at the number six slot. Already doing solid box office business, Lionsgate‘s “La La Land,” expanded by 534 theaters and added an another $5.7 million to its healthy tally. Who woulda thunk the silly “Office Christmas Party” comedy would gross $42 million in three weeks? In its second week of release, the critically-maligned “Collateral Beauty” rounded out the top 10 and should be finished after that. Interesting fact, the tearjerker drama has earned itself an A- Cinemascore which means, no one has seen it, but those who have, loved it. I’m sure that’ll be little comfort to Warner Bros. as the film sinks to the bottom of the box-office.
In limited release, Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” lead the field, opening up strong on four theaters grossing $131,000 for a $32.7K per screen average (though not even in the top 10 of 2016’s highest per screen averages). Peter Berg’s “Patriots Day” grossed $256,718 from seven theaters for a $23K average and the rest of the indie field looked like this: “Hidden Figures” (20K average), Pedro Almodovar‘s “Julieta” ($15.3K average) and underwhelming figures for Ben Affleck’s “Live By Night” ($8,250) and “A Monster Calls” ($7,728).
Elsewhere around the box office, “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” has massively performed ($744 million and counting worldwide; the new ‘Harry Potter’ franchise is off and running), the aforementioned “Doctor Strange” has plateaued; “Arrival” has nearly hit $150 million worldwide; Amazon’s “Manchester by the Sea” has made nearly $20 million and is the first big hit for the streaming company that teamed with Roadside Attractions for the film’s release.
1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story— $64,377,000 —($286,375,674)
2. Sing — $35,290,000 ($55,902,640) $75
3. Passengers —$14,850,000 ($30,175,201
4. Why Him? — $11,050,000
5. Assassin’s Creed — $10,280,000 ($17,772,398)
6. Moana — $7,402,000 ($180,434,191)
7. Fences — $6,688,000 ($6,879,515)
8. La La Land — $5,729,400 ($13,611,711)
9. Office Christmas Party —$5,115,000 ($42,153,602)
10. Collateral Beauty WB — $4,275,000 ($15,276,500)