Disney’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story continued the dominance of Star Wars as the most lucrative franchise in film history this weekend, with an estimated $155.0 million opening.
Helped by viral marketing hinting at the first appearance of the iconic Darth Vader in a film since 2005, the spinoff — which takes place between the original and prequel trilogies — starts 6.4 percent ahead of the $145.6 million inflation-adjusted opening of 2005’s Revenge of the Sith. It also begins 37.4 percent behind the $247.9 million opening of last December’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, although that comparison might be unfair because Force holds the all-time opening weekend record by a mile. Rogue also earns the third-highest opening weekend of 2016, behind May’s Captain America: Civil War with $179.1 million and March’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice with $166.0 million.
Could Rogue become the highest grosser of 2016? The title is currently held by June’s Finding Dory with $486.2 million. After all, six of the seven previous Star Wars films were the best-performing films at the box office of their respective years, with 2002’s Attack of the Clones the lone exception. Dory started with only the fourth-best opening weekend of 2016, but out-earned Civil War and Dawn of Justice in the long run by holding up much better over the subsequent month or two after debuting. Rogue One word of mouth could be helped by its positive — if slightly mixed — reviews, with an ‘A’ CinemaScore and 84 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. And it should also face less competition heading into January than those aforementioned films did during the blockbuster-heavy summer season.
This is sweet icing on the cake for what was already a record-breaking year for Disney. Even without Rogue, the studio’s films had already earned $2.60 billion during the year, breaking the studio yearly record of $2.44 billion set by Universal last year. Now Rogue, Disney’s final release of 2016, might even catapult them past $3 billion total by December 31 — a staggering sum in an industry where studios almost never even reach $2 billion in a year.
Rogue One started with an estimated $71.07 million on Friday, including $29.0 million in Thursday night previews, which makes it the inflation-adjusted 18th-best opening day of all time behind 2012’s The Hunger Games. Rogue then decreased an estimated 34.7 percent on Saturday to $46.35 million, and is projected to decline a further 18.9 percent on Sunday to $37.57 million. This places its opening weekend to Friday ratio at an estimated 2.18 to 1, a very front-loaded figure due to the film’s pre-release hype, which can often indicate that a film won’t hold up as well at the box office as time goes on. But Rogue‘s ratio is still higher than the 2.08 to 1 ratio for The Force Awakens, the most pre-released hyped title in movie history, and yet that film held on terrifically throughout its theatrical run.
Believe it or not, there were actually some other films playing this weekend as well.
Disney took second place with Moana, the leader for the past three weekends, which was finally knocked off its perch with a 37.1 percent decline to an estimated $11.66 million. The film has earned $161.58 million through 26 days, which is 15.7 percent behind 2013’s Frozen with $192.03 million through the same duration of wide release.
Paramount’s holiday comedy Office Christmas Party, last weekend’s runner-up, fell 50.0 percent to third place at an estimated $8.45 million. Among this season’s three main holiday films, that’s a worse drop than the 46.8 percent second-weekend fall of Bad Santa 2 but milder than the 52.0 percent drop decline of Almost Christmas. Office looks to end up as the highest grosser of the three, with $31.51 million total through 10 days, compared to $25.63 million for Almost and $11.96 million for Bad through the same point. (Bad Santa 2 dropped a jaw-droppingly bad 82.3 percent this weekend.)
Warner Bros.’ drama Collateral Beauty took fourth place with a disappointing estimated $7.0 million. That’s 33.4 percent behind the $10.51 million of Will Smith’s previous December release, last year’s Concussion, which was itself considered a box office disappointment. Collateral also only starts with about half of the $14.28 million and $13.92 million earned by the two newcomers in their openings against last year’s blockbuster Star Wars film — Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip and Sisters, respectively. Collateral received an ‘A-‘ CinemaScore from an audience that was 59 percent female and 74 percent over age 25.
The top 10 films this weekend made an estimated $201.52 million total. That’s more than double the $71.52 million earned by the top 10 last weekend, but 33.3 percent below the $302.49 million earned by the top 10 on this weekend last year. Although, again, that weekend broke all time records and makes it something of an unfair comparison.
Lionsgate’s La La Land, which earned the fourth-best per-screen average opening of all time last weekend, expanded this weekend from five to 200 theaters and earning an estimated $4.51 million. Impressively, that ranks it in seventh place despite playing on at least 1,000 fewer screens than any other film in the top 10. After a near-record $176,200 per-screen average last weekend, that statistic dropped to an estimated $20,100 for this weekend, although that’s to be expected given its expansion.
Paramount’s fellow awards contender Fences started with an estimated $128 thousand on four screens. The drama starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis is expected to be a top nominee for Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Actress.
Rogue One dominated overseas just as it did domestically, launching with a massive estimated $135.5 million overseas weekend and debuting at #1 in all 54 markets in which it opened. Its $290.5 million global opening weekend ranks as the 21st-best of all time, behind 2011’s The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1. That’s even more impressive considering the film won’t open in China until January 6, meaning the overseas grosses excluding the highest-grossing foreign market. Notable openings included $21.0 million in the United Kingdom, $12.5 million in Germany, $10.8 million in Australia, and $10.0 million in France.
Studio Weekend Estimates for Friday, December 16 – Sunday, December 18, 2016:
|1||Rogue One: A Star Wars Story||$155,000,000||—||4,157||—||$37,287||$155,000,000||1||Disney|
|3||Office Christmas Party||$8,450,000||-50%||3,210||0||$2,632||$31,518,267||2||Paramount / DreamWorks|
|4||Collateral Beauty||$7,000,000||—||3,028||—||$2,312||$7,000,000||1||Warner Bros. / New Line|
|5||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||$5,030,000||-52%||3,036||-590||$1,657||$207,681,095||5||Warner Bros.|
|6||Manchester By the Sea||$4,156,338||33%||1,208||842||$3,441||$14,016,643||5||Roadside / Amazon|
|9||Trolls||$1,300,000||-57%||1,714||-1072||$758||$147,355,937||7||Fox / DreamWorks Animation|
|1||La La Land||$4,020,000||356%||200||195||$20,100||$5,260,166||2||Lionsgate / Summit|
|4||Bad Santa 2||$218,439||-82%||414||-1620||$528||$17,526,185||4||Broad Green Pictures|
|5||The Eagle Huntress||$146,021||-27%||112||-10||$1,304||$1,719,300||7||Sony Pictures Classics|
|6||Jack Reacher: Never Go Back||$105,000||-49%||235||-55||$447||$58,268,077||9||Paramount|
|7||Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween||$68,000||42%||136||10||$500||$73,151,198||9||Lionsgate|
|4||The Wasted Times||$90,000||—||20||—||$4,500||$90,000||1||China Lion|
|5||Elle (2016)||$35,534||-25%||24||-3||$1,481||$696,230||6||Sony Pictures Classics|
|6||Shut In||$23,300||6%||78||25||$299||$6,863,647||6||EuropaCorp Films|
|7||The Bad Kids||$2,250||—||1||—||$2,250||$2,250||1||FilmRise|
|8||Harry & Snowman||$1,500||-58%||3||-2||$500||$540,990||12||FilmRise|