Studio Weekend Estimates: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Fires Up $72M 2nd Weekend; Little Women ($16.5M) and Uncut Gems ($9.5M) Counterprogram Effectively

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker predictably continued its run as top dog at the box office in the final weekend of 2019, bringing in an estimated $72 million in its sophomore frame. Nonetheless, audiences enjoying their winter break spread the love among both holdovers and a trio of newcomers including Little Women, Spies in Disguise and Uncut Gems.

After enjoying the second-largest Christmas Day haul in box office history with $32.1 million—behind only franchise stablemate The Force Awakens’ $49.3 million)—The Rise of Skywalker fell 59% in its second weekend, improving on the sophomore performance of 2017’s The Last Jedi, which fell more than 67% due to controversy among the series’ core fanbase. Skywalker’s better hold and strong midweek business allowed it to catch up with The Last Jedi, bringing its North American total to $361.8 million versus The Last Jedi’s $368.1 million despite grossing nearly $40 million less in its opening weekend. After just ten days of release, the final entry in the Skywalker Saga stands at No. 7 on the list of top grossers in 2019, ahead of Disney’s Aladdin ($355.5 million) and just shy of Spider-Man: Far From Home ($390.5 million).

Remaining in second place was Sony’s Jumanji: The Next Level, which took in an estimated $35.3 million in its third weekend of release. That represents a substantial 33% weekend-to-weekend jump from last weekend for the family adventure film. The sequel’s $175.4 million gross so far puts it neck and neck with its franchise predecessor Welcome to the Jungle, which had $169 million at the same point in its run and ultimately finished with an impressive $404.5 million in North America thanks to unusually strong legs. If The Next Level continues to boast similar holds in the coming weeks it could potentially reach the same territory, though that kind of performance isn’t generally expected at this point.

Eking out a third-place finish (at least in terms of estimates) was Little Women, which enjoyed a superb debut of $16.52 million in 3,308 locations thanks to overwhelmingly positive reviews, a recognizable title (it’s the seventh film adaptation of the famed novel by Louisa May Alcott, a list that includes two silent film adaptations and one set in modern-day) and only moderate competition for female audiences, with Frozen II the only other current major release specifically targeted at women.

The Sony release has played strongly since opening to an impressive $6.4 million on Christmas Day, pulling in both younger moviegoers attracted by the film’s young cast — including Saoirse Ronan and Harry Potter star Emma Watson — and older audiences lured by the film’s fantastic critical reception (it stands at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and has made many year-end Top 10 lists), actress Meryl Streep and director Greta Gerwig, whose Lady Bird became one of 2017’s biggest “prestige” hits and was nominated for five Oscars including Best Picture. Through Sunday, the film has brought in a superb $29 million, way above the studio’s conservative $16-$17 million prediction heading into the weekend. With an A- Cinemascore and a promising Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score of 92% to date, look for this one to play strongly well into the new year.

Closely behind in fourth place was Disney’s Frozen II, which brought in an estimated $16.5 million in its sixth weekend of release. The animated sequel now has a powerful $421.3 million in the bank–officially surpassing the first Frozen’s lifetime domestic gross of $400.7 million–with a significant amount of gas still left in the tank as most families remain on holiday break through the first week of January.

Debuting in fifth place was Fox’s animated action-comedy Spies in Disguise, which brought in an estimated $13.2 million from 3,502 locations. That’s about what was anticipated for the Disney-released title, which suffered due to fierce competition from such family-oriented holdovers as The Rise of Skywalker, Jumanji and Frozen II as well as a relative lack of buzz and decent but not great reviews. With a reported budget of $111 million, it’s going to be an uphill battle for the much-delayed film, which was originally slated for release back in January. Since launching with $4.8 million on Christmas Day, Spies in Disguise now stands at $22.1 million through Sunday.

In sixth, Lionsgate’s Knives Out continued its impressive run with an estimated $9.7 million in its fifth weekend of release. That’s a hefty 49% improvement over last weekend, bringing the total for the Rian Johnson-directed mystery to a sensational $110.2 million.

After racking up impressive per-screen averages in just five theaters over the last two weekends, Uncut Gems was unleashed in 2,314 locations and brought in a solid $9.5 million over the three-day period, good enough for seventh place. That’s a better-than-expected debut for the critically acclaimed A24 release, which features a rare, Oscar-buzzed dramatic performance from star Adam Sandler. Notably, exit polls from moviegoers have been rather muted—it only garnered a C+ Cinemascore and has a weak 55% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes—so long-term playability remains a question mark. The film has brought in just over $20 million to date.

Cats fell 27% to an estimated $4.8 million in its second weekend in eighth place, bringing the total for the critically-derided musical to just $17.8 million after ten days of release. The overwhelmingly negative buzz around the Universal release certainly hasn’t done it any favors in a crowded marketplace—though counterintuitively, that also may be what’s drawing some moviegoers to shell out money for it, given rampant social media chatter that has proclaimed the film a new “so-bad-it’s-good” cult classic. That won’t be enough to save the $100 million title’s box office fortunes, though it could potentially lead to a lucrative afterlife on home-viewing formats long-term.

In ninth place, Bombshell eased 8% from its wide debut to bring in $4.7 million in its second weekend of release and third weekend overall, giving the Lionsgate title $15.6 million to date. Finally in tenth, Richard Jewell brought in an estimated $3 million, a slight uptick from last weekend. The Warner Bros. drama now has $16.08 million through the end of its third weekend.

Limited Release:

Universal’s WWI drama 1917 opened to an estimated $570K on 11 screens, good for a per-screen average of over $51K. Since opening on Christmas Day, the critically-acclaimed title has grossed just over $1 million. It goes wide on January 10.

Warner Bros.’ Just Mercy debuted on four screens this weekend and brought in an estimated $110K, good for a per-screen average of $27.5K. Since opening on Christmas Day, the Jamie Foxx-Michael B. Jordan drama has brought in $228K. It opens wide next month.

Neon opened the Alfre Woodard drama Clemency on two screens this Friday and brought in an estimated $37K for a per-screen average of $18.5K.

Overseas Update:

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker grossed an estimated $94.3 million overseas this weekend, bringing its international haul to $363 million and its global tally to $724.8 million. Top markets include the U.K. ($51.4 million), Germany ($44.1 million), France ($34.7 million), Japan ($29.2 million) and Australia ($21.2 million). The film’s haul in China — where Star Wars doesn’t enjoy nearly the level of popularity as it does elsewhere in the world — remains muted, with a total of just $17.4 million in the country to date.

Jumanji: The Next Level grossed an estimated $61.6 million overseas, giving the threequel $296 million overseas and $472 million globally to date. The Sony title has grossed $41 million in China, $27.9 million in the U.K., $18.3 million in France, $14.6 million in Russia and $14.4 million in Indonesia.

Frozen II scooped up an estimated $42.2 million from 53 markets overseas this weekend, bringing its international cume to $796.3 million and its global total to $1.217 billion, making it the third highest-grossing animated title of all time worldwide. That total puts it just shy of the first Frozen‘s global tally of $1.274 billion, a number it should easily surpass next month. Top markets to date for the animated sequel include China ($117.1 million), Korea ($93.8 million), Japan ($87.4 million), the U.K. ($59.8 million) and Germany ($50.5 million).

Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates (Domestic)

FRI, DEC. 27 – SUN, DEC. 29

WIDE (1000+)

1 Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker $72,000,000 -59% 4,406 0 $16,341 $361,796,816 2 Disney
2 Jumanji: The Next Level $35,300,000 33% 4,227 0 $8,351 $175,456,000 3 Sony Pictures
3 Little Women $16,525,000 3,308 $4,995 $29,000,000 1 Sony Pictures
4 Frozen II $16,500,000 27% 3,265 -400 $5,054 $421,290,889 6 Disney
5 Spies in Disguise $13,200,000 3,502 $3,769 $22,087,856 1 20th Century Fox
6 Knives Out $9,725,000 50% 2,022 -513 $4,810 $110,237,095 5 Lionsgate
7 Uncut Gems $9,552,812 3857% 2,348 2343 $4,068 $21,096,096 3 A24
8 Cats $4,830,000 -27% 3,380 0 $1,429 $17,820,175 2 Universal Pictures
9 Bombshell $4,700,000 -8% 1,480 0 $3,176 $15,631,427 3 Lionsgate
10 Richard Jewell $3,010,000 17% 2,502 0 $1,203 $16,089,327 3 Warner Bros.
11 A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood $1,445,000 8% 1,014 -510 $1,425 $55,863,000 6 Sony Pictures
12 Black Christmas $910,000 -50% 1,514 -1111 $601 $9,628,330 3 Universal Pictures

LIMITED (100 — 999)

1 Ford v. Ferrari $1,800,000 -3% 793 -640 $2,270 $106,138,359 7 20th Century Fox
2 Queen & Slim $1,760,000 -5% 699 -379 $2,518 $40,168,280 5 Universal Pictures
3 Parasite $552,956 15% 170 -57 $3,253 $22,328,632 12 NEON
4 Jojo Rabbit $250,000 31% 208 -22 $1,202 $20,917,369 11 Fox Searchlight
5 21 Bridges $250,000 9% 229 -121 $1,092 $27,680,000 6 STX Entertainment
6 A Hidden Life $208,000 -16% 118 12 $1,763 $756,065 3 Fox Searchlight
7 Maleficent: Mistress of Evil $178,000 65% 155 -25 $1,148 $113,231,744 11 Disney
8 Dark Waters $175,000 -45% 140 -311 $1,250 $10,532,219 6 Focus Features
9 Playing with Fire $165,000 3% 188 -99 $878 $44,067,851 8 Paramount Pictures
10 Midway $142,000 -11% 142 -141 $1,000 $56,203,922 8 Lionsgate
11 Harriet $130,000 20% 112 -91 $1,161 $42,481,420 9 Focus Features

PLATFORM (1 — 99)

1 Ip Man 4: The Finale $1,034,341 70 $14,776 $1,443,692 1 Well Go USA Entertainment
2 1917 $950,000 11 $86,364 $1,388,099 1 Universal Pictures
3 Just Mercy $111,000 4 $27,750 $229,072 1 Warner Bros.
4 Pain and Glory $47,899 15% 41 -3 $1,168 $3,855,241 13 Sony Pictures Classics
5 The Song Of Names $41,156 10 $4,116 $77,477 1 Sony Pictures Classics
6 Clemency $37,078 2 $18,539 $37,078 1 Neon
7 63 Up $33,810 3% 17 -4 $1,989 $229,279 5 BritBox
8 Invisible life $6,202 -24% 2 0 $3,101 $21,137 2 Amazon Studios
9 En Brazos de un Asesino $5,000 -33% 18 -6 $278 $420,687 4 Lionsgate / Pantelion Films
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