Weekend Box Office: The Global Box Office Goes ‘Rogue’

Gee, didn’t see this one coming: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opened at number one.

The latest entry in the never-ending Star Wars franchise blasted off in theaters worldwide this weekend, positioning itself to dominate the remainder of the 2016 box office and beyond while becoming the next billion dollar baby for parent company Disney.

The first standalone feature of the series, Rogue One debuted on 4,157 screens this weekend, earning an estimated $155 million Stateside and an additional $135 million from overseas. The domestic opening for Rogue One is the second best all time December opening behind last year’s The Force Awakens, which debuted to a record $248 million.

The daily breakdown for Rogue One’s first domestic weekend was $71.1 million on Friday –of which $29 million came from Thursday night showings-, $46.25 million on Saturday and an estimated $37.5 million for Sunday. The opening weekend total for Rogue was roughly 43% lower than the debut numbers for Awakens, but that was to be expected since Awakens had the major benefit of being the first new Star Wars film in over a decade.

With solid backing from critics -84% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes- and strong word-of-mouth among viewers and Star Wars fans, the road ahead for Rogue One should be a good one. At the very least, the domestic haul for Rogue One should reach $450-500 million, which would make it the highest-grossing live action film of 2016. It could possibly climb higher than that.

On the international front, Rogue One should come close to hitting the one billion dollar mark. Most markets opened the film this weekend, but three major ones – Japan, South Korea and China, – have yet to open the action epic. Rogue should see a sizeable spike in its box office revenue over The Force Awakens in China thanks to the presence of actors Donnie Yen and Wen Jiang.

The Mouse House also commanded second place this weekend with Moana. The animated hit nabbed an estimated $11.6 million from 3,587 screens, a decrease of only 37% from one week ago. Moana has earned $162 million so far domestically and an additional $118.4 million from foreign markets. With kids heading out of school for holiday break this week; Moana’s box office fortunes are set to skyrocket over the next few weeks.

Landing in third place was Paramount’s Office Christmas Party, with an estimated $8.5 million from 3,210 theaters. 50% less rowdy than it was in its first weekend, the R-rated comedy has earned $31.5 million so far and should wind down near the $50 million mark.

Most studios opted to steer clear of the Rogue One Express, holding off on new wide releases until next weekend. The sole exception to this was Warner Brothers. They offered up some counterprogramming in the form of the Will Smith drama Collateral Beauty. The move, while brave, proved to be a fatal one as the critically maligned weepie earned a dismal $7 million from 3,028 theaters. Beauty’s non-opening represents a career worst for a Will Smith film opening in wide release.

Rounding out the top five was another Warner feature, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with $5 million from 3,036 screens. Off 52%, the Harry Potter prequel has scored $207.6 million domestically with an additional $509.8 million from overseas.

Aside from the latest Star Wars offering, the big news in the top ten was the second weekend of Summit’s acclaimed musical La La Land. The future Oscar contender sang up a tuneful $4.1 million from only 200 theaters, which was good enough for a seventh place finish. After two weeks of limited release, La La Land has scored $5.2 million domestically and $11 million from overseas. The film will expand nationwide on Christmas Day.

Outside the top five:

6. Manchester By The Sea (Roadside/Amazon) $4.1 million (+31%); $14 million

8. Arrival (Paramount) $2.7 million (-50%); $86.4 million

9. Doctor Strange (Disney) $2 million (-55%); $226 million

10. Nocturnal Animals (Focus) $1.4 million (-56%); $8.8 million

For the Christmas holiday, six new offerings will deck the multiplex halls: Assassins Creed, Sing, Passengers, Fences and Why Him? Nothing will come remotely close to Rogue One.

Have a safe and happy Holiday, everyone! We’ll talk again in 2017.

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