'Rogue One' Set to Close Out 2016 With Third Straight Weekend at #1
The final weekend of 2016 features no new wide releases, but should feature plenty of tickets sold across the country with most everyone getting an extended weekend off work and school. Just as last weekend saw Christmas Day fall on Sunday for the first time since 2011, this weekend sees New Year's Day fall on Sunday, which means we'll be looking closely at the same weekends from 2011 and 2005 for some inkling as to how this weekend's holdovers should perform. That said, look for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to finish at #1 yet again as it will soon become one of the top fifteen all-time films domestically, and from there is sure to pass Avengers: Age of Ultron's $459 million domestic gross for tenth place on the chart.

At #1 for a third weekend in a row, Rogue One should be looking at a hold that will deliver around $60 million or so for the three-day. Of course, the big question this weekend will be to wonder just what kind of effect the college football playoff games will have on December 31 box office not to mention the final NFL games of the regular season on New Year's Day and even more bowl games on Monday.

In 2005 and 2011 it was a bit of a different story as the college football playoff system was not yet in place with the Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl taking place on Monday, January 2. By comparison, this year sees the Orange Bowl being played on Friday night followed by the first two games in the playoffs, the Peach and Fiesta Bowl, on Saturday. As mentioned, Sunday sees the end of the NFL regular season followed by the Cotton, Rose and Sugar Bowls on Monday. The impact of these games is likely to be felt more by adult-targeted features that skew more toward males while films targeting families and children, such as Sing and Moana should benefit.

That said, we're expecting Sing to holdover well, bringing in around $44 million for a second place finish over the three-day as it nears $170 million by the end of the day Monday.

Third place should go to Sony's Passengers with anywhere from $15-17 million for the three-day. The $110 million sci-fi feature disappointed last weekend with $15 million over the holiday three-day as it hopes to top $65 million by end of day Monday.

Next we come to Denzel Washington's Fences, which debuted in four theaters twelve days ago and expanded into 2,233 theaters this past Sunday where it brought in a sturdy $6.6 million followed by $4.9 million on Monday. Based on that performance the studio has drawn a comparison to last year's Joy, which debuted with $6.8 million on Christmas Day, but that was a Friday and doesn't make for a solid apples-to-apples comparison when attempting to forecast just how well Fences will do this weekend.

One comparison we have our eye on is Steven Spielberg's War Horse, which opened on Christmas Day in 2011 and brought in $7.5 million from 2,376 theaters. The following weekend it saw a 92% increase, delivering $14.4 million from 2,547 theaters. This weekend Fences will be adding 68 theaters and playing in a total of 2,301 locations and while we aren't anticipating a 90+% increase a la War Horse, a 60% increase doesn't seem remotely out of the question for a weekend around $10.5 million, though that might not be enough for a top five finish.

Expected to edge out Fences in the top ten are a pair of Fox films in Why Him? and Assassin's Creed. Neither blew the doors off with their debuts last weekend with Why Him? delivering $11 million over the three-day and Assassin's Creed delivering in true video game adaptation fashion with bad reviews and a $17.7 million five-day opening on a $125 million budget. Both films should bring in around $11-12.5 million over the three-day this weekend.

Also of note within the weekend top ten will be to see how awards season contender La La Land plays after it expanded into 734 theaters last Sunday and ultimately delivered a $5.75 million weekend. Looking ahead to this weekend, it doesn't seem at all unreasonably to expect upwards of a 60% increase compared to last weekend for a three-day weekend around $9.2 million and even that could be conservative. The film's next expansion will be on January 6, one day after Oscar nominations voting begins.

Additional films to keep an eye on include Martin Scorsese's Silence, which will continue to play in four theaters this weekend before expanding to ~50 theaters next weekend and even further the weekend after that. Lionsgate and CBS's Patriots Day will continue to play in seven theaters this weekend and will expand next weekend as will A Monster Calls and Hidden Figures.

This weekend's three-day forecast is directly below.

  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (4,157 theaters) - $59.6 M
  • Sing (4,029 theaters) - $45.0 M
  • Passengers (3,478 theaters) - $17.3 M
  • Why Him? (3,008 theaters) - $12.5 M
  • Assassin's Creed (2,996 theaters) - $11.8 M
  • Fences (2,301 theaters) - $10.7 M
  • Moana (2,775 theaters) - $10.0 M
  • La La Land (750 theaters) - $9.2 M
  • Office Christmas Party (2,347 theaters) - $6.0 M
  • Collateral Beauty (2,745 theaters) - $5.6 M

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