Debuting with an estimated $155 million domestically from 4,157 theaters, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is off to a strong start as it is already the 15th highest grossing release of 2016 after just three days. It will, however, soon find itself competing for audience attention over the upcoming holiday season, which features no fewer than five new wide releases as well as the continued expansion of films contending for Oscar attention. As a result, Rogue One's performance will be interesting to track as it is something of an unprecedented release given it's only the second movie to have ever opened over $100 million in December and yet it won't likely have the sheer staying power of its predecessor, The Force Awakens.
Films such as The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and The Dark Knight dropped 61.6%, 53.1% and 53.5% respectively after similar openings, but none of them were December releases and none of them faced as much competition as Rogue One will see beginning as early as this Wednesday. To put those second weekends into perspective, after a nearly $250 million opening Force Awakens dropped only 40% in its second weekend in the face of four new wide releases, the limited release of Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight and the expansion of The Big Short. By comparison, Rogue One will be up against Passengers, Assassin's Creed and Sing starting Wednesday.
WANT MORE? Compare Rogue One's Opening to The Dark Knight, Hunger Games and Catching Fire Here!
All that said, this is still a Star Wars film and audience reaction has been strong. The film received an "A" CinemaScore across all demographics as it played to crowds that were 66% male versus 34% female of which 39% were under the age of 25. It also holds an 84% rating on RottenTomatoes and after its initial user rating on IMDb fell from 8.7 to 7.7 leading up to its release date, it saw a strong uptick as it currently holds an 8.3 rating as opening day audiences show their approval.
Of Rogue One's opening weekend total, only 38% came from 3D showings despite the fact 84% of its 4,157 opening weekend theaters were capable of exhibiting the film in 3-D. Unfortunately, there is no way of telling just how many showings were in 3-D vs. 2-D, which puts that 38% number into some perspective as the theaters capable of showing the film in 3-D most likely also had screens exhibiting the film in 2-D. A further breakdown of the numbers show the film brought in $19 million from over 400 IMAX screens and $17.9 million from 550 premium large format screenings.
Internationally the film made a splash with an estimated $135.5 million from 54 markets, delivering a $290.5 million worldwide release, finishing just outside the top twenty and currently positioned behind The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 at $291 million, though that could easily change once actuals are reported.
Of the film's international opening, it brought in an estimated $21 million in the UK, $12.5 million in Germany, $10.8 million in Australia, $10 million in France, $7.9 million in Russia, $5.3 million in Brazil, $5.1 million in Mexico, $4.5 million in Spain, $3.5 million in Sweden and $3.1 million in Italy. Next weekend sees no new openings for the film, which began its run in ~71% of the international marketplace and still has openings in South Korea (Dec. 28) and China (Jan. 6) to look forward to.
Along with Rogue One, Disney also scored second position at the weekend box office as Moana brought in an estimated $11.6 million, bringing its domestic cume to $161.8 million as it leap frogs Star Trek Beyond to become the 12th highest grossing release of 2016.
Third place belongs to Paramount's Office Christmas Party, which dipped 50% compared to its opening weekend as its domestic cume now stands at $31.5 million.
In fourth is where we find the weekend's other new wide release and compared to Rogue One things weren't quite so rosy for New Line's Collateral Beauty. The debut of the sentimental holiday weeper in 3,028 theaters delivered the worst wide opening for a Will Smith-led feature ever with an estimated $7 million, well below the previous worst opening, which was last year's $10.5 million debut for Concussion. Opening day audiences gave the film an "A-" CinemaScore as it played to crowds that were 41% male versus 59% female, of which 74% were over the age of 25. Looking ahead, the crowded upcoming marketplace doesn't paint a very good picture for the film's future prospects as it would have needed to make a far more impressive impact over its opening weekend to stand out in the crowd.
Collateral Beauty also made its international bow this weekend, pulling in an estimated $4.6 million from 16 markets including a $1.6 million opening in Mexico, $1.4 million debut in Russia and opened with $316,000 in the United Arab Emirates. Additional upcoming major markets include an opening in France on December 21 followed by releases in Spain (Dec 23) and the UK (Dec 26).
Rounding out the top five is WB's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which brought in an estimated $5 million as its domestic cume now stands at $207.6 million. The film also added another $14.5 million internationally this weekend from 66 markets as its oversees gross-to-date now stands just shy of $510 million for a worldwide total nearing $720 million.
In sixth position Manchester by the Sea was able to narrowly hold off La La Land by just $136,338 based on estimates. Given Manchester was playing in 1,008 theaters more than La La that only makes sense as it brought in an estimated $4.15 million from 1,208 theaters ($3,441 per theater) compared to La La Land's $4 million from just 200 theaters ($20,100 per theater).
Both films are now playing internationally as well, with La La Land bringing in an estimated $4.7 million from 14 markets for an early $11.3 million international cume. Manchester debuted in just its first international market this weekend, delivering an estimated $505,000 from 162 theaters in France for a ninth place finish.
In limited release this weekend, Paramount debuted Denzel Washington's Fences in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles where it brought in an estimated $128,000 for a $32,000 per theater average. The film, which carries a reported budget around $24 million, will expand nationwide on Christmas Day.
Additional limited releases this weekend include The Orchard's release of Neruda, which brought in an estimated $28,265 from three theaters on the heels of its recent Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. The film will continue to play in NY & LA through Christmas, then expand to major markets in January.
Overall, the top twelve grossed a combined $204 million this weekend, making it the second largest December three-day weekend ever behind only the same weekend last year.
Looking ahead, next weekend is Christmas weekend and it's the first time Christmas has fallen on a Sunday since 2011 and it's going to be a wild time at the box office. Beyond being the second weekend for Rogue One, things get started on Wednesday with the release of Sony's Passengers in ~3,300 theaters, the video game adaptation Assassin's Creed debuts n ~3,000 theaters and Universal and Illumination's animated feature Sing arrives in ~4,000 theaters. After that, Fox's Why Him? debuts on Friday in ~2,800 theaters while Paramount will deliver expand Fences nationwide on Christmas day along with the limited release of Martin Scorsese's Silence.
Other limited releases include Ben Affleck's Live by Night, Julieta, Patriots Day, Hidden Figures and A Monster Calls. All that and the continued release of Rogue One makes forecasting how things will turn out incredibly difficult, but we'll do our best in just a couple days.
For now, for a look at this weekend's estimated results click here and we'll be updating the charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.
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