Christmas Weekend Box Office: The Force Is Still Strong with This One

There were no major surprises with the Christmas box office. However, with movies opening on Wednesday, Friday and even Sunday, this weekend’s numbers aren’t exactly as they appear at first glance.

For the second week, ‘Rogue One‘ topped the charts. Drawing $64.3 million, the film closed out its first ten days with a domestic total of $286.3 million. Moviegoers in international markets are also eating up the ‘Star Wars’ story. Overseas, the good prequel has grossed $237.4 million, giving it a worldwide total of $523.7 million. Having passed the $500 million milestone, the $200 million blockbuster is already believed to be out of the red, which makes me wonder if Disney will toss aside its one-a-year plans for ‘Star Wars’ movies and move towards a fire-’em-out approach like it’s doing with Marvel properties. For the sake of quality, I hope that’s not the case. I don’t want to see Disney become the Ikea of the film industry.

Universal and Illumination’s ‘Sing‘ debuted in second place. With a Wednesday opening, it earned $20.7 million before the three-day weekend (which brought in $35.2 million) even kicked off. With a five-day total of $55.9 million, the $75 million family flick is off to a good start. Playing in nearly two dozen international markets, it made $17.2 million overseas and saw a worldwide five-day debut of $73.1 million. Those aren’t exactly ‘Secret Life of Pets’ numbers, but there aren’t any other kids’ movies opening in the near future to steal its thunder.

Sony’s sci-fi romance ‘Passengers‘ stars two of the hottest celebrities out there right now, yet it struggled to find an audience over its first five days. Between Wednesday and Thursday, it pulled $7.3 million. Then, over the three-day weekend that followed, it only drew $14.8 million, which was just enough to land it in third place. The $22.1 million five-day kick-off of this $110 million picture gives more than enough reason for Sony to worry. It will need a wildly successful international launch for studio execs to feel good about this one.

Opening on Friday, the R-rated comedy ‘Why Him?‘ landed at #4 with $11 million. It also made $2.1 million from a yet-to-be listed number of international markets. The movie carries a steep $38 million price tag that likely won’t be recouped until its home video release.

Assassin’s Creed‘ rounded out the Top 5 with a dismal launch. Videogame enthusiasts showed up on Wednesday and Thursday, fueling a $7.5 million total that made it look like the film would give ‘Passengers’ a run for its money. However, the three-day weekend proved far less eventful than hoped. The actual weekend resulted in $10.2 million, giving the $125 million adaptation a $17.7 million five-day total. Overseas, it grossed $14.2 million, placing its worldwide debut at $31.9 million.

The rest of this weekend’s big news came from Oscar hopefuls in limited release.

Hidden Figures‘, which Fox opened on 25 screens on Christmas Day, managed to earn $515,499. Mind you, with a Sunday debut, that total includes only one day at the box office. The $20,620 per-screen average may have been tripled had it received the usual three-day weekend treatment.

Patriots Day‘, which is the Peter Berg-directed drama about the Boston Marathon bombing, rolled out to seven screens last Wednesday. Over its first two days, it made $95,412. Over the three-day weekend, it hit $161,306 and decent per-screen average of $23,044.

Martin Scorsese’s much anticipated ‘Silence‘ launched at four locations on Friday and earned $131,000. I’m hoping that the great $32,750 per-screen average will drive Paramount to expand the drama sooner than its planned mid-January roll-out.

Warner Bros. released Ben Affleck’s new gangster drama ‘Live by Night‘ at four locations on Christmas Day. On that one day, it stole $33,000. Without context, the $8,250 per-screen average looks bad. However, just like ‘Hidden Figures’, had ‘Live By night’ opened on Friday, that number could have been tripled.

A Monster Calls‘ has already come and gone from many international markets, yet it only opened in North America on Friday. From four locations, it grossed $30,910 and a per-screen average of $7,728. Even though those numbers aren’t dazzling, as of now, Focus still plans to expand nationwide in mid-January.

Top 10:

1. ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ (Buena Vista) – $64,377,000

2. ‘Sing’ (Universal) – $35,290,000

3. ‘Passengers’ (Sony) – $14,850,000

4. ‘Why Him?’ (Fox) – $11,050,000

5. ‘Assassin’s Creed’ (Fox) – $10,280,000

6. ‘Moana’ (Buena Vista) – $7,402,000

7. ‘Fences’ (Paramount) – $6,688,000

8. ‘La La Land’ (Lionsgate) – $5,729,000

9. ‘Office Christmas Party’ (Paramount) – $5,115,000

10. ‘Collateral Beauty’ (Warner Bros.) – $4,275,000

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