Weekend Box Office (December 30, 2016 - January 2, 2017)
THIS WEEKEND For the second straight time, the new year was kicked off with a Star Wars movie holding onto the number one spot in its third round of play. This time it was Rogue One which ruled the New Year's holiday frame by grossing an estimated $64.3M over the four-day Friday-to-Monday span. The Disney smash hit dropped 33% from its four-day Christmas weekend gross and suffered the worst decline of any movie in the top ten this weekend.
After 18 full days of release, Rogue One has amassed a stellar $439.7M making it the second largest domestic blockbuster from 2016 trailing only Disney stablemate Finding Dory which did $486.3M. The Death Star adventure was never expected to come close to the numbers posted by Star Wars: The Force Awakens from a year ago, but it did see more of a slowdown during the holiday season after the initial rush from opening weekend. Rogue One's first frame was 38% lower than TFA's but after 18 days of holiday play, the cume is now down 41% from the $750.2M that last year's pic banked at the same point following the Christmas and New Year's periods.
With people heading back to work and school this week, grosses for all films will fall back to normal levels although many college students will still be off. The road ahead should see Rogue One get to around $480M after the coming weekend allowing it to surpass the $474.5M lifetime tally of 1999's Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace which includes re-releases. It would then pass Dory to become the biggest North American movie from 2016 and end its run in the neighborhood of $550M which would be number six on the list of all-time domestic blockbusters. A fantastic result for a spinoff film with mostly new characters.
Overseas this weekend, Rogue One collected an estimated $45.8M through Sunday boosting the international total to $350M and the worldwide gross to $789.7M to date. Korea opened this weekend to $5.6M over five days which was a far cry from the $14.2M five-day launch in November for Fantastic Beasts. Rogue One's final market is China which opens this Friday. Force Awakens similarly opened there over the same January weekend a year ago on its way to a $124.2M take from that lucrative market. The final worldwide gross for Rogue looks to be on track for about $1.1 billion, or maybe a little more.
As with the Christmas holiday session it was a two-picture marketplace, but this time the animated film Sing was only a small distance behind the latest Star Wars saga. Inching up 3% from a week ago, the Universal hit grossed an estimated haul of $56.4M which propelled the cume to a stunning $180M after only 13 days. A final in the area of $240M could result making it the fifth 2016 toon to break the $200M mark. Global stands at $277.8M.
The Jennifer Lawrence-Chris Pratt space adventure Passengers remained in third place with an estimated $20.7M over four days dipping 9% from last weekend. Sony has banked $66M from North America and nearly $126M worldwide.
Cracking the $400M global mark, Disney's Moana rose up to fourth place in its sixth weekend with an estimated $14.3M rising 14% from its Christmas frame take. The island toon joined the double century mark and saw its domestic gross climb to $213.4M while $189.1M from overseas markets put the worldwide figure at $402.5M. Brazil and Korea open this month while Disney-loving Japan gets Moana in March. The worldwide tally should be able to go north of $600M.
Fox finished fifth with the R-rated comedy Why Him? which fell 16% to an estimated $13M in its second weekend. Cume is $37.6M. Denzel Washington followed with his directorial and acting project Fences which took in an estimated $12.7M giving Paramount $32.4M to date. The four-day take was up 10% from last weekend, however it was only in wide release for two of the four days from the yuletide frame making for an unfair comparison.
The high-profile awards contender La La Land grossed an estimated $12.3M from 750 locations and posted the best average in the top ten with $16,440. Lionsgate sits at $37M thus far with plenty more to go with Golden Globes being awarded this Sunday followed by Oscar nominations being announced in three weeks. Hitting $100M cannot be ruled out.
Dropping 27% from its opening weekend was the action entry Assassin's Creed with an estimated $10.9M over the long weekend. Fox has captured $41.9M to date. Audiences continued to sample the Oscar hopeful Manchester By The Sea which jumped up 27% to an estimated $5.5M with no addition of screens. Cume is $29.9M for Roadside Attractions which had a record high box office year in 2016 with this plus other indie hits.
Rounding out the top ten was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which collected an estimated $5.4M, up 17%, for a new domestic cume of $225.4M. Overseas markets have contributed an extra $551.4M putting the wizarding pic at a towering $776.8M worldwide for the year, 71% from overseas, on its way past $800M with four more installments in the series still to come.
Many awards contenders did solid business in limited or moderate release below the top ten. The Weinstein Co. saw Lion gross an estimated $2.9M from 525 sites for a $5,610 average and $6.8M total. Natalie Portman's Jackie did an estimated $2M from 359 locations for a $5,571 average giving Fox Searchlight $7.5M so far. Fox's NASA scientist pic Hidden Figures enjoyed the best average with an estimated $1.1M from only 25 locations for a sizzling $45,800 average and $2.6M overall ahead of its promising nationwide expansion this Friday into 2,300 locations.
In platform release, the Mark Wahlberg starrer Patriots Day did an estimated $200,000 averaging a solid $28,571 from seven theaters for CBS Films and Lionsgate. A24 watched the Annette Bening film 20th Century Women debut to an estimated $146,000 from four houses for a potent $36,500 average. Silence from director Martin Scorsese grossed an estimated $110,000 from four locations for a $27,500 average for Paramount. All will expand this month.
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Compared to four-day projections, Rogue One came in a little below my $70M forecast while Sing was very close to my $58M prediction.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Underworld: Blood Wars opens.
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: January 2, 2017 at 5:45PM ET
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