Weekend Box Office (December 23 - 26, 2016)
THIS WEEKEND The Christmas holiday session saw a wide variety of films take a slice of the expanded box office pie with the latest Star Wars story holding onto number one during a time when Christmas Eve gave all films a hit on Saturday followed by the yuletide rush on Sunday and the observed holiday on Monday leading to four-day estimates covering Friday to Monday. Studios spaced out their product with new movies opening on Wednesday or Friday plus key awards contenders expanding nationwide on Sunday.
Rogue One dominated the box office with an estimated $96.1M haul over four days boosting Disney's epic total to a hefty $318.1M after just 11 full days of play. With everyday between Christmas and New Year's playing like a Saturday, the new sci-fi spinoff saga will earn plenty more by the time it rings in 2017 and should crack the $400M mark next weekend. A year ago at this same point, The Force Awakens only reached 61% of its domestic final so Rogue One may also surpass the $500M mark too.
International markets added $47.1M this weekend for a global frame of $111.5M and a new worldwide gross of $523.8M with the holidays still to come. Korea opens later this week and China follows as the final territory on January 6.
For those not interested in blowing up the Death Star, Universal offered up its latest animated comedy Sing and the turnout was tremendous. The PG-rated kidpic opened with strength in second place grossing an estimated $56.1M over the four-day holiday span and a sturdy $76.7M since kicking off its release on Wednesday. For the four-day weekend, that translated to a stellar $13,943 average from 4,022 theaters.
Reviews were fairly upbeat and were more than good enough for a toon playing during school holidays. Sing played to a broad family audience and the A CinemaScore grade bodes well for the weeks ahead. This marks two original toon blockbusters for Illumination and Universal this year after The Secret Life of Pets. Next up is Despicable Me 3 next summer which should lure in plenty of cash again.
The big two accounted for 60% of the $252.8M spent over the long weekend on the top ten films, but there were other choices that moviegoers sampled too. Leading the rest of the pack was the sci-fi film Passengers which opened to an estimated $23.1M over the long Friday-to-Monday period and $30.4M since its Wednesday debut. Reviews were weak for the PG-13 film and instead, starpower from Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt was used to draw in ticket buyers. Sony enjoyed a $6,642 average from 3,478 locations over the four-day period.
The new Bryan Cranston-James Franco comedy Why Him? debuted in fourth place with an estimated $16.7M over four days. Fox averaged $5,730 from 2,917 locations and studio data showed that the crowd skewed towards adult women as 55% were female and 54% were over 25. This demo tends to come out over a longer stretch of time over the holidays so the cume is likely to rise fast by next week. Reviews were not so good for the $38M film.
Action thriller Assassin's Creed debuted in fifth place with an estimated $15M over the four-day span from 2,970 sites for a $5,051 average. Launching on Wednesday, Fox's total is $22.5M over six days despite negative reviews. The PG-13 pic adapted from a video game played 64% male and 54% over 25. Produced for $125M, Creed will be looking for a healthy international run to become a moneymaker.
Denzel Washington's new film Fences landed in sixth place over the four-day period despite being in wide release for only of those days. Paramount went nationwide on Christmas Day Sunday into 2,233 locations and grossed an estimated $11.4M with most all of it coming from only the Sunday-Monday portion. That made for a good $5,090 average for the well-reviewed film which the superstar directed. Audiences gave a nice A- CinemaScore grade and the breakdown was 59% female and 81% over 25. Fences cost under $25M to produce and hopes to benefit from good buzz to take it through the holidays and well into January.
Former chart champ Moana dipped to an estimated $10.4M boosting Disney's cume to $183.5M with plenty more to come from the holiday week ahead. Oscar hopeful La La Land expanded national to 734 locations for Christmas and banked an estimated $9.7M over four days. With $17.6M thus far, the Lionsgate musical averaged a stellar $13,215 and has a promising road ahead as awards season continues.
Paramount's comedy Office Christmas Party followed with an estimated $7.3M for a new total of $44.3M. Rounding out the top ten was Will Smith's flop Collateral Beauty with an estimated $7.1M. The good news for Warner Bros. was that the four-day take was about even with the opening weekend. The bad news was that the cume stands at only $18.1M with a crowded marketplace giving its target audience of adults plenty of other options.
Get earlier box office updates and analysis by following BoxOfficeGuru.com on Twitter.
Watch the trailer for Transformers: The Last Knight.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for next week's preview of New Year's weekend.
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: December 26, 2016 at 6:10PM ET
©1997 - 2016 Box Office Guru