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Weekend Box Office: Rogue One Rings in the New Year With Style; Sing Sounds Off

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By Chris Kavan - 01/01/17 at 08:53 PM CT

Welcome to the new year everyone! While the box office may look a lot like it did last year (that is, last weekend) there were some surprises in store after the crowded Christmas box office had a chance to breath. Most notably Fences muscled its way in to the top five while Assassin's Creed crumbled. Even if there were no new wide releases over the weekend, limited release films still managed to make some waves and I think we can all agree that 2017 started off in a good way at the box office.

1) ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

For the third straight weekend, the Force continued to be strong with Rogue One. The one-off film managed a very healthy $49 million over the weekend and will likely wind up with $63.6 million with Monday factored in. With a drop of just 23% (and the fifth-best third weekend on record), it easily crossed the $400 million mark with a new total of right around $440 million. It also topped Captain America: Civil War ($408 million) to become the second-biggest movie of 2016 and it won't be long before it catches Finding Dory ($486 million) to take the title outright. It is also rising on the all-time charts, passing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire ($425 million) to take 14th place on that list. With numbers like these, Rogue One should have no problem topping $500 million and is likely to wind up between the $550 - $600 million mark, even as competition starts to heat up as we head in to January. I have a feeling this film is going to stick around long into the new year and will have no problem taking on the competition head on.

2) SING

Illumination Entertainment is also hitting a high note with Sing. The animated crowd-pleaser has the family audience clearly in its grasp, jumping 18% from its opening Christmas weekend and earning $41.4 million (which should rise to about $54 million on Monday), giving it a new total of $177.3 million ($281 million worldwide and counting). That means it has already more than doubled its $75 million budget and should be able to top $200 million by next week with a run at $250 million very probable. It should have no problem passing The Lorax ($214 million) and making at run at the original Despicable Me ($251.5 million) to move up on Illumination's all-time list - but even if it falls short, Sing is going to be a smash hit for the animation giant, which is sure to have another home run when Despicable Me 3 drops this June.

3) PASSENGERS

The Chris Pratt/Jennifer Lawrence space romance/drama/action film Passengers also managed a slight improvement over the weekend with a $15.8 million (up 6%) showing (likely a $20.6 million total come Monday). It is following the same pattern as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - and it could top out over $100 million, but there is no guarantee. Its $66 million (likely) total is still a ways off from its $110 million budget. While I thought the film was good - it wasn't great - a solid choice but not likely to make many people want to rush out and see it again. In any case, it will open in China January 13 - and it better hope for some decent foreign results if it wants to justify that budget.

4) FENCES

Denzel Washington looks to kick off the new year with a bang. Fences (which expanded on Christmas Day and had a great opening) continued to build upon its box office success with a $10.1 million weekend and a likely $13 million total on Monday. It is going to be running neck-and-neck with Why Him? for the 4th spot, but I'm giving the benefit of the doubt to the film that is going to be nominated for several awards (sorry Bryan Cranston). In any case, Fences will wind up with about $32.7 million total - which would make it the highest-grossing film with Washington directing. With a budget of just $24 million, Fences is already looking very good and if it can capitalize on those nominations, I expect it to play very well through awards season.

5) WHY HIM?

Rounding out the top five (and it could move up a spot by Monday), the James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Zoey Deutch and Megan Mullally comedy took in roughly $10 million (down 9%) for the weekend with a Monday total of around $13 million itself. It should top out at around $37.5 million on Monday or just under its $38 million budget. It may be able to leg it to $50 million, but it will have to rely on some international help to cover its marketing costs, I'm sure. Still, while Why Him? isn't a break-out comedy by a long shot, it should wind up making money.

Outside the top five: La La Land officially become the highest-grossing "limited release" of 2016, must managing to pass Hell or High Water ($26 million) before the new year. By Monday the award-season darling will have about $37 million.

In limited release, Hidden Figures started off things well, earning $815,000 (for a $32.5 thousand per-theater average) over the weekend with $1.03 million total for Monday. It has earned $2.45 million thus far and finally gets a wide-release on Friday. The film follows the true-life story of three African-American women (Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson) who were instrumental in the early days of NASA but have largely been overlooked by history. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle MonŠe have been earning rave reviews for their portrayal of these women.

Besides Hidden Figures, A Monster Calls will expand wide, we get a new franchise offering in Underworld: Blood Wars.

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