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Christmas Weekend Box Office: Rogue One Dominates, Sing Soars, Passengers Solid

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By Chris Kavan - 12/26/16 at 07:13 PM CT

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas (and/or related holiday) - the box office was certainly celebrating. I, on the other hand, had to deal with a nasty cold - and there's not spreading holiday cheer like sharing illness; it truly is the gift that keeps on giving. In any case, the crowded weekend was won by a holdover - and, of course, it's Star Wars, did you expect any less? But Rogue One aside, many of the new films came out swinging, with the animated Sing easily topping all the new releases. It was also good news for potential Oscar hopefuls as both Fences and La La Land showed big increases as they expanded. It wasn't the biggest Christmas weekend of all time (that's going to be a tough act to top, thank you The Force Awakens), but it was one of the better on record.


The Force continued to be strong with this one. The second weekend for Rogue One drew an impressive $64.3 million ($96 million including Monday), which was enough for the new stand-alone story to easily surpass the $300 million mark with a new $318 million total. Its $26 million Christmas Day total was the second-best on record (behind, you guessed it, The Force Awakens) and its 11-day $318 million total is the sixth-best on record. It dropped 58% - a slightly bigger drop than some of the previous Hobbit films but, should it stay on its current course, by the end of next weekend (and the end of the year) it will have out-grossed all the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings/Hobbit films as it chases The Hunger Games and previous Star Wars films. It has at least one, good solid weekend going for it - we'll see how high it goes but Disney is obviously very happy with the outcome. It has already made $523.8 million worldwide and, with a good chance to hit $500 million alone on the domestic front, we could be looking at another $1 billion global total.


If you didn't see Rogue One over the weekend, chances are you probably saw Sing. Illumination Entertainment's musically-inclined crowd-pleaser had a $35.3 million weekend, jumping to $56 million on Monday and, with its Wednesday opening taking in to account, has already topped its $75 million budget with a current $77 million total. The film just looked like a lot of fun and it had massive appeal to families. It earned a solid "A" Cinemascore from audiences, 61% of which were families with children under 13 making up about 39% of said audience. While that opening is on the lower end for Illumination (compared to the Despicable Me franchise) that could very well be due to the competition and not the quality of the movie itself. In any case, Sing should have a nice window to perform and even if it does wind up being more like The Lorax than Despicable Me - it's still going to earn well above $200 million and will have no problem tripling its budget.


The Chris Pratt/Jennifer Lawrence sci-fi adventure/drama/romance took awhile to get its motor running but wound up with a decent Christmas. It made just $14.85 million for the weekend but jumped to $23.1 million on Monday with a Wednesday-Monday total of $30.4 million. While the $110 million picture has some work to do to top its budget, with the extended holiday frame, it should draw in more adults (I know I am looking forward to this one). This may be the case where the budget could have been trimmed a bit ($75 million vs. $110 million is looking much better) but with the star power and overseas help, Passengers should wind up in the winning category when all is said and done. We'll know a lot more about how this is going to turn out at the end of the next holiday weekend.


Unlike many of the other releases, Why Him? didn't drop early on Wednesday, but rather waited until Friday to hit theaters. It didn't seem to the comedy much as it had a decent $11.05 million weekend that rose to $16.71 million with Monday taken into account. It has already earned nearly half its $38 million budget in just four days, conventional wisdom says this should play well to the college crowd and should be able to top $50 million. This, much like Passengers, should have a good week leading up to the New Year's Holiday - and that week will tell a lot about where this one is ultimately going to wind up.


Another video game adaptation; another disappointing result. The $125 million Assassin's Creed couldn't be saved by a great cast as it could only muster up a $10.28 million weekend, $15 million with Monday included and $22.5 million with its Wednesday opening added in. The long-term prospects for this one aren't that good, either, as it made less on Christmas ($4.3 million) than it did on its Wednesday opening ($4.6 million). Unlike Passengers and Why Him? I don't see this gaining much of an audience in the next week and I feel that $50 million may be the best-case scenario. This one is going to have to hope for a Warcraft-like foreign help for it to make back its budget.

Outside the top five: Fences had an excellent debut, despite coming out on Sunday. The Oscar contender made $6.68 million on Sunday and that jumped to $11.36 million on Monday (it was 7th for Sunday but jumped to 6th place with Monday returns included). That total represents a whopping 8,679.4% jump from its four-theater limited debut (it added 2,229 to its count). The $24 million picture may follow a similar path as Joy, which means it could be looking at a $50-million plus total.

Another limited release increasing its theater count also saw a lot of success. La La Land added another 554 theaters (for 734 total) and increased 136.5% through Monday with a $5.73 million weekend and $9.7 million with Monday included. Riding a wave of nomination and critical success, La La Land has a $17.58 million total and should continue strong through the coming weeks.

In limited debuts, Martin Scorsese's Silence has the best per-theater average, opening in four theaters with $131,000 ($180,000 including Monday) for a $32,750/$45,000 per-theater average. Following closely was Hidden Figures opening in more theaters (25) but still finding a respective $20,620/$38,200 per-theater average.

There are no new wide releases coming for the New Year's Holiday - so I'm expecting the box office to stay much the same, but we'll see if any of the new films from this week can find more success.


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