Box Office: Rogue One Blows Up Competition With $155 Million Opening

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Shocker! A Star Wars movie opens big and finishes No. 1 its opening weekend. Much like this weekend last year with The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has a monster box office haul. Debuting on 4,157 screens, the first non-episode entry in the series dropped with a $29 million Thursday night and followed that with an estimated $126 million from Friday through Sunday.

The force (and Disney) is strong with audiences in 2016. The studio surpassed $4 billion worldwide due to the success of Zootopia, The Jungle Book, Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory, Doctor Strange, and Moana. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the icing on the top of a banner year.

The idea of a Star Wars movie every year seemed like the studio was milking the property to the point that it would become watered down, but the reviews for Rogue One have been very strong. Some have called it the best Star Wars since Empire. So it’s only taken 36 years. Does this mean we have to wait thirty-six more before we get something that is the best since Rogue One?

Outside of this monster opening we must come down to earth and the realization that Will Smith’s A-list status is around a C+/B-. Collateral Beauty, which he stars, along with Michael Pena, Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley and Jacob Latimore, opened in fourth place with $7 million. The advertisements did not look all that enticing, like a bad mix of grief and A Christmas Carol – only instead of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future we have Death (Mirren), Time (Latimore), and Love (Knightley). The drama is a big-budget Lifetime Channel movie production and is destined for seasonal rotation on TNT. Best to wait.

Oscar hopeful Manchester by the Sea added 842 screens and went up a notch in the top ten to finish at No. 6 with $4.15 million. And speaking of Oscar, La La Land had a huge jump, moving up eight spots to be part of the top ten. Expanding from 5 screens to 200, Damien Chazelle’s musical made $4 million with a per-screen average of $20.1k. That figure is second to Rogue One‘s $37.2k for the weekend.

Seven weeks after its arrival, Marvel’s Doctor Strange is still an attraction. It added another $2 million to bring its domestic total to $226 million. Worldwide it sits at $652 million.

Rounding out the top ten we have Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals. One of my favorite films of 2016, it has one of the more interesting opening title sequences you’re likely to see as well as another great supporting turn by Michael Shannon. So much so, my organization, the Houston Film Critics Society, nominated him in the supporting race above Aaron Taylor-Johnson who got a Golden Globe nomination for the same film.

In limited release, Denzel Washington’s Fences opened on four screens and earned $128k while Pablo Larrain’s second film of 2016 (following Jackie), Neruda, made $28k at three locations.

Next weekend, James Franco and Bryan Cranston will try to dethrone Rogue One with their new comedy Why Him?. Elsewhere, Fences expands to a wide release and Martin Scorsese’s Silence makes its arrival to theaters. Look for the Star Wars story to remain atop the box office.

Full Top 10 below.

01. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – $155 Million
02. Moana – $11.6 Million
03. Office Christmas Party – $8.4 Million
04. Collateral Beauty – $7 Million
05. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – $5 Million
06. Manchester by the Sea – $4.15 Million
07. La La Land – $4 Million
08. Arrival – $2.7 Million
09. Doctor Strange – $2 Million
10. Nocturnal Animals – $1.39 Million

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