No surprises here, folks. As expected, it’s a good weekend for Disney and Lucasfilm, and Rogue One absolutely dominated the Friday box office with a $71.1 million at 4,157 locations. The film rolled into Friday strong after earning the biggest Thursday preview number of the year with $29 million and is targeting a huge $140-150 million weekend total. The film also scored an A CinemaScore in all demos, demonstrating the elusive “four-quadrant” appeal of the franchise, and is poised to have some major legs at the box office even as we enter the crowded holiday season.
Lucasfilm’s first standalone film will easily land the second-best December debut of all time behind last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the Star Wars saga revival that stomped all over records with a $248 million debut. Mid-December traditionally hasn’t been a spot for box office barn burners, but behold the power of Star Wars. However, Rogue One is playing without the huge nostalgia factor of The Force Awakens with a line-up of almost entirely new characters, with no Skywalkers, Solos or lightsabers, and it’s an important test for Disney and Lucasfilm to see if the audience will follow the franchise beyond the episodic saga films. The answer, it seems, is a resounding yes.
While most competitors backed away from going up against Rogue One, Warner Bros. Collateral Beauty opened wide in 3,528 theaters in hopes of grabbing the older-set audience looking for break in the blockbusters. But the critically savaged drama starring Will Smith, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley and Edward Norton is bombing hard, earning only $2.4 on Friday for a projected $7 million weekend. That would be a career worst for Smith.
Elsewhere, Damien Chazelle‘s buzzy awards frontrunner La La Land is poised to be a slow-burn box office triumph for Lionsgate. After breaking records in last week’s super-limited release, the musical starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling expanded to 200 theaters, earning an exceptional $1.4 million in limited, which puts it on track for a projected $4.4 million — enough to put it in fierce competition for the week’s No. 6 spot. La La Land will battle it out with fellow awards front-runner Manchester by the Sea, which expanded nationwide this weekend to 1,206 theater for a projected $4-4.5 million.
Check out the Friday Top 5 below and check back tomorrow for full weekend results.
|3.||Office Christmas Party||$2,615,000||$25,683,267|
|5.||Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them||$1,375,000||$204,026,095|