'Rogue One' dominating holiday box office, 'Sing' leads newcomers
"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" remains powerful at the US holiday box office with a dominant $15 million on Christmas Eve at 4,157 sites, and projections of a $120 million-plus haul over the six-day Dec 21-26 period. Illumination Universal's animated comedy "Sing" easily led the rest of the pack on Christmas Eve with a solid $7.9 million at 4,022 locations, followed by Sony's "Passengers" with $2.9 million, Fox's "Assassin's Creed" with $2.2 million, and Fox's "Why Him?," which tied with Disney's "Moana" at $1.8 million. Paramount launched Denzel Washington-Viola Davis' "Fences" with $750,000 at 1,547 sites in Saturday night showings and plans to expand the drama to about 2,200 locations Sunday.
Overall moviegoing slowed on Christmas Eve, as expected, with "Rogue One" falling about 33% from Friday and "Sing" declining about 40%. Business should rebound sharply on Christmas Day on Sunday and on Monday, an official holiday for many. DisneyLucasfilm's "Rogue One" wrapped business on Christmas Eve with about $260 million domestically in its first nine days and is projected to finish the holiday on Monday with about $327 million. That will be enough to pull it past "Suicide Squad" as the eighthhighest domestic grosser of the year.
Felicity Jones stars as Jyn Erso, a rebel attempting to steal the plans for the Death Star, in a story set immediately before the events in the original "Star Wars." Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, and Forest Whitaker also star. "Rogue One," the eighth "Star Wars" movie, is running about 42% behind the pace of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," which opened a year ago and grossed a still-stunning $571 million in its first 11 days on its way to a record $936.6 million domestic total.
"Sing" is projected to come in second with about $71.5 million over the six days-in line with forecasts-followed by the Jennifer Lawrence-Chris Pratt sci-fier "Passengers" at about $29 million to $30 million, and video game adaptation "Assassin's Creed" at $22.6 million. "Sing," which has a $75 million budget, follows a group of animals performing in an "American Idol"-style contest. The voice cast includes Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, and Tori Kelly.
"Passengers" carries a $110 million price tag with financing from Village Roadshow, LStar Capital, and Wanda Pictures. It's performing at the low end of expectations amid an unenthusiastic critical reception, earning 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. "Assassin's Creed," which has a budget of $120 million and was financed by New Regency, is generating even less support from critics, with a 19% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Michael Fassbender stars as a career criminal sent back to the Spanish Inquisition in the movie, based on the popular Ubisoft video game franchise. Fox also reported Sunday that "Assassin's Creed" has grossed $13.3 million internationally from 2,878 screens in 22 markets, with strong holiday launches from France with $5.1 million and from Spain with $2 million for a first-place finish. Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand also saw first-place openings.
'La La Land'
James Franco's romantic comedy "Why Him?," which opened Friday, is forecast to finish the four-day weekend with about $14.4 million at 2,917 locations. That's about in line with recent expectations for the film, in which Franco plays a freewheeling Silicon Valley tycoon attempting to ingratiate himself to his girlfriend's horrified father, portrayed by Bryan Cranston. "Why Him?" has a $38 million budget and also stars Zoey Deutch as the girlfriend and Megan Mullally as her mother. It appears to be performing similarly to Paramount's "Office Christmas Party," which took in $974,000 on Christmas Eve, and will wind up the weekend with about $44 million in three weeks.
Disney's animated film "Moana," now in its fifth weekend, remains a decent draw as one of five titles to earn more than $1 million on Christmas Eve. The movie should wind up the holiday weekend with more than $184 million. Liosngate's awards contender "La La Land" reeled in an estimated $815,000 at 205 locations on Christmas Eve for $9.7 million after 16 days of limited release. The romantic comedy-drama, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, expands to 734 locations Sunday.
Martin Scorsese's historical drama "Silence" is projected to finish the four days with $170,000 at four theaters. The film stars Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, and Adam Driver as 17th century priests who face brutal persecution in Japan. "Patriots Day," from CBS Films and Lionsgate, took in $34,336 on Christmas Eve from seven locations and is projected to wind up the sixday holiday break with about $280,000. The Boston Marathon bombing movie is directed by Peter Berg and stars Mark Wahlberg. — Reuters