‘Rogue One’ soars as ex­pected with $155 mil­lion de­but

The Washington Times Daily - - LIFE - BY SANDY CO­HEN

LOS AN­GE­LES | “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” soared to the top of the week­end box of­fice as ex­pected, scor­ing the sec­ond-best De­cem­ber open­ing ever with $155 mil­lion in es­ti­mated ticket sales.

Af­ter the big­gest Thurs­day night de­but of the year, the in­ter­ga­lac­tic ad­ven­ture blasted past in­dus­try ex­pec­ta­tions for a $130 mil­lion week­end, ac­cord­ing Sun­day’s stu­dio es­ti­mates. “Rogue One” opened at No. 1 in all mar­kets glob­ally, though it has yet to bow in China and Korea.

“We’re in un­charted ter­ri­tory for De­cem­ber,” said Paul Der­garabe­dian, se­nior me­dia an­a­lyst for box of­fice tracker com Score. “It’s go­ing to be re­ally hard for any movie to catch up to this movie. … This is only the sec­ond time a movie has opened this big in De­cem­ber.”

The record-set­ter was “Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens,” the space saga’s sev­enth in­stall­ment, which de­buted to $247.9 mil­lion in the U.S. and Canada last De­cem­ber.

Like “The Force Awak­ens” did in 2015, “Rogue One” could top the box of­fice for the rest of the year, Mr. Der­garabe­dian said.

Set be­fore the events of the orig­i­nal 1977 “Star Wars,” it stars Felicity Jones and Diego Luna as lead­ers of a rebel fac­tion that steals plans for its im­pe­rial en­emy’s mas­ter weapon, the Death Star.

“Rogue One” knocked the No. 1 movie for the past three weeks, Dis­ney’s “Moana,” to a dis­tant sec­ond with $11.6 mil­lion, fol­lowed by “Of­fice Christ­mas Party” with $8.4 mil­lion.

The week­end’s other new re­lease, the crit­i­cally panned Will Smith drama “Col­lat­eral Beauty,” opened in fourth place with $7 mil­lion.

“This is one of the most in­tense mar­ket­places for movies I’ve ever seen,” Mr. Der­garabe­dian said. “You have a ‘Star Wars’ movie out there loom­ing like the Death Star over ev­ery­thing, and a re­ally great crop of Os­car con­tenders that keeps ex­pand­ing.”

Den­zel Wash­ing­ton’s “Fences” opened in lim­ited re­lease this week­end and ex­pands on Christ­mas Day. “Manch­ester by the Sea,” “La La Land” and “Ar­rival,” which all earned awards nom­i­na­tions re­cently, re­main in the box of­fice top 10.

Movie­go­ers who see “Rogue One” will also get a peek at next year’s an­tic­i­pated block­busters: Trail­ers for the new “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Spi­der-Man” and “Fast & Fu­ri­ous” films play be­fore the fea­ture.

“Rogue One” is the “per­fect lead-in for 2017, which looks ab­so­lutely mas­sive,” Mr. Der­garabe­dian said.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Felicity Jones plays Jyn Erso in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” which soared at the box of­fice this week­end with at $155 mil­lion de­but.

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