If Star Wars were a space station, it’d be the unstoppable Death Star the Empire has dreamed of for such a long time at least when it comes to the movie franchise’s box office haul.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first standalone Star Wars movie outside of the series’ main storyline, is on course for a huge holiday season at the box office. For the period from December 21-26, early projections indicate that the movie will rake in $160 million.
Disney, which now owns the Star Wars franchise, had slightly more cautious projections on Friday, suggesting that the take over the six days will rise above $120 million, according to Variety.
At that lower number, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will still reach the $350 million mark domestically by Boxing Day, which is its 11th day of release. Disney said on Friday that Rogue One raked in $221.9 domestically in its first week. That includes $15 million on Wednesday and $16.7 million Thursday. The movie was on course to take in $30 million on Friday, according to estimates.
Buoyed by strong reviews and a deep love of the franchise among fans, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has earned around $420 million worldwide so far.
Rogue One is the 10th-highest grossing movie of 2016 domestically already, according to Box Office Mojo. It seems likely that Rogue One could rise to fifth place by the middle of next week, overtaking Doctor Strange ($227 million), Suicide Squad ($325 million), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($330 million), and Zootopia ($341 million). It could rise further, but it will have to go some way to overtake Finding Dory‘s take of $486 million domestically ($1.03 billion worldwide).
The runner-up for the six-day December 21-26 period is likely to be the animated comedy Sing, with $71 million. In third is the Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence-starring sci-fi flick Passengers with an estimated $31 million, followed by game adaptation Assassin’s Creed with $28 million.
Why Him?, a romantic comedy starring James Franco, is on course to snag $16 million after taking home $975,000 from Thursday preview screenings.
It seems unlikely that Rogue One will match the performance of its predecessor. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was released last December and eventually earned over $2 billion worldwide on its way to becoming the third-highest grossing movie ever. It had a record opening weekend of $248 million and captured a record domestic total of $948 million. In its first 11 days, it earned $571 million.
Sing, meanwhile, is seemingly performing in line with expectations. It earned an estimated $14 million on Friday, as movie lovers turned out in solid numbers for the flick about animals competing in a singing contest. Its cast includes Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, and Scarlett Johansson. The movie reportedly cost $75 million to make.
Passengers might be feeling the effects of having a sci-fi movie set in space running up against the colossus that is Rogue One, another space sci-fi epic. It has a vastly different plot, with Pratt’s and Lawrence’s characters waking up early from being frozen on a deep space voyage. It had been projected to earn $30-40 million in its opening weekend, and cost around $110 million to make.
Another blockbuster that will fail to topple Rogue One this weekend is Assassin’s Creed. Based on the game series of the same name, it features Michael Fassbender as a man who is able to access the memories and abilities of one of his ancestors during the Spanish Inquisition.
Meanwhile, several other movies, primarily awards contenders, are opening in limited release. The historical drama Silence, from director Martin Scorcese, is opening on four screens, as is fantasy drama When A Monster Calls.
On Sunday, Fences, a drama from director and star Denzel Washington, is expanding from four screens to around 2,200. Meanwhile, the frontrunner for the Academy Award for Best Picture, La La Land, is expanding from 200 to 733 screens on the same day.
It’s clear that over the holiday season, moviegoers and families will have a lot of options to choose from at the multiplex. But indications suggest that far more of them will check out Rogue One: A Star Wars Story than any other current release.
[Featured Image by Lucasfilm]