After a 10-year drought of Star Wars movies, fans have been treated to two new adventures in as many years, both of which have been wildly successful, with no end in sight to this hallowed franchise. Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened with a box office record debut of $247.9 million, en route to an all-time domestic record of $936.6 million and a worldwide gross of $2.06 billion, the third highest ever behind Titanic ($2.1 billion) and Avatar ($2.7 billion). This year, LucasFilm released the first ever theatrical spin-off, Rogue One: A Star Wars story, which was projected to take in $130 million in its domestic opening weekend, and $350 million worldwide. The spin-off actually exceeded its domestic projections with $155.5 million, but fell just short of its global predictions with $290.5 million.
Box Office Mojo reports that Rogue One opened in 4,157 theaters, for an impressive $37,287, and the spin-off was also a hit with critics, earning a solid 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. Rogue One's only competition was Warner Bros.' Collateral Beauty, opened in 3,028 theaters, but it could only manage to take fourth place with a paltry per-screen average of $2,312. Earlier this week, Collateral Beauty had an awful 0% score on Rotten Tomatoes, although it managed to slightly improve to 14%. Despite an all-star cast, lead by Will Smith, Collateral Beauty was never expected to give Rogue One any competition, although it was produced under a $36 million budget, compared to the $200 million spent on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It's still possible that it could earn a profit, if the film picks up in international markets, since it has only earned $4.6 million overseas so far. Rogue One's huge debut comes after the first two weekends of December produced incredibly lackluster results.
The first two weekends of December were dominated by holdover Moana, with only two new movies arriving in wide release, Incarnate, which opened in ninth place with $2.6 million and last weekend's holiday comedy from Paramount, Office Christmas Party, which opened in second place with a decent $17.5 million. After dominating the box office for the past three weekends, Moana finally dropped to second place this weekend with $11.6 million, although it only dropped 37.1%. The animated adventure Moana has currently taken in $161.8 million at the domestic box office and $118.4 million in international markets for a worldwide total of $280.2 million. Last weekend's newcomer, the R-rated comedy Office Christmas Party, dropped exactly 50% falling to third place with $8.4 million, with the top 5 rounded out by Collateral Beauty with $7 million and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with $5 million.
This weekend will also feature an expansion into 1,208 theaters for the critically-acclaimed indie Manchester-by-the-Sea, which rises from seventh place last weekend to sixth place this weekend with $4.1 million. The film expanded into 842 more theaters this weekend for a $3,441 per-screen average. This critically-acclaimed indie, starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, took in $256,498 from just four theaters for an impressive $64,125 per-screen average during its debut on the November 18 weekend. It has continued to expand in the following weeks, playing in 48 theaters over the November 25 weekend, pulling in a $25,541 per-screen average, followed by 156 theaters on December 2 for a $14,557 per-screen average and 366 theaters last weekend for a $8,556 per-screen average, cracking the top 10 for the first time in 8th place.
From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire's ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is directed by Gareth Edwards and stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, with Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker. Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur and Simon Emanuel are producing, with John Knoll and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The story is by John Knoll and Gary Whitta, and the screenplay is by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy.
Collateral Beauty centers on a successful New York ad executive suffers a personal tragedy and retreats from life, his friends devise a drastic plan to reach him before he loses everything. Pushing him to the very edge, they force him to confront the truth in surprising and profoundly human ways. From Oscar-winning director David Frankel, this thought-provoking drama explores how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of beauty, and how the constants of love, time and death interlock in a life fully lived. The cast includes Will Smith, Edward Norton, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Naomie Harris, Michael Pena, Kate Winslet and Jacob Latimore.
The top 10 will be rounded out by Manchester-by-the-Sea ($4.1 million), the expanding La La Land ($4 million, Arrival ($3.8 million), Doctor Strange ($3.2 million), Allied ($2.9 million) and Nocturnal Animals ($2.1 million). La La Land opened huge last weekend with $881,104 from just five theaters for an astounding per-screen average of $176,221. This weekend, it expanded into 200 theaters, for an impressive $20,100 in its second weekend. Paramount also debuted Fences, starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in New York and Los Angeles before expanding nationwide on Christmas Day. This critically-acclaimed drama got off to a great start, earning $128,000 from four theaters for a $32,000 per-screen average. Also opening in limited release is The Orchard's Neruda, which earned $28,265 from three theaters for a $9,422 per-screen average, but no box office data was released for Indican's The Grace of Jake, Independent's Hollow Point and Lionsgate Premiere's Solace. It isn't known if there are plans for the rest of these to expand throughout the holiday season.
Looking ahead to next weekend, three new releases open on Wednesday, December 21, while another debuts on Friday, December 23. 20th Century Fox's Assassin's Creed will go up against Sony's Passengers and Universal's Sing on December 21, with 20th Century Fox's Why Him? opening on December 23. Also opening in limited release on December 21 is Lionsgate's harrowing drama Patriots Day, Sony Pictures Classics' Julieta and UTV's Dangal, while Focus Features' A Monster Calls and Paramount's Silence debut in limited release on December 23. Take a look at the estimated top 10 for the weekend of December 16.