Ok, so it's no The Force Awakens. But it was never supposed to be. Instead, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is still one of the biggest openers of 2016, bringing in an estimated $71M on Friday, its first day in theaters. This includes the $29M it pulled in from Thursday night previews, the biggest preview night of 2016. With the year winding down, we doubt anyone will be able to steal this record away from the Disney and Lucasfilm release.

The question now is, will the movie continue to be strong with the Force as the weekend continues? Or will it falter on its way to what should be a very good Sunday? It could play like one of the Twilight movies, where it settles in and reaches a mighty fine $140 million over the course of these three days. Or it could continue to improve, and bring in numbers that are speculated by Box Office Mojo to be as high as $160.8M, which is comparable to what happened with The Dark Knight Rises. That movie saw Thursday Night previews account for 40% of its Friday gross, yet finished stronger than it started. Most believe Rogue One will finish off this weekend with a score that is just barely able to crack the $160M thresh hold.

Rogue One has scored an impressive 'A' CInemascore, with the audience made up of 66% males versus 34% females, even with this first ever Star Wars spin-off having a female lead character. Much of the audience was under 25.

While Rogue One is enjoying much success, Will Smith is not smiling this morning. His new drama Collateral Beauty decided to open against Rogue One, and that move proved to be fatal. The fantasy about a man who writes letters to fate, love and death decided against holding any Thursday preview screenings. And it is now being called Will Smith's worst opener of all time. The movie only scored $2.4M on Friday. It's on track for a wimpy $6.5 three day weekend. Though, those who did venture into the theater to see it did give this follow-up to the equally derided Seven Pounds an A- CinemaScore. It played to a female heavy crowd, with 59% of the audience made up of women, and 41% men. 74% of the audience was over the age 0f 25, so it's definitely playing to a different crowd than Rogue One.

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Two Oscar contenders are duking it out in limited release, with early favorites for Best Picture La La Land and Manchester by the Sea going head to head. La La Land is only in 200 theaters this weekend, while Manchester holds down 1,208 screens. La La Land pulled in an impressive $1.36M on Friday and should top out at $4.4M by the time Monday rolls around. Even though it has a bigger presence, Manchester only pulled in $1.28M and should end the weekend with somewhere around $4M. We'll have a full report tomorrow, with A Star Wars Story already the #1 movie in the country.

B. Alan Orange at Movieweb
B. Alan Orange