Updated, Tuesday, 5:23PM: FINAL CHRISTMAS WEEKEND ACTUALS A Christmas weekend that sends the annual box office past the $11B mark for the second year in a row can’t be discounted. And while among mass-appealing fare, Disney/Lucasfilm’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Illumination/Universal’s Sing remained the top two pics respectively with Wed-Monday figures of $127.8M and $75.5M, a number of awards season titles held their own both in their wide expansions, i.e. Paramount’s Fences with an $11.6M two-day take and Lionsgate’s La La Land with $9.2M, and their limited rollouts, read 20th Century Fox/Chernin Entertainment’s impressive $839K two-day start at 25 locations for Hidden Figures, as well as the NY/Boston/LA starts for CBS/LG’s Patriots Day ($47,4K 6-day per theater) and Martin Scorsese’s passion project Silence  ($40,9K PTA).

Jennifer Lawrence - Passengers.jpeg
Columbia Pictures

As we mentioned on Friday and Saturday, Sony/Village Roadshow’s Passengers and 20th Century Fox’s Why Him? and Assassin’s Creed did not see the ideal of starts. Many of those in the industry are ready to declare them dead, however, given the momentum of the holiday box office and how pics can either hold or improve upon their 3-day Christmas takes, it’s more prudent to assess this trio after a second helping of holiday ticket sales. Working in everyone’s favor: There aren’t any new wide entries until January 6 when Hidden Figures and A Monster Calls go wide, Screen Gems debuts Underworld: Blood Wars and Paramount expands Silence. 

In regards to weekend ticket sales, the 4-day racked up $273M (-7% from last year) while the three-day came in at $181.1M (-38% from last year’s super-high $292.89M). When it came to Christmas Day at the box office, typically whenever the holiday falls on a Friday, it yields bigger ticket sales than when it falls on a Sunday or during the week. Hence, this year’s Christmas chalked up the fourth best with $83.1M. Last year’s Christmas was an all-time best with $103.3M.

–Anthony D’Alessandro

The top 3-day and 4-day actuals from ComScore for the weekend of Dec. 23-26:

*Wednesday opener
**Friday opener
+Christmas day opener

  1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Dis) 4,157 locations, 4-day: $96.1M, 3-day: $64M (-59%), 4-day: $23K average, Total: $318.1M, 2 wk
  2. Sing* (Ill/Uni) 4,022 locations, 4-day $54.9M, 3-day: $35.2M, 4-day: $13,7K average, Total: $75.5M, 1 wk
  3. Passengers* (Sony/VR), 3,478 locations, 4-day: $22.7M, 3-day: $15.1M, 4-day: $6,5K average, Total: $30M, 1 wk.
  4. Why Him?**, (Fox) 2,917 locations,4-day: $15.5M, 3-day $11M, 4-day: $5,3K average, Total: $15.5M, 1 wk.
  5. Assassin’s Creed* (Fox), 2,970 locations, 4-day: $14.8M, 3-day: $10.3M, 4-day: $5K average, Total: $22.3M/ 1 wk.
  6. Moana, (Dis), 2,687 locations,4-day: $12.6M, 3-day: $7.7M (-39%), 4-day: $4,7K average, Total $185.6M, 5 wk
  7. Fences+, (Par), 2,233 locations,2-day: $11.6M, 1-day: $6.6M (+5066%) 4-day: $5,2K average, Total $11.8M, 2 wk.
  8.  La La Land, (LG), 734 locations, 4-day:$9.2M, 3-day: $5.7M (+40%), 4-day: $12,6K average, Total $17.1M, 3 wk
  9. Office Christmas Party (Par) 2,441 locations, 4-day: $7M, 3-day: $5.1m (-40%), $4-day: $2,887 average, Total: $44M, 3 wk.
  10. Collateral Beauty, (WB/VR), 3,028 locations, 4-day: $6.3M, 3-day: $4.2M (-40%) 4-day: $2,105 average, Total: $17.4M, 2 wk
  11. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (WB), 1,966 locations, 4-day: $4.6M, 3-day: $2.9M (-42%), 4-day:$2,347 average, Total: $215.9M, 6 wk
  12. Dangal (UTV), 331 locations,4-day: $4.3M, 3-day: $3.2M, 4-day: $12,985 average, Total: $5.1M, 1 wk
  13. Manchester By The Sea (AMZ/RSA) 1,213 locations,4-day: $4.1M,3-day: $2.76M (-35%), $ 4-day:$2,277 average, Total $19.5M, 6 wk
  14. Jackie (SEA), 348 locations, 4-day: $1.87M, 3-day: $1.2M (+116%), 4-day:$5,396 average, Total: $4.2M, 4 wk
  15. Lion, (TWC), 500 locations,4-day: $1.5M, 3-day: $899K (+578%), 4-day: $3,075 average, Total: $2.4M, 5 wk.
  16. Arrival, (Par), 456 locations, 4-day: $1.5M, 3-day: $1M (-64%), 4-day: $3,342 average, Total: $89.8M, 7 wk
  17. Doctor Strange (Dis) 538 locations, 4-day: $1.05M, 3-day: $723k (-67%), 4-day: $1,964 average, Total: $228.7M, 8 wk
  18. Hidden Figures+ (Fox/Chernin), 25 locations, 2-day: $839K, 1-day: $515K, 4-day: $33,543 average, Total: $839K, 1 w
  19. Trolls (DWA/Fox), 499 locations, 4-day: $632K, 3-day: $385k (-72%), 4-day: $1,266 average, Total: $148.9M, 8 wk
  20. Hacksaw Ridge (LG) 428 locations,$493K, 3-day: $315K (-67%), 4-day: $1,151 average, Total: $63.9M, 8 wk

Notables:

patriots-day
CBS/LG

Patriots Day* (CBS/LGF), 7 theaters 3-day cume: $161K / 4-day: $237K / 4-day PTA: $33,8K / Total: $332K / Wk 1

Silence**  (PAR), 4 theaters / 3-day cume: $131K / 4-day: $163,6K / 4-day PTA: $40,9K / Wk 1

Julieta* (SPC), 6 theaters  / 3-day cume: $64K  / 4-day cume: $83,7K / 4-day PTA: $14K / Total cume: $102,6K / Wk 1

Live By Night+ (WB), 4 theaters /1-day: $33K/ 2-day cume: $49K / PTA: $12,2K / Wk 1

A Monster Calls** (FOC), 4 theaters / 3-day cume: $31K /  4-day: $38,2K / PTA: $9.5K / Wk 1

UPDATED, Tuesday AM: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will end the weekend with a two-week total of $318M+ while Sing‘s 6-day total is $75.5M. In third place is Passengers with right around $29.4, even though Sony is reporting this AM that it took in $30M; sorry guys, the math doesn’t add up. CinemaScore just publishes whatever number the studio’s give them so it will report $30M today, but the true gross of Passengers is actually right around $29.4M.

Anita Busch reported Tuesday AM box office.

fences_lala_fotor

Updated, Monday, 7:18 AM: Paramount’s Fences went wide yesterday and La La Land expanded to 734 locales and both ended up in the box office Top Ten with Denzel Washington’s adaptation of the August Wilson play earning an A- CinemaScore last night and a No. 6 spot with a $6.6M estimated opening day. La La Land, the Lionsgate musical that, like Fences, is vying for a Best Picture spot pushed into the No. 8 position with about $3.9M. The next expansion for La La Land will come on Jan. 6.

A third picture, Warner Bros.’ Will Smith starrer Collateral Beauty also jumped into the Top Ten but more noteworthy are the per screen averages of a number of critically acclaimed Oscar hopefuls including Martin Scorsese’s Silence which is enjoying a per screen average of about $44K on its four screens (the highest of any pic in the Top 45), newcomer Hidden Figures about the unsung heroes behind NASA’s success from Fox/Chernin Ent. and director Ted Melfi which earned a strong $38K from 26 runs (the 2nd highest) and Patriots Day from the team of Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg with a third-biggest $34K psa. Ben Affleck’s Live By Night, on its four screens, bowed yesterday to a per screen of $16K and Lion expanded this weekend for an estimated four-day screen average of $3,300K.

rogue-one-2
Disney

Of course, the Top Five pecking order is as it was with Disney/Lucasfilms’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Universal/Illumination’s animated musical Sing leading the pack, Sony’s Passengers picking up steam, and the Fox R-rated comedy Why Him? expected to push past the studio’s Assassins Creed in the four-day holiday. Rogue One will end its second weekend of play well over $300M while Sing will  have a six-day opening of around $77M (see below chart).

sing
Universal

“It is our second Illumination title in a year which has not happened for them before,” said Nick Carpou, president of domestic distribution at Universal Pictures. “And both Sing and The Secret Life of Pets are original titles. We are by far, the No. 1 new opening title for Christmas. (Illumination’s) Chris Meledandri has created another highly relatable movie that appeals to both families and people of all ages. We are looking at a wonderful playout not only through this holiday season but well into 2017.” Janet Healy is Melendandri’s producing partner. Garth Jennings wrote the film and co-directed the film with Christophe Lourdelet.

Traditionally, Christmas Eve marks a downturn in moviegoing and this year, it fell on a Saturday (the first time since 2011). Yesterday, however, saw a huge upswing in moviegoing across the board as moviegoers went back into the theaters after unwrapping their gifts. While the three-day box office grosses were so-so, the four-day box office will pull in respectable grosses as Monday (today) really plays like a Sunday.

Jovan Adepo, Denzel Washington - Fences.jpeg
Paramount Pictures

So, in a nutshell, the Saturday drops were expected as was yesterday’s surge. This week will be a big week for the industry leading all the way through New Year’s weekend (traditionally a strong weekend). The reason movies like Fences opened yesterday was to catch the wave of adult moviegoers that come into the marketplace. About 81% of its audience is over 25 years old. While industry estimates peg the film to have a four-day anywhere between $13.8M and $14.8M, Paramount is thinking more along the lines of $11.3M.

“We’re taking a conservative view based on family Christmas day moviegoing. This is an interpretive number and it’s hard to find the right comp,” says Megan Colligan, president of worldwide marketing and distribution for Paramount. “War Horse went down 7% from Sunday to Monday in 2011, and we’re projecting a 20% dip because we took in so much during Christmas Eve, but I think the film does have the ability to do better given the A- minus CinemaScore which shows a passionate fan base and they are raving about it. Also, moviegoing after Christmas day is always strong and this week usually produces a strong multiple.”

Chris Pratt; Jennifer Lawrence - Passengers.jpeg
Sony Pictures

In 2011, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s jump from Saturday to Sunday was 120% once the adult moviegoers started to come into the market and Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol was up 119%. Those films that skewed more adult  like the R-rated Fox comedy Why Him? climbed 206%, Collateral Beauty rose about 176% and Passengers grew to 164%. Sony’s Josh Greenstein, president of worldwide marketing and distribution, noted: “We’re just getting started. We looked at Christmas Day as our first official opening day (for Passengers). With strong exits and social media and good word of mouth on the film, we have faith in the strength of playability for this film and are looking forward to this week which is a great play period that produces big multiples.”

That’s a quick snapshot early this AM. The chart will reflect both three-day grosses, four-day estimates (through today), and cumes (some with six-day results as some movies, such as Passengers and Sing, opened on a Wednesday). It also includes expansions and other pictures in the market vying for Oscar:

1.) Rogue One  (DIS), 4,157 theaters / $22.8M Fri. (-67%) / $14.6M to $15.3M Sat. (-33%) / $24.9M to $25.7 Sun. (+67%) / $33M to $34M+ Mon. (+30%) / 3-day cume: $63M to $63.9M (-60%) / 4-day: $95M to $97M / Total: $311M to $319M / Wk 2

2.) Sing (UNI), 4,022 theaters / $13.1M Fri. / $7.8M to $8.3M Sat. (-37%) / $14.5M Sun. (+80%) / $21M+ Mon. (+45%) / 3-day cume: $35.2M to $36.2M / 4-day: $56M to $57M+ / Total: $76.7M to $78M+ / Wk 1

3.) Passengers (SONY/VR), 3,478 theaters / $4.4M Fri. / $2.8M Sat. (-37%) / $7.35M Sun. (+164%) / $8.5M Mon. (+15%) / 3-day cume: $14.5M / 4-day: $23M / Total: $29M to 30M / Wk 1

4). Why Him?  (FOX), 2,917 theaters / $3.9M Fri. (includes $975K previews) / $1.75M Sat. (-55%) / $5.3M Sun. (+205%) / $5M Mon. (-5%) / 3-day cume: $11M / 4-day: $15M to $16M / Wk 1

5). Assassin’s Creed  (FOX), 2,970 theaters / $3.7M Fri. / $2.2M Sat. (-40%) / $4.3M Sun. (+98%) / $4.7M Mon. (+10%) / 3-day cume: $10.2M / 4-day: $15M+ / Total: $22.6M / Wk 1

6). Fences (PAR), 2,233 theaters (+2,229) / $27K Fri. / $23K Sat. (-16%) / $6.6M Sun. (30,360%) / $7M to $8.2M Mon. (+10% to +18%) / 3-day cume: $6.6M / 4-day cume: $11.3M to 14M+ / Wk 2

7). Moana (DIS), 2,784 theaters (-803) / $2.8M (-9%) Fri. / $1.7M Sat. (-37%) / $2.8M Sun. (+61%) / 3-day cume: $7.38M (-42%) / 4-day: $11M+ / Total: $184.6M to $185M / Wk 5

8). La La Land (LGF), 734 theaters (+534) / $980K Fri. / $813K Sat. (-16%) / $3.9M Sun. (+385%) / $4.3M Mon. (+10%) / 3-day cume: $5.7M / 4-day cume: $10M / Total cume: $17M+ / Wk 3

9.) Office Christmas Party (PAR/DW), 2,679 theaters (-531) / $1.6M Fri. (-38%) / $975K Sat. (-41%) / $2.5M Sun. (+158%) / 3-day cume: $5.1M (-40%) / 4-day: $6.5M to $7.97M / Total: $44.9M / Wk 3

10). Collateral Beauty  (WB/NL), 3,028 theaters / $1.2M Fri. (-48%) / $805K Sat. (-35%) / $2.2M Sun. (+176%) / $2.78M Mon. (+30%) / 3-day cume: $4.2M (-40%) / 4-day: $6M to $7M / Total: $17M to $18M / Wk 2

NEW:

Dangal (UTV), 331 theaters / $896K Fri. / $1M Sat. (+15%) / $1.37M Sun. (+34%) / $1.3M Mon. (-5%) / 3-day cume: $3.29M / 4-day: $4.5M / Total: $5.4M / Wk 1

Silence  (PAR), 4 theaters / $64K Fri. / $23K Sat. (-64%) / $44K Sun. (+96%) / 3-day cume: $131K / 3-day per screen average: $32K / 4-day: $180K / 4-day PTA: $44K / Wk 1

Hidden Figures (FOX), 26 theaters / $515K Sun. / $464K Mon. (-9%) / Per screen average: $38K / Total cume: $1M / Wk 1

Patriots Day (CBS/LGF), 7 theaters / $53K Fri. / $34K (-35%) Sat. / $74K Sun. (+117%) / $78K Mon. (+5%) / 3-day cume: $161K / 3-day PTA: $23K / 4-day: $240K / 4-day PTA: $34K / Total: $335K / Wk 1

A Monster Calls (FOC), 4 theaters / $15K Fri. / $5K Sat. (-65%) / $11K Sun. (+106%) / $12K Mon. (+10%) / 3-day cume: $31K / 3-day PTA: $7K / 4-day: $43K / PTA: $10K / Wk 1

Julieta (SPC), 6 theaters / $18K Fri. / $15K Sat. (-15%) / $34K Sun. (+125%) / $37K Mon. (+10%) / 3-day cume: $91K / 3-day PTA: $16K / 4-day cume: $151K / 4-day PTA: $25K / Total cume: $174K / Wk 1

Live By Night (WB), 4 theaters / $33K Sun. / $32K Mon. (-5%) / Total cume: $65K / PTA: $16K / Wk 1

NOTEWORTHY:

Jackie (FSL), 348 theaters (+264) / $389K Fri. / $279K Sat. (-28%) / $568K Sun. (+103%) / $445K Mon. (-21%) / 3-day cume: $1.2M / 3-day PTA: $3,448 / 4-day cume: $1.9M / 4-day PTA: $5,459 / Total cume: $4.16M / Wk 4

Lion (TWC), 500 theaters (+484) / Fri. $90K / $83K Sat. (-7%) / $727K Sun. (+775%) / $799K Mon. (+10%) / 3-day cume: $900K / 3-day PTA: $1,800 / 4-day cume: $1.69M / 4-day PTA: $3,382 / Wk 5

Manchester by the Sea (RSA/AMZ) 1,213 theaters (+7) / $951K (-25%) Fri. / $606K Sat. (-36%) / $1.26M Sun. (+109%) / $1.3M Mon. (+5%) / 3-day cume: $2.8M (-34%) / 4-day cume: $4.1M to $4.35M / Total cume: $19.8M to $20M / Wk 6

Nocturnal Animals (FOC), 192 theaters (1,054) / $108K Fri. / $56K Sat. (-48%) / $80K Sun. (+40%) / $88K Mon. (+10%) / 3-day cume: $244K / 3-day PTA: $1,270 / 4-day cume: $330K / 4-day PTA: $1,718 / Total cume: $9.8M / Wk 6

Arrival (PAR), 456 theaters (-1,701) / $418K Fri. / $260K Sat. (-38%) / $404K Sun. (+55%) / $445K Mon. (+10%) / 3-day cume: $1M / 4-day cume: $1.5M / Total cume: $89.8M / Wk 7

Loving (FOC), 75 theaters (-321) / $27K Fri. / $20K Sat. (-24%) / $20K Sun. (-3%) / $21K Mon. (5%) / 3-day cume: $67K / 3-day PTA: $895 / 4-day cume: $88K / 4-day PTA: $1,170 / Total cume: $7.35M / Wk 8

Hacksaw Ridge (LGF), 428 theaters (-913) / $112K Fri. / $68K Sat. (-39%) / $154K Sun. (+126%) / $193K Mon. (+25%) / 3-day cume: $334K / 4-day cume: $527K / Total cume: $63.89M / Wk 8

Moonlight (A24), 100 theaters (-205) / $85K Fri. / $55K Sat. (-35%) / $73K Sun. (+32%) / $77K Mon. (+5%) / 3-day cume: $233K / 3-day PTA: $2,332 / 4-day cume: $300K / 4-day PTA: $3,002 / Total cume: $12M / Wk 10

Anita Busch compiled Monday’s box office update.

hidden-figures
20th Century Fox

UPDATED, SUNDAY 8:27 AM: Today the floodgates open in terms of the number of movies in the marketplace as distributors get ready to reap the benefits of what is expected to be a solid week of moviegoing. A number of pictures are either expanding or opening wide today, including many Oscar Best Picture hopefuls. Today, Paramount’s Fences goes wide, La La Land rolls out to 734 locations, Lion adds more theaters, while Hidden Figures, Live By Night and Toni Erdmann open in limited release.

For the three-day weekend, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the animated musical Sing have dominated the marketplace with a one-two punch of about $70M and $33M to $34M, respectively (so far). Passengers really took a tumble from initial estimates to end the three-day with only about $12.8M to $13.4M and Assassins Creed really fared no better with a weekend tally estimated to be $10.6M. Why Him? may take in anywhere from $9.7M to $10.9, depending on how this R-rated comedy does today. The audience for the Fox comedy is pretty evenly split among male and females.

With moviegoing getting the traditional Christmas bump leading into Monday, the four-day grosses is what will matter given that Christmas Eve fell on a Saturday this year — the first time since 2011 — and most pics were down around 37%. So expect good tidings today as most of these films will break free.

An overall analysis is below the chart which follows:

1.) Rogue One  (DIS), 4,157 theaters / $22.8M Fri. (-67%) / $14.6M to $15.3M Sat. (-33%) / $32.2M Sun. (+110%) / 3-day cume: $70M (-55%) / 4-day: $106M to $112.4M / Total: $327M to $334.4M / Wk 2

2.) Sing (UNI), 4,022 theaters / $13.1M Fri. / $7.8M to $8.3M Sat. (-37%) / $13.3M Sun. (+60%) / 3-day cume: $33.1M to $34.7M / 4-day: $51M to $54M / Total: $71.5M to $74.5M / Wk 1

3.) Passengers  (SONY/VR), 3,478 theaters / $4.4M Fri. / $2.8M Sat. (-37%) / $5.6M to $6.6M Sun. (+100%) / 3-day cume: $12.8M to $13.4M / 4-day: $19.3M to $20M / Total: $26.6M to $28M / Wk 1

4/5). Assassin’s Creed  (FOX), 2,970 theaters / $3.7M Fri. / $2.2M Sat. (-40%) / $4.6M Sun. (+110%) / 3-day cume: $1o.5M to $10.7M / 4-day: $15.6M to $16.3M / Total: $23M+ / Wk 1

Why Him?  (FOX), 2,917 theaters / $3.9M Fri. (includes $975K previews) / $1.75M Sat. (-55%) / $4.1M Sun. (+135%) / 3-day cume: $9.7M to $10.9M / 4-day: $13.6M to $16M / Wk 1

6). Moana (DIS), 2,784 theaters (-803) / $2.8M (-9%) Fri. / $1.7M Sat. (-37%) / $2.5M Sun. (+45%) / 3-day cume: $7.2M (-44%) / 4-day: $11M+ / Total: $184M+ / Wk 5

7.) Office Christmas Party (PAR/DW), 2,679 theaters (-531) / $1.6M Fri. (-38%) / $968K to $980K Sat. (-41%) / $2.2M Sun. (+135%) / 3-day cume: $4.8M to $5M (-43%) / 4-day: $7M+ / Total: $44M+ / Wk 3

8). Collateral Beauty  (WB/NL), 3,028 theaters / $1.2M Fri. (-48%) / $807K Sat. (-35%) / $1.6M Sun. (+100%) / 3-day cume: $3.6M (-49%) / 4-day: $5.7M / Total: $16.7M / Wk 2

9). Fantastic Beasts…  (WB), 1,966 theaters (-1,070) / $1.1M Fri. (-15%) / $$698K to $720K Sat. (-37%) / $1.1M Sun. (+60%) / 3-day cume: $$2.8M to $3M (-41%) / 4-day: $4.6M to $4.8M / Total: $215.9M to $216.1M / Wk 6

10). Manchester by the Sea (RSA/AMZ) 1,213 theaters (+7) / $951K (-25%) Fri. / $606K Sat. (-36%) / $1.3M Sun. (+125%) / 3-day: $2.9M (-31%) / 4-day: $4.3M to $4.8M / Total: $19.9M to $21M / Wk 6

11). Dangal (UTV), 331 theaters / $896K Fri. / $1M Sat. (+15%) / $666K Sun. (-35%) / 3-day cume: $2.5M to $3.3M / 4-day: $3.2M to $4.4M / Total: $4.4M / Wk 1

Notables:

patriots-day
CBS Films/Lionsgate

La La Land (LG) 205 theaters (+5) / $977K Fri. / $815K Sat. (-16%) / Total: $9.67M

Patriots Day  (CBS/LG), 7 theaters / $53K Fri. / $34K (-35%) Sat. / $69K Sun. (+100%) / 3-day cume: $140 to $156K / 3-day PTA: $22K / 4-day: $229K / PTA: $32K / Total: $32K / Wk 1

Silence  (PAR), 4 theaters / $64K Fri. / $23K Sat. (-64%) / $42K Sun. (+85%) / 3-day cume: $125K / 3-day PTA: $32K / 4-day: $153K to $170K / PTA: $43K / Wk 1

Fences (Par) 4 theaters / $26K Fri. / $22K Sat. (-16%) / Total: $240K / Wk 2

A Monster Calls (FOC), 4 theaters / $15K Fri. / $5K Sat. (-65%) / $9K Sun. (+70%) / 3-day cume: $30K / 3-day PTA: $7K / 4-day: $39K to $44K / PTA: $9K / Wk 1

Anita Busch compiled Sunday box office.

Writethru Saturday AM after Friday 11:25 PM post: If you’re headed to the movies this weekend, you’re likely buying a ticket to one of two films: Disney/Lucasfilm’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story or Illumination/Universal’s Sing.

In its second weekend, Rogue One is now on track to make $106.5M over four-days, while Sing could reach a six-day total of $74.1M.

rogue-one
Disney

Initially, distributors thought there would be more room for other films to thrive this Christmas, especially with Rogue One playing to 42% less than Force Awakens (at the same point in time through this coming Monday with an estimated running cume of $331.8M).

Breathing space in the presence of a box office titan isn’t unheard of: During the 2009 holiday season when Avatar reigned (its gross between its Dec. 18 opening and Jan. 3 was $352M+ alone), three Christmas releases rallied to huge numbers: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel ($219M final domestic, A CinemaScore), Sherlock Holmes (final domestic $209M, B) and It’s Complicated ($112.7M, A-).

force awakens
Disney

But for the second year in a row, a Star Wars movie is vacuuming up a huge percent of the cash in the marketplace. It’s not just downright challenging for the competition, it also throws a monkey wrench into the holiday multiples they anticipate so much. Nonetheless, it’s something for other major studios to think about going forward: Is it worth releasing a $100M-plus budgeted holiday tentpole against a Star Wars (or Avatar) movie if it’s going to get steamrolled? Perhaps, it’s better to counterprogram with low cost content.

sing
Universal

Younger-skewing titles like Sing are solid means of counterprogramming a five-quad title like Star Wars. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip proved this last year against Force Awakens, yielding a 6x multiple off its $14.3M opening for a final $85.9M. It’s a no brainer why Sing is working. It’s been propelled by so much awards season attention kicking off with a concert at their TIFF premiere with Jennifer Hudson and Tori Kelley. At the L.A. premiere, Sing cast member MacFarlane performed “Pennies from Heaven,” Kelly sang Stevie Wonder’s  “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing” before singing a duet with Hudson on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Wonder was also on hand to sing bits of hits. Other marketing highlights include The Voice dropping the official trailer during its May season finale — the first time the hit show featured a broadcast trailer debut — and recently featured a live performance of “Faith” by Wonder and Ariana Grande on the year-end season finale. In addition the film was sneaked at 200 free word of mouth screenings on the Saturday after Thanksgiving aka “Sing Saturday”.

Sure, we’ve seen singing animals before, but not like this: A zany jukebox of sublimely-performed pop hits by celebs like Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Taron Egerton, and Seth MacFarlane. When a studio knows they have something special, they don’t hide it, rather they flaunt it, and Uni started the buzz on Sing at April’s CinemaCon when they showed the film’s first 10 minutes.

But the biggest shocker for the industry is Sony/Village Roadshow’s Passengers which is being suffocated with an estimated six-day take of $26.1M. This is a huge let down. The project took nine years to hit the screen after landing on the Black List and went through various iterations of stars and directors.

passengers
Columbia Pictures

Passengers is also an unfortunate blow to Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt’s B.O. drawing power, proving that it’s much harder for them to draw an audience outside of an ironclad franchise. Last Christmas, Joy was sold on Lawrence’s image alone, but like Passengers didn’t dazzle critics or crowds and the film fell flat with a 3.3x multiple off its $17M opening for a final domestic of $56.4M (not good for a holiday movie). Some even wonder whether Pratt means anything to moviegoers in flyover states. Given Lawrence and Pratt’s pairing, coupled with the groundswell on social (Relish Mix reports that Passengers had a high viral video rate of 17:1 with a very strong social media universe of 230M), analysts projected $55M over six days, and now crash, bang, boom. “Sony, just can’t get a break,” said one producer this weekend.

Chris Pratt; Jennifer Lawrence
Sony

Sony was truly stoked about this movie. Like Uni, they showed off clips at CinemaCon. I heard that Lawrence was so proud of the film, she went the distance to even do some regional press, which many A-listers typically sidestep. Yes, Passengers is original IP, and it’s a sci-fi movie that’s opening in the shadow of Rogue One which makes for an uphill battle, particularly in December (the top opening for IP in December is Avatar at $77M followed by Daddy’s Home $38.7M — that gives you a sense of the range). But both critics and audiences have turned a cold shoulder toward Passengers, respectively with a 32% Rotten Tomatoes rating and B CinemaScore (last week’s Collateral Beauty with an A- CinemaScore at least appeased its ticket buyers). While CinemaScore only polls on opening night (which was Wednesday), ComScore PostTrak, which surveys moviegoers throughout the weekend doesn’t show anything promising for Passengers with a lackluster 77% total positive. Younger females under 25 liked it a bit more at 83%.

assassins-creed
20th Century Fox

No one was really expecting Passengers to beat Assassin’s Creed by a margin of $4.7M over six days, with the Michael Fassbender-Marion Cotillard re-team fetching $22.2M. The fact that Assassin’s Creed is coming in so low, isn’t so much of a surprise. It’s a video game adaptation, so it only appeals to a certain genre faction. Like Resident Evil and Warcraft to a certain degree, it’s bound to stoke an overseas audience which will hopefully point it toward a recoup of its $125M production cost. Note the most-ever made by a Resident Evil movie stateside was 2010’s Afterlife at $60.1M and that was largely gassed by the 3D craze.

Why Him
20th Century Fox

Why Him? with an estimated four-day of $15.4M gets a B+ CinemaScore, which is better than the B earned by Sisters last year, and on par with the B+ posted by Horrible Bosses 2. Sisters had more critics on its side with a 60% fresh Rotten Tomatoes versus Why Him?‘s 41% rotten. With an estimated production cost of $38M, the overhead is much lower for Fox than on Assassin’s Creed.

The only asterisk we can put on Passengers, Assassin’s Creed and Why Him? is that it’s Christmas and there could still be a multiple miracle (though we highly doubt that). There are titles in the past, especially when Christmas fell on a Sunday such in 2005 and 2011, that opened with low 3-days and legged out in the end, i.e. Sony’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ($12.8M FSS, $102.5M domestic, 8x multiple) and Fun With Dick and Jane ($14.4M FSS, $110.3M domestic, 7.7x). Hence, it’s quite conceivable we’ll see meager drops or a slight spike for three titles next weekend. By the first weekend in January, it will be obvious who is a survivor.

But for now, it’s not a great start for this trio.

Overall, with Christmas Eve today, business is expected to drop on average by close to -35%. But on Christmas Day tomorrow most pics should see an average surge of at least +95% over today.

Solid opening per theaters for Patriots Day over 6 (over $46K) and Silence over four (over $55K).

Late night update by Anthony D’Alessandro, Friday AM by Anita Busch. Follow Anthony at @Awardstony and Anita at @DeadlineAnita on Twitter.

Top 11 movies and notables based on industry estimates for the weekend of Dec. 23-26, 2016**:

1.) Rogue One  (DIS), 4,157 theaters  /$23M Fri. (-67%) / 3-day cume: $70M (-55%)/4-day:$106.5M /Total: $328.5M/Wk 2

2.) Sing (UNI), 4,022 theaters  /$13.1M Fri. / 3-day cume: $34.5M /4-day:$53.6M /Total: $74.1M/Wk 1

3.) Passengers  (SONY/VR), 3,478 theaters  /$4.4M Fri. / 3-day cume: $12.4M /4-day:$18.7M /Total: $26.1M/Wk 1

4.) Why Him?  (FOX), 2,917 theaters  /$3.9M Fri. (includes $975K previews) / 3-day cume: $10.3M /4-day:$15.4M /Wk 1

5.) Assassin’s Creed  (FOX), 2,970 theaters  /$3.7M Fri. / 3-day cume: $9.9M /4-day:$14.8M /Total: $22.2M/Wk 1

6). Moana  (DIS), 2,784 Theaters (-803) / $2.8M (-9%) Fri  /3-day cume: $6.9M (-46%)/4-day: $10.4M/Total: $183.5M/Wk 5

7.) Office Christmas Party  (PAR/DW), 2,679 theaters (-531) /$1.6M Fri. (-38%) / 3-day cume: $4.7M (-45%)/4-day: $6.9M/Total: $44M/Wk 3

 8.) Collateral Beauty  (WB/NL), 3,028 theaters  /$1.2M Fri. (-48%)  /3-day cume: $3.4M (-52%)/4-day: $5.2M/Total: $16.2M/Wk 2

9). Manchester by the Sea (RSA/AMZ) 1,213 theaters  (+7)/$953K (-25%) Fri. /3-day: $3.1M (-26%)/4-day: $4.8M/Total: $21.1M/Wk 6

10). Fantastic Beasts…  (WB), 1,966 theaters (-1,070) /$1.1M Fri. (-15%) / 3-day cume: $2.9M (-42%)/4-day: $4.5M/Total: $215.8M/Wk 6

La La Land (LG) 205 theaters (+5)/$977K Fri/Total: $8.86M

11). Dangal (UTV), 331 theaters  /$896K Fri. / 3-day cume: $2.45M /4-day:$2.2m /Total: $3.6M/Wk 1

Notables:

patriots-day
CBS Films/Lionsgate

Patriots Day  (CBS/LG), 7 theaters  /$53k Fri. / 3-day cume: $158k /3-day PTA: $22,5k/$4-day:$229k /Total: $325k/Wk 1

Silence  (PAR), 4 theaters  /$64k Fri. / 3-day cume: $161k /3-day PTA: $40,2K/4-day:$221K/ Wk 1

Fences (Par)  4 theaters/$26K Fri./Total: $218K/Wk 2

A Monster Calls  (FOC), 4 theaters  /$15K Fri. / 3-day cume: $49K /3-day PTA: $12,K/4-day:$73k/Wk 1

**La La Land (which heads into 734 theaters Sunday) and Fences which goes wide on Christmas Day could both work their way into top 10 and their estimates have been excluded for the time being.

Ben Mendelsohn - Rogue One.jpeg
Walt Disney Studios

Write-thru, 5:13PM After 1:09 PM Update: Based on estimates early this evening, Disney/LucasFilms’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story may end up taking in about $80M for the three-day weekend with a possible $113M for four days, which means by this end of this weekend, Rogue One could spark to around $335M+ domestically. While most theaters are closed in the U.K. on Christmas Day, many are also closed within Europe and Latin America on Christmas Eve so that will impact the larger picture. Right now, Rogue One is on the verge of crossing $200M internationally.

In the meantime, Illumination and Universal’s Sing could end up taking in about $14M today for a three-day total of $33M and about $50M for the four-days. That means its six-day tally could end up around $70M which would be right in line with estimates. Animated titles usually take a larger hit on Christmas Eve and then get a bump back up on Sunday.

Next up in the pecking order is Sony’s sci-fi Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence starrer Passengers which might take in around $13.3M to $14M for the three day. If that tracks the way it looks like now, that means $20M to $21M for the four-day and $29.5M for six days. Passengers has an estimated $110M production cost before P&A and Sony had predicted anywhere between $30M and $35M and are hoping for the strong female pop on Christmas.

Distributors also expect to reap the rewards of next week’s bump in moviegoing that should last through New Year’s weekend.

Fox’s Why Him?, the R-rated comedy that stars James Franco and Bryan Cranston, could post $4.5M today and maybe $10.2M to $10.7M for the weekend which would be 38% to 40% below its best comp, Office Christmas Party. Why Him? which has a good social media presence, could end its four-days with around $15.3M to $16.5M.

Fox also has the Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard adaptation of the wildly successful Ubisoft video game Assassins Creed in the marketplace. And will have another soon in 25 theaters in two days  with the Ted Melfi-directed Hidden Figures (from Chernin Ent.) about the women behind NASA’s success in putting Astronaut John Glenn into orbit. Assassins Creed may take in just $10.3M for three days and $15.5M for four days. Maybe $23M in its six-day run.

Driven by Rogue One and the plethora of films in the marketplace, all eyes are on whether 2016 will bust through 2015’s record-setting $11.1 billion mark. That could happen. Stay tuned 

why-him
20th Century Fox

PREVIOUSLY, 7:28  AM: Fox’s Why Him?an R-rated comedy that is similar in concept to Meet the Fockers, started off its holiday box office with a $975K from 2,380 locations in Thursday night previews as the film starts its foray into the the very crowded Christmas weekend. It opened at 7 PM. While there was no Thursday night previews for the Fockers’ films (studios only put in Thursday previews as an answer to the Aurora theater shooting in 2012) there is another comp to look at. Earlier this month, the R-rated comedy Office Christmas Party from Paramount and Dreamworks opened to $950K at 2,429 theaters from shows also starting at 7 PM. It ended up bringing in $17.5M for the three-day. This is a very different weekend as college-aged kids are flooding the marketplace, as is everyone else.

Leading up to today, we have seen a two-tier box office with Disney/Lucasfilm’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story leading the pack as it did again last night with an estimated $16.7M for the No. 1 slot. It has collected about $221.9M to date. Then there’s the well-reviewed Sing from Illumination Entertainment and Universal which grossed another $9.6M down just 13% from its previous’ nights take. The animated family film heads into the weekend, having gathered about $20.6M.

The last time Christmas fell on a Sunday was in 2011 so this prompted films to open mid-week. Besides Sing, Sony’s Passengers and Fox’s Assassin’s Creed also released on Wednesday and right now sit in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots, respectively. Passengers grossed about $3.2M last night ($7.3M so far) and Assassin’s Creed took in an estimated $2.8M ($7.48M). Hence, the two-tiers — a wide gap between the top two films and the rest of the pack.

But here’s the question for all these films: Christmas Eve falls on a Saturday this year and, traditionally, there is a big fall-off in moviegoing so this is an atypical three-day weekend. Likewise, Christmas traditionally sees a major bump.

Because of that, on Christmas Sunday we will see Paramount’s Fences (going wide) and La La Land from Lionsgate upping to 733 locations after enjoying its platformed rollouts. We also have a number of pictures in limited release now and many of them vying for Oscar — Peter Berg-Mark Wahlberg combo Patriots DayMartin Scorsese’s Silence, Ted Melfi’s Hidden Figures from Chernin/Fox, J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls with Felicity Jones, Maren Ade’s critically acclaimed dramedy Toni Erdmann (Germany’s entry for Best Foreign Film), Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women (for which Annette Bening is being buzzed about for a best actress nomination) and Ben Affleck’s Live by Night.