Box Office Wrap Up: Disney’s Triumph Complete.
“All through the cinemaplex, not a creature was earning, but only The Mouse.”
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has taken first place this week, receiving the baton from another Disney film, Moana. For Disney’s parent company, Beauna Vista, this is the 20th weekend of the year in which they have controlled the top spot. For many of those weeks they had two films in the the top three. The earnings records for a single year, both domestic and world-wide are certain to be set this year. With their control of Marvel, Disney, and Star Wars, it is hard to see another film studio coming up with such a perfect storm of guaranteed hits, and having the leverage to make sure that those franchises produce so many varied products all in one year.
Overall Box Office.
For all of that hype and hoopla, the overall box office figures were down from last year…but it was going to be inevitable that Rogue One could not create the same raw voltage as The Force Awakens. As The Force Awakens did last year, the giant wave of Star Wars earnings depressed the earnings for other films, though not nearly as much as TFA. Last year, all of the films not named Star Wars saw a roughly 60% drop to their earnings. This year, the effect roughly averages out to 50%, only slightly more pronounced that the usual week-on-week drop for a normal film.
The interesting part of this week’s figures is who didn’t lose: Oscar hopefuls La La Land and Manchester by the Sea saw excellent expansions, and had robust growth. Both had enough juice this time to jump into the top ten. For La La Land, that is nothing short of extraordinary: the film only showed at 200 locations and still managed to place very high on the charts in a week when Star Wars was eating everyone else’s lunch.
Star Wars managed to net 155 million dollars in its first go around, putting it in first place by a country mile. This amount is shy of TFA’s opening by about 100 million, but is the second best opening this year for Disney behind Captain America: Civil War, and Rogue One does have the distinction of having the second best opening in the Star Wars line up, right behind TFA.
Second place also went to The Mouse for Moana. If Moana is going to break 200 million domestically, it is going to need to have a very strong holiday showing, since most of the wind has left its sails/sales.
The third spot went to Office Christmas Party, which continues to quietly trudge along. For an ensemble comedy, it is doing really solid numbers, but it needs to stay that path to make up for a budget that is swollen by so many big-name comedians. It looks to be taking the same course as Horrible Bosses 2, the last movie to pair Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, and should turn a small profit.
Will Smith’s new movie, Collateral Beauty, managed a lackluster fourth place finish. There are very few paths for a film with a 7 million dollar opening and a 36 million dollar budget to becoming a success. It now seems that Smith feuding with the Academy may have been less about a potential snub for the film and more about trying to drive any kind of publicity his way.
Manchester by the Sea expanded to a full wide release and was rewarded with 6th place, making a tidy four million dollars. La La Land, featuring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, expanded from 5 to 200 theaters and reaped the rewards, landing at 7th place with nearly the same total. I’m not sure what the buzz on this film is, but I now have a contender for “token artsy film white people love that will not win best picture.” Thanks, La La Land, good to get that one out of the way early.
Finally, in 10th place, Tom Ford’s thriller Nocturnal Animals continues to languish in obscurity. The film has taken in an anemic 8 million dollars over 5 weeks, despite having a famous cast and legendary director.