No suprise Rise of Skywalker took the top spot, but did it live up to studio expectations?
It looks like Disney is going to have to wait for Christmas to really get a hold of how the final installment of the Star Wars saga plays out. There are some early negatives in the numbers, but a few quirks in how the holidays play out this year may make comparisons to past releases deceiving.
The failure of Cats, however, leaves no doubts. Tom Hooper’s adaptation of the Broadway smash got smashed.
This Week in Box Office History.
Holidays always make year end comparisons a nightmare. The box office 243 million dollars, largely on the back of Star Wars 9 and Jumanji 2. It was a large leap of 106% over last weekend, but largely predictable. Jumanji makes good money. It doesn’t make Star Wars money.
Comparing year to year gets dicier. Last year, Christmas fell so that this week was the long weekend. Even so, the comparison is pretty favorable to 2019. We finished 36% above last year counting just the normal 3 day weekend, and just 50 million dollars behind adding in the extra two days.
The year to date comparison has remained set in stone, between 5 and 6% behind 2018’s record. The fluidity of the numbers in the last weekends of the year have made comparing 2019’s position to anything but last year completely meaningless. We’ll break down the finals after the new year in our annual numbers article.
Top Film One Year Ago: Aquaman.
Top Film Ten Years Ago: Avatar.
Top Three Films.
Star Wars – Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker *phew* obviously took the top spot. The film tentatively stands at around 175 million dollars in estimated domestic dollars. That’s good enough for the 3rd biggest debut in December…but you can probably guess which movies were the first and second!
The downward trend for Star Wars opening numbers continued, with Skywalker being the only film in the new trilogy to not clear 200 million. An early surge had industry analysts bullish on hitting 200, but Disney predicted a more modest 165 million, hedging their bets. Overall, the film landed smack dab in the middle of high hopes and cautious appraisals. That lines up pretty well with review sentiments.
Second place saw Jumanji 2 pull down another 26 million dollars. That brings it’s domestic total to over 100 million in two weeks. In a testament to how strong the first film was over the long haul, that’s actually behind where the first film was after 10 days. This despite starting off with a 30 million dollar head start for the sequel!
Frozen hung on to stay in the top three, adding 12 million to its nearly 400 million dollars US take.
Outside the top three the bloodletting begins. Cats failed to land on its feet after terrible reactions to its promo material and execrable early reviews. The musical adaptation cost 95 million dollars to make and gained back just 6.5 million dollars on launch. That made it the 18th worst opening ever for a film showing on 3000 screens.
Bombshell’s wide expansion didn’t quite ignite, pulling in 5 million dollars in 1500 theaters.
Last week’s duds, Richard Jewell and Black Christmas, continued to falter. Even with the added traffic of a mid-week Christmas holiday, I think this will be their last week in the top ten.
Top Ten Films.
- Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (175.5)
- Jumanji: The Next Level (26.1)
- Frozen II (12.3)
- Cats (6.5)
- Knives Out (6.1)
- Bombshell (5.0)
- Richard Jewell (2.5)
- Queen & Slim (1.8)
- Black Christmas (1.8)
- Ford V Ferrari (1.8)