December 31, 2016

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “Rogue One” & “Sing” On Top Again, “La La Land” To Become 2016’s #1 Indie


There were no new openings for New Year’s weekend, and not much in the way of surprises among the returning titles.  ROGUE ONE (Lucasfilm/Disney) continued its ride through the holidays with $18.1M on Friday according to preliminary numbers at Deadline.  That’s up about 8% from Thursday, and business should go down on New Year’s Eve, up on Sunday and then down again on Monday, for a 4-day weekend total around $63M that will have it in the neighborhood of $440M by January 2, about 41% below where Force Awakens was at that point in its run.  That suggests a final US total of $550M, which would make it 2016’s #1 release and #6 of all time, nestled below The Avengers ($623.4M) and above The Dark Knight ($534.9M).  It would also cement the Star Wars franchise as America’s most lucrative, with 4 of the nation’s Top 10 titles in box office history.  (No other franchise has more than 1 in that list.)  Things are less rosy internationally, though, where Rogue One is currently at $312.5M.  That number will rise when the film opens in China next weekend, but it’s not clear whether its overseas total will be higher than half Force Awakens‘ $1.13B, around the level of Finding Dory–hugely profitable, to be sure, but not elite.

SING (Illumination/Universal) is Rogue One‘s only significant competition.  It earned $16.9M on Friday, up very slightly from Thursday, and should have a $60M 4-day weekend that would put it above $180M by Monday, on track for $250M+ in the US, enough to hit the year’s Top 10.

It was a big step down to PASSENGERS (Village Roadshow/LStar/Columbia/Sony) and its $5.6M on Friday, up about 20% from Thursday.  You can tell the studio has given up on this one, because its flacks are now spreading the word about Sony’s exposure being lower than that of the other investors (purportedly 30% of the $250M production/marketing total, although such deals are always more complicated than that). Passengers probably won’t hit $100M in the US, and its fate will rest overseas.

Like Sing, MOANA (Disney Animation) held very well on Friday, roughly even with Thursday at $4.2M.  It should be at about $213M by Monday after a $14M long weekend, and will likely end up at $230-240M in the US.

If the preliminary numbers hold, FENCES (Bron/Paramount) had a terrific Friday, up roughly 40% from Thursday to $3.5M, putting it in line for a $13M 4-day weekend and a $32M total by Monday.  It will face direct competition from Hidden Figures next weekend, but should still get above $50M in the US.

LA LA LAND (Summit/Lionsgate) is still at only 750 theatres, about 1/3 of Fences‘s total, but it was right behind on Friday at $3.1M, up 25% from Thursday.  It will become the highest independent release of 2016 by Monday with a total around $36M, and has a great deal of potential upside as it continues to expand into wider release through awards season.

WHY HIM? (20th) rose about 20% from Thursday to $3.3M, on track for a $35M total by Monday and $50M or so in the US, needing some overseas help to pay for its production/marketing costs.

ASSASSIN’S CREED (Regency/20th) will only make its way out of a flood of red ink if it’s a huge success overseas.  In the US, it was up about 20% from Thursday to $3M, and it may not get past $55M here, which won’t pay for much of its $300M costs.

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Amazon/Roadside) is quietly continuing to sell tickets despite the heavy competition, up about 20% from Thursday to $1.2M.  It should be close to $30M by Monday, which would have made it the year’s #1 indie if La La Land weren’t earning even faster.  Nevertheless, with continuing success expected throughout awards season, it’s a genuine success story among the year’s serious dramas.

The much more expensive COLLATERAL BEAUTY (New Line/RatPac/Warners) is the other side of that coin, up a few percentage points from Thursday to $1.4M and heading for a $26M total by Monday and a US total that might reach a sickly $35M.

HIDDEN FIGURES (20th) continues to thrive in a 25-theatre release, up around 28% from Thursday and headed for a 3-day weekend per-theatre average about $36K.  20th CENTURY WOMEN (A24), which arrived midweek at 4 theatres, should have a robust $32K per-theatre average over the 3-day weekend after a 50% Friday rise.  PATRIOTS DAY (CBS/Lionsgate), at 7, should average around $19K for the 3-day weekend after a steady Friday.  SILENCE (Paramount) is treading water with a $20K per-theatre 3-day average at 4 after a 30% Friday increase.  JULIETA (Sony Classics) will average around $10K for the 3-day weekend at 4.  LIVE BY NIGHT (Warners) increased 35% on Friday, but is struggling in limited release, and will average just $7500 at 4 for the 3-day weekend.  A MONSTER CALLS (Focus/Universal) should have opened in a less crowded season, lost in the shuffle with a $5K weekend average at 4 despite a reported 75% Friday bump.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."