If there's one thing you can count on from Star Wars fans, it's their unwavering willingness to throw gobs of money at any new movie. Mix in the Disney marketing machine's ability to bring said fans to a frothing state of excitement and you have massive box office success.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story blasted out a massive $155 million opening weekend, the third highest debut of the year (Marvel and DC took the top two spots in that contest with Captain America: Civil War at $179 million and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice at $166 million).
By this time next week it will have pushed past Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them to stake its place as one of the top ten movies of the year, but it remains to be seen if it will have the holiday staying power needed to become the top movie of the year. That honor is currently held by Finding Dory and its $486 million domestic total.
The power of the Star Wars franchise suggests it could happen. Last Christmas Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted with $247 million, and held on to bank $936 million, the current all time domestic high score. If Rogue One could perform a little more than half that well, Disney could be looking at two consecutive years with a Star Wars movie in the top slot.
Star Wars movies always cast a large box office shadow, which begs the question why anyone would ever launch their movie on the same weekend. Warner Brothers either had high or super low expectations for Collateral Beauty to put it against Rogue One, and lower expectations proved the better bet. With only $7 million the Will Smith drama opened at a paltry fourth place.
La La Land expanded to 200 venues from just 5 last weekend and continued to make a strong showing. With $4 million it banked over $20,000 per venue, second only in the top ten toRogue One's $37,000 per. Another holiday season award bait entry, the film adaptation of August Wilson's acclaimed play, Fences, made a big splash in small release. It took in $32,000 per theater in just 4 locations.
For the full weekend top ten, check out the chart below: