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Battle at the Box Office 12/23

As expected by everyone on the planet, Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker easily dominated the box office over the past weekend but it may not have fully performed to Disney’s lofty expectations.

Rise of Skywalker took in $177.3 million for its opening weekend, the third largest Star Wars opening ever and the third largest December opening ever.  However, it’s down about $43 million from The Last Jedi and only topped Rogue One by about $22 million.  Word of mouth may not be as strong either with the movie earning a B+ Cinemascore, the only live action star wars movie to not earn a rating in the A range.  Worldwide, Rise of Skywalker opened to $375.1 million with domestic and international grosses combined, although much like other recent Star Wars movies, it is doing abysmally in China, where the population has little to no attachment to the brand.  It will most likely easily crack $1 billion worldwide but it does show a downward trend of this recent series that will probably make Disney go back to the drawing board.

Jumanji: The Next Level dropped to second place with another $26.5 million, dropping about 55% from last weekend but that’s pretty solid going toe to toe with Star Wars.  The movie has made over $102 million domestic and over $312 million worldwide so far.

Frozen II held on strong in third place, only dropping 33% from last week and taking in another $12.8 million.  It has now made over $387 million domestic and over $1.1 billion worldwide.  It is the now the 6th highest-grossing film of 2019 and the fourth highest-grossing animated film of all time.

Debuting in fourth place, Cats was one of the biggest disasters in cinema history.  Seemingly doomed since the first trailers hit, the movie was absolutely decimated by critics and had one of the worst openings of all time.  Making $6.6 million, it is the 18th worst opening for a movie opening in 3,000+ theaters, between Shorts and Masterminds.  Audiences that saw it were apparently not on board with its nightmarish weirdness either, giving it a C for a Cinemascore.  Costing well over $100 million to make, the movie is going to be a massive loss for Universal and probably won’t be around long for the remainder of the holiday season.

Knives Out rounded out the top 5 with $6.1 million and continued to have legs, only dropping 33% from last weekend like Frozen II.

Bombshell expanded wide and took sixth place with $5 million.  It’s hard to compare directly but against other similar movies when they expanded wide as well, Bombshell is tracking below most of them.  For instance, Vice opened to $5.7 million last year when it opened wide and The Big Short took in over $10 million when it went wide in its third weekend.  Both of those movies also had much more awards buzz, which Bombshell was clearly going for but doesn’t seem to be achieving.

The Per Theater average went to A Hidden Life, which made $49,369 in each of the 5 theaters it played in but Uncut Gems was very close as well, making $48,286 in 5 theaters as well.

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