Weekend Wrap-Up

By Tim Briody

December 22, 2019

Farewell, Princess.

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Time for the weekend we've been waiting for all ye...wait, Endgame was this year? Okay, time for the weekend we've been waiting for since Endgame was released.

With The Rise of Skywalker, the final(?) episode of the main Star Wars story was finally released this weekend, after much anticipation. Both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi cracked $200 million opening weekend, but quite a lot has changed in two years, as this list, helpfully cribbed from my Last Jedi column shows:

Iron Man 3 $68.3 million Friday, $15.6 million Thursday, $52.7 million Friday actual, $158.5 million weekend minus Thursday, 3.00 multiplier
Avengers: $80.5 million Friday, $18.7 million Thursday, $61.8 million Friday actual, $188.7 million weekend minus Thursday, 3.05 multiplier
Avengers: Age of Ultron: $84.5 million Friday, $27.6 million Thursday, $65.8 million Friday actual, $163.6 million weekend minus Thursday, 2.48 multiplier
Jurassic World: $82.8 million Friday, $18.5 million Thursday, $64.3 million Friday actual, $190.3 million weekend minus Thursday, 2.96 multiplier
Avatar: $26.7 million Friday, $3.5 million Thursday, $23.2 million Friday actual, $73.5 million weekend minus Thursday, 3.16 multiplier.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: $37.1 million Friday, $13 million Thursday, $24.1 million Friday actual, $71.6 million weekend minus Thursday, 2.97 multiplier
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: $91 million Friday, $43.5 million Thursday, $47.5 million Friday actual, $125.6 million weekend minus Thursday, 2.64 multiplier
Avengers: Infinity War: $106 million Friday, $39 million Thursday, $67 million Friday actual, $218.6 million weekend minus Thursday, 3.26 multiplier
Avengers: Endgame: 156.7 million Friday, $60 million Thursday, $96.7 million Friday actual, $297.1 million minus Thursday, 3.07 multiplier
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: $120.5 million Friday, $57 million Thursday, $63.5 million Friday actual, $190.9 million weekend minus Thursday, 3.00 multiplier
Star Wars: The Last Jedi: $104.8 million Friday, $45 million Thursday, $59.8 million Friday actual, $175 million weekend minus Thursday, 2.92 multiplier

Along with Marvel usurping the opening weekend crown from Star Wars (taking it from Disney and giving it to...Disney, but that's beside the point), movie viewing habits have also changed noticeably in the two years since The Last Jedi's release, when viewers are only willing to come out for something truly special. Episode IX certainly fits the description of "truly special" but The Last Jedi (supposedly) alienated some viewers (not this one) and The Rise of Skywalker came in with surprisingly anemic reviews, rating 57% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes (whereas The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi came in with 93% Fresh and 91% Fresh respectively).

As Kim Hollis reported yesterday, The Rise of Skywalker earned $90 million on Friday, with $40 million of that coming from Thursday night showings. So, with an "actual" Friday total of $50 million, that's down 16% from the first day of The Last Jedi. Not great, but not really out of the ordinary given the factors going against it.

Given the how the previous two Star Wars films performed, should The Rise of Skywalker performed similarly, it was looking at a weekend of $186 to $190 million.

Well, The Rise of Skywalker earned $175 million for the weekend. To complete the above list, that means:

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: $90 million Friday, $40 million Thursday, $50 million Friday actual, $135 million weekend minus Thursday, 2.7 multiplier

Before you send any hate (or fan) mail: this isn't calling The Rise of Skywalker a disappointment. It's going to make a billion dollars worldwide with its eyes closed (it's already got $375 million after a weekend); it's going to perform exceedingly well over the next 10 days because we're now officially in the 12 Days of Box Office. In fact, you can make the argument that the calendar configuration here is most beneficial to box office as Christmas Eve and/or Day doesn't occupy a weekend spot as happened in both 2015 and 2017. This is the 12th best domestic opening weekend of all time, but apparently that's just not good enough anymore.




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While it's surprising that without a miracle, The Rise of Skywalker will fall short of joining The Force Awakens (#1 all time with $936 million) and The Last Jedi (#9 with $620 million) in the all time domestic top ten (that's just too big a hill to climb at this point, with the gatekeeper being The Incredibles 2 at $608 million), at the same time it's not, as this is how viewing habits have changed so rapidly in a short amount of time. You can look at the 2016 standalone film Rogue One as possibly the best comparison for the next few weekends, as it started with a $155 million weekend and finished with $532.1 million, good for 13th all time. Notice we don't talk about Solo, because after Star Wars dominated three consecutive Decembers, someone thought it was a good idea to release that one over Memorial Day weekend, and it more or less flopped with just $213 million.

Wherever The Rise of Skywalker goes from here, Box Office Prophets will be tracking it over the Twelve Days of Box Office.

Second place is Jumanji: The Next Level, dropping 56% to $26.1 million and but crossing the $100 million mark with $101.9 million in two weekends. While Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was the surprising big winner in 2017 against The Last Jedi, the second weekend hit here gives a little bit of pause as to whether lightning can strike twice. It should course correct this week with some strong daily figures over the holiday, but it's clear that The Next Level is not going to duplicate the $400 million performance of the last one.

Frozen II has made it to the promised land mostly intact, earning $12.3 million in its fifth weekend and has $386.5 million to date. Sometime mid week (Christmas Day perhaps, or would that be too on the nose?), Frozen II will match Frozen's $400 million total in a third of the time. I'm not sure there's the staying power to get it to $500 million after the holiday season, but it's going to make a run at it.

And now we have our other opener this weekend, Cats. With just $6.5 million, I'd call it a complete disaster but this is a high tide that rises all boats. Plus it's reached "so bad it's good" status after just a weekend based on Twitter reaction that while it's not going to pull a The Greatest Showman (which turned an $8.8 million pre-Christmas weekend into $174.3 million), it's going to end up with a higher total than this weekend indicates. As an added bonus, if you've somehow already seen it, Cats is about to receive an update to some of its visual effects, which is just absolutely unheard of. This is probably not going to impact its box office, but these day one patches are getting out of hand.

Knives Out adds $6.1 million in its fourth weekend and has $89.5 million to date. The Christmas week will send it over $100 million, as Rian Johnson sips some tea while the internet reacts to The Rise of Skywalker.

Expanding to wide release, likely Oscar contender Bombshell goes from four theaters to 1,480 and earns $5 million. Based on events at Fox News, the film stars Charlize Theron (as Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (as Gretchen Carlson) and Margot Robbie (as a fictional producer) and while the reviews are in the middle (65% Fresh), Theron and Robbie are considered likely nominees for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Between this and Knives Out, there are certainly movies out there aimed at older audiences and those not interested in or who've already seen Star Wars during the prime box office season.

Richard Jewell cements its flop status with $2.5 million and $9.5 million in two weekends. It won't really be much of a factor over the next 10 days as there are some new Christmas releases to sweep it away.

Queen & Slim earns $1.8 million and has $36.5 million in four weekends, Black Christmas also adds $1.8 million and has $7.2 million after two weeks, while Ford v. Ferrari finally crosses $100 million in its sixth weekend with $1.8 million and $101.9 million total.

Boosted by Star Wars, the top 12 films this weekend earned $241.4 million. That's well ahead of last year, when a bunch of non-Star Wars films earned $165.3 million. We got that weekend's batch of Christmas releases last year, led by Aquaman and $67.8 million.

We head into the final weekend of 2019, and with Christmas Day falling on Wednesday there are three new releases/expansions: The critically acclaimed adaptation of Little Women by Greta Gerwig, the animated Spies in Disguise, and the expansion of Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler whose performance many are saying deserves an Oscar nomination, which is something that would cause heads to explode if you said this to people in 1999.

Merry Christmas to all our readers and Happy 12 Days of Box Office!


Top Ten for Weekend of December 20-22, 2019
Rank
Film
Distributor
Estimated
Gross ($)
Weekly Change
Cumulative
Gross ($)
1 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Walt Disney 175.5 New 175.5
2 Jumanji: The Next Level Sony Pictures 26.1 -56% 101.9
3 Frozen II Walt Disney 12.3 -36% 386.5
4 Cats Universal 6.5 New 6.5
5 Knives Out Lionsgate 6.1 -33% 89.5
6 Bombshell Lionsgate 5.0 +1,490% 5.4
7 Richard Jewell Warner Bros. 2.5 -45% 9.5
8 Queen & Slim Universal 1.8 -48% 36.5
9 Black Christmas Universal 1.8 -58% 7.2
10 Ford v Ferrari 20th Century Fox 1.8 -56% 101.9
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations

     


 
 

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