Box Office: 'Rogue One' And 'Sing' Rule Christmas, 'Passengers, 'Assassin's Creed' Struggle

1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story- $96M/$318M
While there were a ton of new releases over the Christmas holiday, nobody expected Rogue One to drop out of first place just yet. The Star Wars prequel earned $96M over the four-day weekend, $64M if you only include three days. The film has already well over $500M worldwide and is a definite hit for Disney, although not on the scale of The Force Awakens. Did anybody expect it to be? The film earned $26M on Christmas Day, good for second all-time behind...oh, The Force Awakens. Expect another couple of weeks of huge numbers, which should make everyone less skittish about these spinoffs.
2. Sing (review)- $56M/$76.6M
The animated comedy-musical Sing hit all the right notes over the four-day weekend, scoring $76M total. Opening on Wednesday to get a jump on the holidays, the film has already nailed its production budget after only six days, although overall this is on the low end for Illumination. The Secret Life of Pets opened with $104M just last summer, but then it didn't have a Star Wars movie looming over it. So we probably can't expect this to do Despicable Me or Minions numbers, but I suspect the strong reviews and star-studded voice cast will carry it into January just fine.
3. Passengers (review)- $23.1M/$30.4M
Things got off to a rough start for the sci-fi romance, Passengers, which stars certified A-listers Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. The $110M film opened with a rough $22M through Sunday but rebounded a little to end up with $30.4M over the four days. That's still not great for the long-developing film, which had been kicking around Hollywood for ten years before coming together. As I've said so many times this year, cost is everything. This movie probably should have cost a bit less, and this debut would look a lot better.
4. Why Him? (review)- $16.7M
Comedies tend to make for solid counterprogramming this time of year (remember Sisters?), and the harmless James Franco/Bryan Cranston comedy Why Him? held its own against Rogue One. The film earned $16.7M which is pretty good for the $38M-budgeted laugher.
5. Assassin's Creed (review)- $15M/$22.4M
The final "blockbuster" of 2016 went to Assassin's Creed, the video game adaptation that came equipped with more talent than the genre usually affords. Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard led the way, but not even they could the film over $22M across four days. That's an ugly start for what 20th Century Fox were hoping would be the start of an epic trilogy, powered by the bestselling game's rabid fan base. There's always hope overseas box office saves the day, but I'm not sold on its long term prospects.
6. Fences (review)- $11.3M/$11.5M
The big expansion went to Denzel Washington's Fences, the searing drama based on August Wilson's Pultizer Prize-winning play. The adaptation, which Washington made his third feature as a director, added over 2200 theaters in week two, totaling $11.3M. With Washington and co-star Viola Davis pegged for serious Oscar contention, Fences should stick around a while. It could possibly beat The Great Debaters's $30M haul to be his top-grossing film as director.
7. Moana- $10.4M/$183.4M
8. La La Land- $9.7M/$17.5M
9. Office Christmas Party- $7.2M/$44.2M
10. Collateral Beauty- $7M/$18M

And finally, Fox (who has been busy this month) opened Hidden Figures (review) in 25 theaters, earning $955K. Whoa. That averages out to $38K per site, which is a good sign for the crowd-pleasing drama. The film stars Taraji P. Henson (in a possible Best Actress performance), Janelle Monae, and Octavia Spencer as African-American mathematicians who were key to NASA's successes during the space race. It's an unabashed crowd-pleaser and should do well when it expands further.