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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Sing rule Christmas US box office

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Story by Jack Foley

ROGUE One: A Star Wars Story and animated hit Sing set the pace at the US box office this Christmas, coming in first and second over the lucrative holiday period.

Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One remained the title to beat, grossing an estimated $96.1 million for the long holiday weekend (Friday-Monday), and jumping the $500 million mark globally, including clearing $317 million-plus in the US alone.

The film also continued to rule internationally, earning another $47.1 million for a foreign total of $237.4 million and a world-wide haul of $538.8 million.

Rogue One‘s biggest competition came from new animated offering Sing, which opened in second spot with an estimated $56.1 million between Friday and Monday. The film actually debuted in US cinemas on Wednesday, which means its six-day launch stands at $76.7 million.

Commenting on Sing‘s performance, Nick Carpou, Universal distribution chief, said: “This is a great launching point. We will continue to play extraordinarily well today and throughout this week, as well as into the New Year. For Illumination’s second original film of the year after The Secret Life of Pets, this is a really impressive start.”

Sing follows a struggling koala (voiced by Matthew McConaughey) who puts on an X-Factor-style singing contest in a bid to save his struggling theatre.

Opening in third spot, with slightly disappointing numbers, was Morten Tyldum’s Passengers, the sci-fi space romance starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, which posted a four-day weekend total of $23.1 million – and a six-day opening of $30.4 million.

Sony had hoped for somewhere between $30 million-$40 million but remains confident that the movie will continue to make up ground after seeing a big spike from Saturday to Sunday.

Passengers placed third at the festive box office, prompting Sony worldwide marketing and distribution chief Josh Greenstein to comment: “We are just getting started. Sunday was really the first day the true adult audience was available. We have a very entertaining popcorn movie, and I think we’ll end up at a very healthy number.”

In fourth spot came R-rated comedy Why Him?, starring Bryan Cranston and James Franco, with a four-day tally of $16.7 million, while the male-fuelled video game adaptation Assassin’s Creed, starring Michael Fassbender, rounded out the top five with a four-day tally of $16.7 million and six-day haul of $22.5 million

Just outside the top five was Denzel Washington’s Broadway play adaptation Fences, which nevertheless did pleasing business on Christmas Day as it expanded into 2,233 cinemas, earning an estimated $6.6 million for a four-day weekend of $12 million-$13 million, enough for a sixth place finish.

Disney’s Moana placed seventh, with $10.4 million, while awards darling La La Land – starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone – came eighth with $9.7 million.

There were also positive specialty releases for Martin Scorsese’s Silence, historical drama Hidden Figures, which boasted the top location average of any of the awards contenders, and Boston Marathon bombing drama Patriots Day.

Overall, however, Christmas weekend revenue in the US could be down more than 20% from last year owing to the tough comparisons posed by the success of another Star Wars entry, The Force Awakens.

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