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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story soars at US box office as Collateral Beauty bombs

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Story by Jack Foley

ROGUE One: A Star Wars Story has soared at the US box office by taking $155 million in its first weekend to lay claim to the second best December opening of all-time behind last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Gareth Edwards’ stand-alone spin-off also performed really well overseas, landing a further $135.5 million for a global launch of $290.5 million.

The film debuted No. 1 everywhere and posted the top opening of the year to date in several countries, including the UK with $21 million (including previews). It has yet to open in China and South Korea.

Rogue One, which cost a reported $200 million to make, is set before the events of 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and follows a group of rebels, led by Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), who obtain the plans for the Death Star, which are later given to Princess Leia.

Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker also star.

Commenting on the film’s impressive start, Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis said: “This is a massive opening and the second-best by a wide margin. And it sets us up in a perfect way for the lucrative holiday period ahead. It is a litmus test for what these stand-alone movies can be, both from a story perspective and a commercial perspective.”

While the news was all good for Rogue One and its associated risks, the weekend was a complete disaster for Will Smith’s Collateral Beauty, which mustered only $7 million to mark the worst opening figure of Smith’s career.

The $36 million film finds Smith playing a successful New York advertising executive who is struck by tragedy, prompting him to write letters to love, time and death – and get a response.

Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Edward Norton, Michael Pena and Naomie Harris co-star in the movie, which was also roundly panned by critics for being too sentimental.

Commenting on its under-performance, Warner Bros. domestic distribution president Jeff Goldstein said: “The attendance was much lower than what we wanted and of course we’re disappointed. I’m hopeful that the older audience this was made for will turn out come Christmas Day.”

Collateral Beauty‘s opening figure meant that it only placed fourth in the US, behind runaway leader Rogue One, Disney’s Moana and R-rated comedy Office Christmas Party, which took $8.5 million in its second weekend.

Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them rounded out the US top five with $5 million for a US total of $207.7 million.

At the specialty box office, Oscar front-runner La La Land – an homage to the Hollywood musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone – continued to dazzle with $4 million from only 200 cinemas. Its 10-day US total now stands at $5.3 million.

The musical earned seven Golden Globe nominations, the most of any film.

It placed seventh, one behind Oscar rival Manchester By The Sea, which earned $4.2 million from 1,208 venues for a US total of $14 million.

Next story: Margot Robbie to re-team with David Ayer for all-female Gotham City Sirens