Finally, we’ve been able to say good-bye to 2016 … but we’re not quite ready to crown a champion when it comes to the box office.
At the moment, the top film of the year is Pixar’s Finding Dory, thanks to a $486.3 million haul in North America. Yet, the Star Wars anthology film Rogue One isn’t done, as it moves up into the No. 2 spot and is now just $60 million away from keeping that top spot in the Star Wars family.
Rogue One picked up another $41.4 million over the weekend, according to Variety, bringing its total to around $425 million. While $60 million might seem like a steep climb, Rogue One does have one key advantage – January is not a big month when it comes to movies.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens got to enjoy some of that at the beginning of 2016, earning first-place finishes in the first two weekends of January with a combined $132.6 million before finally giving way to Ride Along 2 the weekend of Jan. 15.
And when Ride Along 2 plummeted in its second week, The Revenant moved up to first, with The Force Awakens trailing, earning yet another $14.1 million.
The studios aren’t completely leaving January alone. Some Oscar contenders like The Founder and Silence will expand wide, while Paramount Pictures has slim hopes to kick off the new year on a high note with its animated Monster Trucks.
Sony Pictures has its own plans with Underworld: Blood Wars, while Paramount will pop back yet again with xXx: Return of Xander Cage.
So it’s expected Rogue One will lose its current No. 1 ranking pretty early in January. But it just needs to keep its anticipated box office decline as steady as possible if the film wants any chance to overcome Finding Dory.
The Star Wars film is tracking to finish at just under $500 million, which will make it very close to Finding Dory. And that’s still a far cry from The Force Awakens, which topped 2015 with $936.7 million.
No matter who finishes at top, it will be a win for Disney, which owns the studios that distributed both films.
Disney has by far dominated the domestic box office this year with a tad under $2.9 billion, commanding nearly 26 percent of the total market. Only Warner Bros. was close, except it made $1 billion less, earning control of 17 percent of the market.
Warner Bros. needed far more films to get there, too, releasing 33 in 2016, averaging $57.4 million per film. Disney, on the other hand, nearly reached the $3 billion mark with only 17 films, meaning it averaged a box office run of $170.4 million per film.
Disney also had six of the 10 biggest box office weekends of the year, according to The Numbers, led by Captain America: Civil War in May with a $179.1 million opening.
Whether Rogue One will finish on top, we’ll know soon enough. And then we only have to wait for the end of this year for Star Wars: Episode VIII.
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