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Monday Mixer: 'Rogue One' is big, but is it massive?

Posted Monday, December 19, 2016 at 10:20 AM Central
Last updated Monday, December 19, 2016 at 4:34 PM Central

by John Couture

How do we define success?

Success is something that we talk about each week with this column, but by its very nature, success is relative. If a small indie film that cost $1 million to make goes out and makes a $10 million splash at the box office in its opening weekend, then it's a huge success. On the flip side, if the latest Transformers film only opened with $10 million, I think Michael Bay would finally be banned from directing another film forever.

I guess from a certain perspective, that would be considered a success too.

I bring up this discussion of success because I'm sure that you will see and hear various reactions today regarding the opening weekend box office performance of Rogue One. On the one hand, a $155 million opening for any film over the course of a traditional three-day opening weekend is huge. But, when you realize that The Force Awakens opened up with $250 million during the same weekend last year, some people might actually claim that Rogue One was a failure.

Don't believe it. By every measure, Rogue One was a massive success and time will only tell where it will end up and how it will stack up against other stand-alone Star Wars films.

Box Office 411

I certainly didn't bury the lede when I mentioned Rogue One's $155 million opening above, but there's still so much to talk about. If you recall, we predicted that Rogue One would finish up the year at the top of the box office with a total take of $551 million and I still believe this to be the case.

Currently, Finding Dory is the clubhouse leader for 2016 with a box office total of $486 million. For comparison's sake, Finding Dory opened with $135 million, so there's more to the box office puzzle than simply getting as much as you can in your first weekend. Conversely, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had one of the top openings of the year with $166 million, but business declined quickly before it ultimately finished with $331 million at the box office.

At this time of the year, the name of the game is legs. How will the film perform week to week? That's one of the things that often gets lost in the shuffle, but the truly massive box office performers take the tortoise approach much more often than the trek of the hare. For Rogue One, I think the film will enjoy great staying power, but we'll get a better idea of just how much after this week's onslaught of new releases.

Christmas week is usually a big new release week, but last year many studios steered clear of The Force Awakens, but there are at least five legitimate new wide releases this week and how Rogue One is able to perform in the face of this competition will go a long way to determining its ultimate box office fate.

It's hard for me to be biased when it comes to Star Wars and I've seen Rogue One (more to come later on the site), so I'm firm believer that Rogue One will end up passing Finding Dory before it ends north of $500 million.

The only other film to brave a wide opening opposite of Rogue One was Warner Bros.' Collateral Beauty. The Will Smith film debuted in fourth place with a paltry $7 million, which ranks right up there in terms of worst Will Smith openings of all time. The film will probably find a decent audience in the coming weeks though as the cast is just too massive to ignore. I figure that it will end up around $30 million which would be considered a good rebound from a stumble out of the blocks.

Quick Hitters

  • One of those films opening this week is the Sci-Fi thriller Passengers starring two of the hottest stars in Hollywood, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. Before they start steaming up the silver screen, they traded a few playground insults and the results were glorious.

  • Every year, we highlight Sleepy Skunk's year-end trailer mashup and I'm continually blown away by his talent. This year is no exception. I only wish that we still had the time and resources to highlight this in its own story, but this will have to suffice.

    The mark of a good composition is its ability to move you to emotion and this trailer mashup does just that.

  • Finally today, we no longer have time to post stories on all of the big trailer debuts, but this is one that I think needs to be showcased here. It's the first look at The Fate of the Furious and as you can see, things have changed a bit.

    This is supposedly the first in a series of three new Fast films, so it's clear that the series is taking on a more of a darker tone.