“Rogue One” is the name of the weekend, as the Disney and Lucasfilm property has bagged $71.1 million at 4,157 locations after tallying Friday grosses. The film earned the biggest Thursday preview number of the year with $29 million and is heading for an opening weekend in the $145 to $150 million range.
Most competitors have backed away from opening a film against “Rogue One” with the exception of Warner Bros. and New Line’s “Collateral Beauty” co-financed by Village Roadshow. The film, starring Will Smith is off to slow start with only $2.4 million on Friday at 3,028 theaters.
“Rogue One” is the eighth movie in the Star Wars franchise, but the first to be billed as a standalone film. The story, though, is set within the timeline of the first seven — shortly before the events of 1977’s original “Star Wars” and key characters including Darth Vader and settings like the Death Star are included in the film. Still, it revolves around a fresh set of characters led by Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso who leads a group of rebel spies to steal the schematics for the Death Star. Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen, Donnie Yen, Alan Tudyk and Forest Whitaker also star. The film is directed by Gareth Edwards from a script by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy. It has earned an A CinemaScore across all demos and a mostly positive critical reception with an 84% on Rotten Tomatoes.
If “Rogue One” manages to make $150 million this weekend it will rank among the largest opening weekends of all time. That top slot goes to last year’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” which made a colossal $248 million, but “Rogue One” could end up no. 14 ahead of “Furious 7” ($147 million) and 2007’s “Spider-Man 3” ($151 million). To crack the top 20 it needs to earn more than “Suicide Squad’s” $133.7 million opening.
“Collateral Beauty” features a star-studded cast that includes, Smith, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Edward Norton, Michael Pena and Naomie Harris. The film, directed by David Frankel and written by Allan Loeb, tells the story of a man who is dealing with the death of his daughter. It has an overall A- CinemaScore and has been widely panned by critics with only a 14% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Awards season contender “La La Land” is expanding from five to 200 theaters this weekend. Friday totals estimate $1.36 million in earnings on its way to a $4 to $5 million weekend. Still in limited release, the film, distributed by Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment, will easily make the top ten overall.