‘Little Women,’ ‘1917’ to Close Out 2019 Box Office

It’s the final countdown.

As 2019 winds to a close, ticket sales remain down 4.6% from last year. But movie theaters are relying on a range of offerings — new movies like “Little Women,” and holdovers including “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “Jumanji: The Next Level” — to provide one final box office jolt. Though receipts aren’t expected to match 2018’s domestic record, the stretch between Christmas and New Year is often the busiest time for moviegoing and could help boost this year’s bottom line.

After “Rise of Skywalker” kicked off last weekend with $177 million in domestic ticket sales, the ninth entry in the space-opera series will easily reign supreme again. If “Rise of Skywalker” sees a decline similar to its trilogy predecessors, 2015’s “The Force Awakens” and 2017’s “The Last Jedi,” the tentpole could earn another $75 million to $80 million over the five-day holiday weekend.

On Monday, “Rise of Skywalker” collected $29.2 million, marking the sixth-biggest Monday haul ever. Those ticket sales propelled its domestic tally to $206 million for a global haul of $433 million.

Two new movies will cater beyond enthusiasts of a galaxy far, far away. Sony’s “Little Women” opens in 3,100 theaters on Christmas Day and should collect $16 million to $20 million through Sunday.

Greta Gerwig enlisted a star-studded cast — including Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothee Chalamet, Laura Dern and Meryl Streep — for her retelling of the literary classic. The period drama, which has enjoyed solid reviews, follows the March sisters as they come of age in New England in the 1860s. It carries a $40 million price tag.

Disney-Fox’s animated adventure “Spies in Disguise” will also arrive on the big screen. The family-friendly film, debuting Wednesday at 3,400 venues, is expected to earn $20 million to $30 million over the five-day frame. Will Smith and Tom Holland lent their voices to “Spies in Disguise,” a comedy set in the world of international espionage. The movie, produced by Chernin Entertainment, sees the unlikely duo of a spy (Smith) and a scientist (Holland) team up to save the world. Complicating matters, Holland’s bumbling tech genius accidentally turns Smith’s secret agent into a pigeon. Let chaos reign!

Elsewhere, A24’s “Uncut Gems” is expanding across the country after a two-week stint in limited release. The suspense thriller, directed by Josh and Benny Safdie and starring Adam Sandler, has earned $1 million to date. It should collect around $9 million during the holiday stretch.

As awards season ramps up, a handful of movies are launching at the specialty box office. DreamWorks and Universal’s “1917,” a World War I epic from director Sam Mendes (“Skyfall,” “Spectre”), is debuting in 11 theaters. Critics fell in love with the action drama, which follows two young British soldiers (George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman) tasked with the dangerous mission of delivering a message that could save hundreds of lives. The film won’t erase the studio’s embarrassing misstep with “Cats,” but box office watchers anticipate “1917” could become a commercial hit when it broadens nationwide in January.

Warner Bros.’ legal drama “Just Mercy” is also debuting in limited release. Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan star in the pic, centering on a black man wrongly accused of murder.