• Box Office

World Box Office, December 27 2016 – January 1 2017

As it was widely expected Rogue One: A Star Wars Story keeps  generating amazing numbers. Adding $65 million dollars to the North American market on New Year’s weekend, it now stands at $440 million, finishing 2016 right behind Finding Dory and ahead of Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War that ended it’s run just above the $400 million mark. In other words, Disney can celebrate the end of the year with the No. 1, No.2 and No. 3 positions, and an unprecedented market share of 26 %. Still many movies managed to escape the shadow of the Empire and did pretty well, starting with Illumination’s Sing that grossed $41 million in the four day weekend and now has a domestic total close to $180 million. It has added at least $100 million abroad, with particularly strong showings in Korea, in Mexico, in Germany and in Spain. And it still has not opened in major markets such as China, Russia and the UK.

Several films positioned for the awards season did pretty well also. Passengers, the space romance with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, was still No. 3, with a projected $20 million four-day weekend and a total so far of $65 million. Denzel Washington’s adaptation of August Wilson’s Fences had another strong $13 million weekend, for a total $32 million: a personal victory for Mr. Washington, who directed and starred in the film along with Viola Davis.

Then there is La La Land. The numbers are pretty much in line with those of Fences, but the Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling musical seems destined for way bigger numbers. Other Golden Globe contenders are Hidden Figures and 20th Century Woman, and as they expect to go wider they are already attracting big audiences in the  limited number of theaters where they are playing.

Things were good also for Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, now at a quite fantastic international cumulative of $555 million. China alone is good for $85 million, the UK for $64,  Japan for $54. Back to China, The Great Wall starring Matt Damon is close to $150 million, and Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge is now close to $55 million.

The official tally of the North American box office for 2016 will be released on Tuesday, but according to comScore estimates it amounted to $11.36 billion, a new record and up 2.1 percent from last year. There were major disappointments, specially during the days of summer. Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, Ben Hur, The Huntsman’s: Winter’s War, God of Egypt, Brad Pitt’s name could not save Allied, Will Smith’s had the same experience with Collateral Beauty. Still, it was a record year, as China’s instead showed signs of a slowdown. The box office there actually grew faster than in the U.S., at 3.7 %, for a total of $6.58 million. But last year it grew at over 48%. The sudden deceleration is the subject of much analysis and some of  the culprits are film reviewers. Still, China added 1,612 theaters in 2016 and now has a few hundred more theaters that the U.S., with a total of 41,179. Now comes the slowdown, and the projection that the Chinese box office would have surpassed the American in two years may need to be reviewed.