â€œStar Wars: The Rise of Skywalkerâ€ will crush the box office this weekend with an enormous $195 million after taking in $90 million on Friday.
â€œThe Rise of Skywalkerâ€™sâ€ Friday total represents the sixth-highest opening day of all time, behind â€œHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,â€ which generated $91 million when it opened in 2011. â€œStar Wars: The Last Jediâ€ and â€œStar Wars: The Force Awakensâ€ both topped â€œThe Rise of Skywalkerâ€™sâ€ debut with $104 million and $119 million, respectively, for the fourth and second-highest opening days of all time.
More from Variety
The final chapter in the Skywalker saga is opening at 4,406 locations nationwide, and, should estimates hold, will come in slightly below higher industry forecasts of $200 million, though still above Disneyâ€™s projections in the $165 million arena. â€œThe Force Awakensâ€ and â€œThe Last Jedi,â€ both subject to more favorable critical reviews, reeled in $248 million and $220 million in their openings weekends. Despite â€œThe Rise of Skywalkerâ€™sâ€ somewhat weaker debut, it still marks a hefty win for moviegoing at the end of 2019, and for Disney, capping off its strongest year on record.
â€œThe Rise of Skywalker,â€ directed by J.J. Abrams, sees the return of Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and Oscar Isaac, as well as Richard E. Grant, Kelly Marie Tran, Domhnall Gleeson, and Lupita Nyongâ€™o. Billy Dee Williams, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher also appear. Critical reviews have been mixed, and the film holds at 57% Rotten Tomatoes score and B+ CinemaScore.
Fellow new release â€œCatsâ€ generated $2.6 million on Friday and is looking at a mediocre $8 million to land in No. 4 for the weekend from 3,380 North American locations. That number is significantly below the $15 million to $17 million range earlier projections had estimated.
Universalâ€™s adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical, directed by Tom Hooper, has been slaughtered by critics and social media despite its star-studded cast, including Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Ian McKellan and Jason Derulo. With an abysmal 19% on Rotten Tomatoes and C+ CinemaScore, â€œCatsâ€ has a long way to go to profitability, considering its $95 million production budget. The musical focuses on a group of cats called Jellicles, who compete to be chosen by Old Deuteronomy (Dench) to ascend to the Heaviside layer and receive a new life.
Meanwhile, Lionsgateâ€™s awards contender â€œBombshellâ€ opened wide this weekend with $1.8 milllion from 1,480 theaters on Friday. Itâ€™s looking at about $5 million through the weekend to land at No. 5. The studio is banking on â€œBombshellâ€™sâ€ two Golden Globe nominations and four Screen Actors Guild nominations to give it extra play through the New Year and the awards season and generate a strong multiple.
Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Margot Robbie star alongside John Lithgow in Jay Roachâ€™s film, which dramatizes the events leading up to the Roger Ailes scandal at Fox News. It boasts a 65% Rotten Tomatoes score, the highest of the weekendâ€™s wide releases.
Elsewhere, â€œJumanji: The Next Levelâ€ will come in a distant second behind â€œRise of Skywalkerâ€ with about $24 million through the weekend, marking a relatively admirable 58% decline, considering the competition posed by the Star Wars entry. The sequel is on track to cross $100 million domestically this weekend and is positioned to take advantage of the lucrative holiday weeks when school is out and the box office historically sees large multiples. So far, the comedy adventure starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan has totaled $236 million worldwide.
Holdovers â€œFrozen 2â€ and â€œKnives Outâ€ should take in another $12 million and $6 million, respectively, for the No. 3 and 4 slots. â€œFrozen 2â€ has marked one of the yearâ€™s most successful films, with $1.04 billion globally, while Rian Johnsonâ€™s â€œKnives Outâ€ has earned $85 million domestically since its debut.
Best of Variety