The cult of tentpole filmmaking—the one religion even more Hollywood than Scientology—had its faith renewed over the weekend, as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story pew-pewed its way to a massive $290 million worldwide. $155 million of that was in U.S. theaters, easily landing the first Star Wars film to branch out from the Skywalker family saga the No. 1 spot on the domestic box-office charts. Seriously, it wasn’t even close: The No. 2 movie, Moana, pulled in $11.6 million, less than one-tenth of Rogue One’s box-office haul. This will surely be received as Good News at both films’ parent company, Disney, which still holds the record for biggest December opening of all time with last year’s The Force Awakens.
Few films dare open against the box-office juggernaut of a new Star Wars movie, although the strategy seemed to work out fine for the only other new wide release this weekend, the bizarrely cloying Will Smith vehicle Collateral Beauty, which rubbernecked its way to No. 4 with a $7 million opening. With a dismal 13 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, that film has little hope of appearing on any Best of 2016 lists, but the rest of this week’s top 10 does show signs of awards-season life—and we’re not talking about Office Christmas Party. Namely, we’re talking about Manchester By The Sea, La La Land, and Arrival, all featured on The A.V. Club’s 20 Best Films of 2016 and coming in at No. 6, 7, and 8 at the U.S. box office, respectively.
Speaking of awards season, films have to be screened in a Los Angeles-area commercial movie theater for at least a week before the end of 2016 to quality for an Oscars run, so expect a lot of activity at the speciality box office over the next couple of weeks. This week saw the debut of Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, both of whom are receiving awards buzz for their performances in Fences, on four screens, as well as Neruda, the second Pablo Larrain film to hit theaters this month (Jackie came out in limited release on December 2) on three screens and the fly-on-the-wall documentary The Bad Kids on one screen. None of these films exactly set the box office on fire (The Bad Kids pulled in just $2,250), but their distributors clearly have faith anyway. May the Force be with them.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.