It took Rogue One: A Star Wars Story a sad and shameful 16 days to pass $400 million domestic. It took two days longer than The Avengers (Gah!), six days longer than Jurassic World (Eeek!), and it took twice as long as The Force Awakens (Aaaaahhhh!!!). Oh, and it snagged around $49m over its third Fri-Sun weekend, giving it the fifth-biggest third weekend of all time, behind Jurassic World ($54.4m), The Avengers ($55.6m), Avatar ($68.4m) and The Force Awakens ($90.24m). Yes, it’s starting to trail Avatar so the end is clearly nigh.
On a serious note, and in the realm of useless trivia, Walt Disney now owns 11 out of the top 20 biggest “third weekends.” The film dropped just 23% in its third weekend, which is way above the 39% third-weekend drop for The Force Awakens last year. Yes, Christmas and New Year’s fell on different days, and yes other “big” December releases held better over the last holiday weekend of the year, but that’s still a terrific hold when you’re dealing with numbers this large. The film will end today with over/under $425m domestic, leapfrogging to 14th on the all-time grossers list (sorry, Hunger Games: Catching Fire).
If it makes $63.5 million over the Fri-Mon holiday, we’re looking at a just under $440m 18-day cume, putting it just between E.T. ($435m) and Shrek 2 ($441m). And while it’s entirely possible that it’ll drop dead in the new year, there is no historical precedent for that save maybe The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. That Peter Jackson prequel trilogy finale earned $220 million by the end of its third weekend from a $90m Wed-Sun debut and then $255m total (it also earned $950m worldwide, so weep not for the Shire). Even that doomsday scenario gives the film a just-under $500m domestic total.
Anything leggier than that gives the film a real shot at $550 million domestic. As I noted yesterday, recent history paints a pretty rosy picture for Rogue One. Warner’s Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), 20th Century Fox’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011), Fox’s The Family Stone (2005) and Universal’s King Kong (2005) all earned between 19% (Kong) and 26% (Holmes and Chipmunks) of their business after the New Year’s holiday. Even I Am Legend (2007) earned 19% of its money after the New Year’s weekend.
So using those “Christmas fell on a Sunday” examples, we may be looking at around $550-$600 million domestic by the end. Yes, that may end up being hyperbole, as historical precedent isn’t a crystal ball into the future. But there is no evidence thus far that it’s playing like anything other than a well-liked and leggy “big” December release. We’ll know more tomorrow, but I can’t see a scenario at the moment where Rogue One doesn’t end up one of the very biggest domestic hits of all time and the biggest movie if the year worldwide.