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‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ soars to 2nd-best December debut with $155 million

By Agencies - Dec 20,2016 - Last updated at Dec 20,2016

Donnie Yen in ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ (Photo courtesy of

LOS ANGELES — “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” soared to the top of the weekend box office as expected, scoring the second-best December opening ever with $155 million, final industry data showed Monday.

After the biggest Thursday night debut of the year, the intergalactic adventure blasted past industry expectations for a $130 million weekend.

“Rogue One” opened at No. 1 in all markets globally. It brought in $290 million globally, and has yet to open in the vast Chinese market. 

“We’re in uncharted territory for December,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box office tracker comScore. “It’s going to be really hard for any movie to catch up to this movie. ... This is only the second time a movie has opened this big in December.”

The record-setter was “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the space saga’s seventh instalment, which debuted to $247.9 million in the US and Canada last December, but still ranked the new film as 12th among all-time openings and third-best this year, according to Forbes.

Like “The Force Awakens” did in 2015, “Rogue One” could top the box office for the rest of the year, Dergarabedian said.

Set before the events of the original 1977 “Star Wars”, it stars Felicity Jones and Diego Luna as leaders of a rebel faction that steals plans for its imperial enemy’s master weapon, the Death Star.

“Rogue One” knocked the No. 1 movie for the past three weeks, Disney’s “Moana”, to a distant second with $12.7 million, followed by “Office Christmas Party” with $8.6 million.

The weekend’s other new wide release, the critically panned Will Smith drama “Collateral Beauty”, opened in fourth place with $7.1 million.

“This is one of the most intense marketplaces for movies I’ve ever seen,” Dergarabedian said. “You have a ‘Star Wars’ movie out there looming like the Death Star over everything, and a really great crop of Oscar contenders that keeps expanding.”

Denzel Washington’s “Fences” opened in limited release this weekend and expands on Christmas Day. “Manchester by the Sea”, ‘’La La Land” and “Arrival”, which all earned awards nominations recently, remain in the box office top 10.

Moviegoers who see “Rogue One” will also get a peek at next year’s anticipated blockbusters: Trailers for the new “Guardians of the Galaxy”, ‘’Spider-Man” and “Fast & Furious” films play before the feature.

“Rogue One” is the “perfect lead-in for 2017, which looks absolutely massive”, Dergarabedian said.

“The movie lived up to expectations,” he added.

Based on the success of these latest two films, the next episode, due out in 12 months has the potential to “claim the title as the biggest movie of all time”, he added.

Produced by Lucasfilm and directed by Gareth Edwards, “Rogue One” stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna and Forest Whitaker. The first stand-alone chapter in the Star Wars epic — it is set shortly before the events of the original 1977 film — it tells the story of Rebel Alliance fighters trying to steal plans for the Empire’s feared Death Star. 

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