One of the great ironies of the Star Wars franchise is that while its storyline often focuses on an outgunned, outmatched, overwhelmed band of rebels, in the real world these cinematic heroes much more closely resemble the all-powerful Empire. I imagine every time a new film in the saga is released, it’s got to feel like The Empire Strikes Back to studio execs elsewhere in the movie universe.
But empires don’t last forever. Not in galaxies far, far away. And not at the box office.
As of this writing, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is on track for a narrow victory in its fourth weekend in theaters. But that projection is so slim that it may yet be overturned.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story pulled in an estimated $22,972,000 million compared to Hidden Figures $21,800,000—a difference of a mere $172,000 between the two films. Jyn Erso and Co. have propelled Rogue One to a whopping $477.3 million domestically, and it’s set to overtake Finding Dory‘s $486.3 million by next weekend to become the biggest release of 2016. With international numbers added in, Rogue One has raked in a whopping $914.4 in a little more than three weeks.
So even if the Rogue One does indeed go down like a Star Destroyer in flames next weekend, as it likely will, there are enough new galactic credits in Disney’s coffers to fund the cinematic construction of many more Death Stars with which to blow up the box office again. (Indeed, the as-yet-untitled Episode VIII is scheduled to land in theaters on December 15, 2017, an arrival sure to receive an even bigger bump than normal as actress Carrie Fisher takes her final, iconic turn as the beloved Princess—er, General—Leia.)
At No. 2, Hidden Figures dramatizes the inspiring true story of the significant—but mostly behind-the-scenes—role played by a group of black, female mathematicians during the early days of the Mercury space program.
Clocking in at No. 3 this week is the animated hit Sing, which garnered an estimated $19.6 million. Meanwhile, the fifth entry in the Underworld franchise, Underworld: Blood Wars, was the only new film in the Top 5. Kate Beckinsale’s latest turn as a leather-clad vampire hunting werewolves (and bloodily fending off attacks from her own kind as well) earned an underwhelming $13.1 million, but that was still good enough for the No. 4 slot.
Finally, the contemporary musical La La Land—a critical darling that racked up a record seven awards at last night’s Golden Globes Awards—rolled out to a much wider audience and rolled in another $10.0 million, good enough to notch the No. 5 spot for the weekend.
This coming week sees the arrival of three new films—Monster Trucks, The Bye Bye Man and Sleepless—plus four more dramas rolling into wide release from their very limited theatrical engagements thus far: Silence, Patriots Day and Live by Night.
Final figures update: 1. Hidden Figures, $22.8 million; 2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, $22.1 million; 3. Sing, $20.7 million; 4. Underworld: Blood Wars, $13.7 million; 5. La La Land, $10.1 million.