The Empire lives! The empire of the mouse, that is.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker skipped through hyperspace all the way to No. 1 at the box office, surprising absolutely no one. It earned an estimated $175.5 million in North America en route—a figure that under most circumstances would be absolutely flabbergasting, but in Star Wars’ rarified space feels just a little ho-hum. After all, 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens earned $248 million in its opening weekend—a record at the time—and 2017’s The Last Jedi opened with $220 mil.
Still, it’s the holidays, so let’s not be churlish. Rise of Skywalker still scored the third-highest December opening of all time, and it’s already 2019’s 10th highest-grossing film in North America (pushing past the horror movie Us). The film has banked nearly another $200 million overseas, too, with plenty more cash sure to roll in in the coming weeks.
With Skywalker, Disney now owns seven of the year’s 10 highest-grossing films (the others being No. 1 Avengers: Endgame, with $858.4 million; No. 2 The Lion King, $543.6 million; No. 3 Toy Story 4, $434 million; No. 4 Captain Marvel, $426.8 million; No. 6 Frozen II, $386.5 million; and No. 7 Aladdin, $355.6 million). The Mouse House broke the record for the highest-grossing year for a studio ever way back in July, before Frozen II and Skywalker even came out, so it may be a while before anyone—even Disney—sees a year like this again.
Jumanji: The Next Level finished a very distant second—so much so that it might as well be in another galaxy far, far away. It collected $26.1 million and pushed its total domestic haul to about $102 million. Frozen II iced away third place with $12.3. And that left Cats, the weekend’s other big new release, out in the cold.
Universal Pictures spent an estimated $90 million making the much-maligned musical, and even it expected its opening to be purrfectly awful. Turns out, the hairball was worse than the most passionate critics could’ve imagined. Cats collected just $6.5 million—nearly $10 million less than what prognosticators were expecting. It’s officially a feline flop.
Knives Out continued to show a surprising bit of life, closing out the top five with a $6.1 million weekend.