LOS ANGELES — "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" and "Sing" carved up the Christmas box office, while newcomers "Assassin's Creed" and "Passengers" struggled to get their slice of the ticket sales.
The "Star Wars" spinoff is projected to rack up $96.1 million over the four-day holiday. The space opera's domestic revenues currently stand at $286.4 million. Globally, the prequel has racked up a mighty $523.8 million.
"Sing," the story of a talent competition for animals, was the de facto choice for family audiences. It has earned an impressive $76.7 million over its first six days of release.
Its success is another win for Illumination and Universal, the producers of "The Secret Life of Pets" and "Despicable Me." Animation has been a particularly popular genre this year — three of the six highest grossing films have been animated offerings. "Sing" carries a $75 million production budget, an economical figure considering that most animated movies typically cost in excess of $150 million to make.
"Sing" also boasts a voice cast that includes Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey, and Seth MacFarlane, as well as a soundtrack of hits from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Queen, Taylor Swift, and the late George Michael.
Sony's "Passengers," a science-fiction romance that was hoping to capitalize on the combined drawing power of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, struggled to make a mark. All the star wattage wasn't enough to withstand a critical drubbing. The film earned $30.4 million over the five day period, on the low end of projections.
Fox's "Assassin's Creed" also failed to make a big impression. The video game adaptation generated $22.5 million over the six-day period. With a hefty $125 million production budget, "Assassin's Creed," like "Passengers," will need to get a warmer reception overseas if it wants to fight its way into the black.
Fox's "Why Him?," an R-rated comedy with James Franco and Bryan Cranston, earned a solid $16.7 million on a $38 million budget for its first four days in theaters. It opened Friday.
All three major new films will try to make up ground in the coming days — many consumers will take the week between Christmas and New Year's as vacation.
Oscar-contender "La La Land" expanded nicely, and is projected to earn $9.7 million for the four day weekend after moving from roughly 200 to 734 locations. The Lionsgate musical will have earned $17.6 million since debuting in limited release earlier this month.