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‘Rogue One’ Remains Forceful at U.S. Box Office, ‘Assassin’s Creed’ Lags

Variety logo Variety 12/22/2016 Dave McNary
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There’s no stopping “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” at the domestic box office with the Disney-Lucasfilm tentpole jumping 10% to an estimated $16.5 million on Thursday, its seventh day of release.

“Rogue One,” playing at 4,175 locations has crossed the $221 million milestone in its first week. The eighth “Star Wars” entry had generated its lowest daily gross on Wednesday with $15 million as three new titles launched — Illumination-Universal’s “Sing” with $11 million at 4,022 sites, Fox’s “Assassin’s Creed” with $4.6 million at 2,902 screens, and Sony’s sci-fier “Passengers” with $4.1 million at 3,478 venues.

In a show of the staying power of “Rogue One,” the newcomers all took a hit on Thursday with “Sing” sliding 18% to an estimated $9 million, “Passengers” falling 28% to $3 million, and “Assassin’s Creed” tumbling 46% to $2.5 million.

The relatively small decline for “Sing” indicates that the animated comedy should match expectations and wind up the six-day holiday period (Dec. 21-26) with a gross in the $70 million to $75 million range. The Thursday results darken the outlook for “Passengers” — which had been pegged to finish the six days in the $30 million to $40 million range — and for “Assassin’s Creed,” with recent forecasts in the $30 million area amid a hyper-competitive market.

“Sing” is the least expensive of the newcomers with a relatively modest $75 million budget. “Passengers” carries a $110 million price tag and “Assassin’s Creed” — starring Michael Fassbender, based on the Ubisoft videogame and backed by New Regency — has a $120 million cost. “Passengers,” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in a space romance, is backed by LStar Capital, Village Roadshow Pictures, and Wanda Pictures.

More competition arrives Friday with  Fox’s James Franco-Bryan Cranston comedy “Why Him?” at about 2,800 sites. Paramount’s Denzel Washington-Viola Davis drama “Fences” expands Sunday from four locations to around 2,200 after grossing $175,182 in its first six days.

As for “Rogue One,” it’s likely to wind up the Dec. 21-26 period with as much as $100 million. It’s already surpassed “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” for the 10th spot on the 2016 domestic list and should eclipse “Doctor Strange” for the ninth spot at $227 million on Friday.

Disney reported earlier Thursday that “Rogue One” had topped $388 million in worldwide box office with 53% of that number coming from the domestic side. “Rogue One” opens in China on Jan. 6. Director Gareth Edwards and stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen attended the  Beijing premiere on Wednesday.

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