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‘Sing’ to Hit High Note at Holiday Box Office, but Won’t Beat ‘Rogue One’

Variety logo Variety 12/21/2016 Dave McNary
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is fending off a muscular challenge from the animated comedy “Sing” at the North American holiday box office, early estimates showed Wednesday.

Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Rogue One” appeared on pace to generate about $17 million at 4,157 locations on Wednesday for the third consecutive day while Illumination-Universal’s “Sing” is opening in the $10 million to $12 million range at 4,022 sites.

Sony’s space thriller “Passengers,” starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, was pegged to launch Wednesday with as much as $5 million on 3,478 screens, though another early estimate was significantly lower. Fox’s “Assassin’s Creed,” based on the popular Ubisoft video game, was heading for a launch in the $4 million to $5 million range at 2,902 theaters.

“Rogue One” has generated $190.2 million domestically in its first five days, including $155.1 million in its opening weekend — the 12th best launch of all time. It should finish the six-day holiday break — between Dec. 21 and Dec. 26 — with as much as $100 million.

“Sing” looks likely to match recent forecasts, which had pegged it for about $70 million for the six-day period. The movie, which centers on a group of animals in a singing competition, has a voice cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, and Tori Kelly.

The film is the sixth collaboration between Illumination and Universal, the team behind the “Despicable Me” franchise and last summer’s “The Secret Life of Pets.” “Sing” cost a relatively modest $75 million to produce and should attract families and children during the holiday break.

“Sing” also led in Tuesday night previews with $1.7 million, followed by “Assassin’s Creed” with $1.4 million and “Passengers” with $1.2 million.

“Passengers” is projected to land in third in the $30 million to $40 million range at 3,478 sites during the six days. The movie, set in a futuristic world in which the characters played by Lawrence and Pratt are awakened early from suspended animation on a deep space journey, has received mostly negative reviews, earning a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

“Passengers” — directed by “Imitation Game” helmer Morten Tyldum — carries a price tag of $110 million with financing from LStar Capital, Village Roadshow Pictures, and Wanda Pictures.

Action-adventure “Assassin’s Creed” has been projected to pick up around $30 million in its six-day opening at 2,902 sites. Michael Fassbender stars as a criminal sent back by a corporation to the Spanish Inquisition to relive the memories of his ancestors. New Regency produced “Creed” with a budget of $120 million.

The strong performances by “Rogue One” and the three new movies should lift the final domestic box office cume for 2016 past 2015’s record of $11.2 billion, according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.

“The strong preview showings of these three newcomers portend a solid Christmas frame that should lead us to the promised land of a new North American box office revenue record for 2016 and give us solid momentum heading into a 2017,” he added.

Dergarabedian said that 2017 is likely to be another record setter, thanks to an “unprecedented array of top-tier blockbuster titles,” including “The Fate of the Furious,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Fifty Shades Darker,” “Wonder Woman,” “Despicable Me 3,” and “Star Wars: Episode VIII,” to close out the year.

Watch the "Sing" trailer:

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