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MARTIN GROVE'S HOLLYWOOD REPORT -- HAPPY HOLIDAYS -- 12/26/16


 
LA LA LAND - DIRECTOR DAMIEN CHAZELLE AND EMMA STONE

LA LA LAND - DIRECTOR DAMIEN CHAZELLE AND EMMA STONE

ROGUE ONE - A STAR WARS STORY DURING PRODUCTION

ROGUE ONE - A STAR WARS STORY DURING PRODUCTION

THE CAST OF SING

THE CAST OF SING

MARTIN GROVE'S HOLLYWOOD REPORT --

HAPPY HOLIDAYS -- 12/26/16

 

 Happy holidays: For Hollywood, the holiday season isn't the most wonderful time of the year.

That would be the summer boxoffice season, which now stretches all the way from early May through Labor Day. The much more compact holiday season ranks as the studios' second happiest time of the year.

With schools and colleges taking a break and with many adults taking some vacation time to supplement their closed-for-the-holidays days, moviegoing expands significantly from pre-Christmas through New Year's.

This year, Hollywood gets a nice bonus because with Christmas and New Year's Day falling on Sundays, they're both being officially observed the next day on Monday.

That turns each weekend into a six day boxoffice period running from the Wednesday before the holiday through the following Monday.

Christmas weekend was dominated, as expected, by Disney and Lucasfilm's PG-13 rated "Star Wars" spin-off sci-fi action adventure "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." Its $96.1 million in ticket sales from Friday through Monday brought its domestic cume to $318.1 million, making it the year's ninth biggest hit after just two weeks in theatres.

Disney said Monday that "Rogue's" international ticket sales last weekend were $47.1 million for three days, giving it an international cume of $237.4 million and a global cume of $523.8 million through Sunday.

 Universal and Illumination Entertainment's PG rated 3D animated family comedy drama "Sing" was the holiday weekend's only other hit opening. It was dancing in second place with a lively $56.1 million opening and a six day cume of $76.7 million.

         Columbia and Village Roadshow Pictures' PG-13 rated romantic sci-fi adventure drama "Passengers" opened third to $23.1 million and a six day cume of $30.4 million.

         20th Century Fox and TSG Entertainment's R rated comedy "Why Him?" kicked off fourth to $16.7 million for four days.

         20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises' PG-13 rated fantasy action adventure "Assassin's Creed" opened fifth to $15 million and a six day cume of $22.5 million.

         Christmas weekend comparisons to last year, of course, reflect the greater strength then of the "Star Wars" franchise's last real episode, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." All films last weekend grossed about $278 million vs. $292.9 million this time last year, according to comScore, a drop of about 5.1 percent. It didn't help ticket sales having Christmas Eve fall on a Saturday night this year.

         As 2016 winds down, Hollywood is maintaining a slim lead over 2015 -- $11.06 billion vs. $10.81 billion, per comScore. That's up about 2.3 percent. A week ago, however, this year was ahead by 4 percent.

         Also brightening the holiday weekend were some wide release Oscar best picture contenders.

         Paramount and Scott Rudin Productions' PG-13 rated drama "Fences" expanded to 2,233 theatres Dec. 25, placing sixth with $11.4 million and a cume of $11.5 million.

         Lionsgate and Marc Platt Productions' PG-13 rated musical comedy drama "La La Land" went wider Christmas day, finishing eighth with $9.7 million at 734 theatres and a cume of $17.6 million.

Amazon Studios and Pearl Street Films' R rated drama "Manchester by the Sea" was twelfth with $4.4 million at 1,213 theatres and a cume of $21.1 million.

         Bottom line: Looking ahead, the 2017 holiday season should pack a bigger boxoffice punch than we're seeing right now. That's a safe bet with Disney and Lucasfilm's next full-fledged 3D and IMAX "Star Wars" episode opening next Dec. 15. "Episode VIII" will be positioned to dominate the long Christmas weekend a week later just as "Rogue" did this year.

         With Christmas 2017 falling on a Monday, the extended holiday weekend will be the four day period from Fri., Dec. 22 through Mon., Dec. 25.

         Directed and written by Rian Johnson ("Breaking Bad"), "Episode VIII's" stars include: Tom Hardy, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Kelly Marie Tran Gareth Edwards plus Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.

         Dec. 22, 2017 will be a crowded date with a half-dozen wide openings hitting the multiplexes. Here's a quick look at what to expect:

          20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios' 3D animated comedy adventure "Ferdinand" is from Carlos Saldanha, director of three "Ice Age" franchise episodes. It should play best to family audiences with younger kids.

         Columbia and Radar Pictures' fantasy action adventure "Jumanji" is a re-imagination of the 1995 film about a board game whose wild animals unexpectedly come to life. Directed by Jake Kasdan ("Bad Teacher"), it stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Nick Jonas. It should play best to families with older kids.

         The original "Jumanji," based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg, opened Dec. 15, 1995 to $11.1 million. It wound up doing $100.5 million domestically, which was big money at the time. Directed by Joe Johnston ("Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"), it starred Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst and Bonnie Hunt.

         Universal and Gold Circle Films' comedy "Pitch Perfect 3" is directed by Trish Sie ("Step Up All In") and stars Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Elizabeth Banks, Hailee Steinfeld and Ruby Rose. It should play best to young adult women.

         The franchise's last episode, "PP2," opened May 15, 2015 to $69.2 million and did $184.3 million domestically.

         Paramount and Annapurna Pictures' comedy drama "Downsizing" is directed by Alexander Payne ("The Descendants") and stars Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis and Alec Baldwin. It should play best to adult men and women.

         The Weinstein Company's action adventure "The Six Billion Dollar Man," directed and written by Damian Szifron ("Wild Tales"), stars Mark Wahlberg. It should play best to adult men.

         Its roots are in the classic TV series "The Six Million Dollar Man" that ran from 1974-78, starring Lee Majors as bionically re-engineered former astronaut Steve Austin. After an horrific crash in an experimental plane, Austin receives two new legs, a new right arm and a new left eye, giving him super powers to use as a government secret agent.

         The new Wahlberg driven "Man" will be a 21st century version of the original, starting with its title change to "Billion" rather than "Million."

         Dec. 22 may also see a new comedy arrive via Warner Bros. No details are available right now, but comedies are always welcome during the holidays.

         Mon., Dec. 25 will see one more new wide release -- 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment's musical biographical drama "The Greatest Showman" about legendary circus showman P.T. Barnum. It should play best to adult men and women.

         Directed by first time feature director Michael Gracey, "Showman" stars Hugh Jackman (as Barnum), Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya.