For investors who wonder how their studio stock did over the holiday weekend, those with The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DISC) in their portfolio are likely in a celebratory mood. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story raked in $15 million on Christmas Eve and was expected to top $120 million between Dec. 21-26.
Other movies did well too, including Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSAC) Universal’s Sing, Sony Corp.’s (NYSE:SNEB) Passengers, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.’s (TSX:FOXAC) (NASDAQ:FOXC) Assassin’s Creed and Why Him? and Disney’s Moana.
Breaking It Down By The Numbers
As mentioned earlier Rogue One will have had the biggest haul with an expected $120 million plus to come in from 4,157 sites over 6 days. The story, staring Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, a rebel trying to steal plans for the Death Star, is set several decades before the original Star Wars.
Sing took in $7.9 million Christmas Eve at 4,022 locations and was projected to produce income of $71.5 million over the 6 days. Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt’s sci-fi flick, Passengers, was expected to take in about $29 million with Assassin’s Creed projected to gather up $22.6 million. The Christmas Eve take for Why Him and Moana was a tie at $1.8 million.
The Weekend Summed Up
For moviegoers and studios alike this year’s Christmas weekend is a perfect storm (assuming everyone had their shopping done before the weekend arrived) with Friday, the 23rd a free day, more or less.
Saturday, Christmas Eve, as expected was a slower movie day with Rogue One falling about 33% from Friday and Sing dropping off almost 40%. Christmas Day was expected to be much better with Monday serving as a bonus day since it is in official holiday for many people.
The Big Picture
While holiday movie attendance has been good, once you get past Rogue One and Sing, other movies like Passengers, Assassins Creed, Why Him? and Moana seemed overshadowed and, for the most part, unable to compete.
Distributors expected there to be more room for growth for the so-called also-rans since Rogue One opened in 42% fewer theatres than last year’s The Force Awakens. Such was the case in 2009 when Avatar premiered with a $352 million gross between Dec. 18 and Jan. 3.
Despite Avatar’s blockbuster status, others including Alvin and the Chipmunks, Sherlock Holmes and It’s Complicated all did exceptionally well.
Cord Cutting A Problem
Industry experts looking down the road see trouble for movie theatres in general. Some of this is borne out by the fact Mall of America just announced it is closing is movie theatres Dec. 28 to make way for what MOA calls a “new, first-to-market entertainment venue which will open in late 2017." Details on the new venue are not available but expected to be released in January.
Meanwhile the overall decline of the theatre-going experience is being blamed, in part, on cord cutting or signing up for streaming movies and video content on large screen home-based televisions.