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J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker crushed the Christmas Day box office with $32 million, the second-best showing of all time for Dec. 25 behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($49.3 million).
Rise of Skywalker supplanted Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($27.5 million). Sherlock Holmes remains the record-holder ($24.6 million) in terms of films opening on the holiday.
Disney and Lucasfilms’ newest Star Wars pic finished Wednesday with $258.9 million domestically and $259.9 internationally for a global total of $516.8 million as it races toward the $1 billion mark.
Once presents are unwrapped Dec. 25, the most concentrated corridor of the year commences at the box office, when weekdays are like a Saturday at both the multiplex and the art house.
In addition to holdovers Rise of Skyalker, Jumanji: The Next Level, Cats and Bombshell, a flurry of holiday films flew down the chimney Christmas Day, led by Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, which grossed $6.4 million for a promising five-day debut of $22 million.
A24’s specialty pic Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler, also sparkled as it expanded nationwide Wednesday, earning $5.9 million to become No. 4 behind Skywalker, Jumanji 2 ($12.6 million) and Little Women. Uncut Gems — boasting the biggest opening day gross ever for A24 — is looking at a five-day debut of $21 million, although it remains to be seen whether a C+ CinemaScore hurts word of mouth.
The third new title opening across the country Christmas Day was Fox and Disney’s animated pic Spies in Disguise, which earned an estimated $4.8 million for a projected five-day debut also in the $21 million range.
“The holiday corridor is vitally important to the industry and within that period, Christmas has always been the linchpin that directly reflects the enthusiasm by consumers for the slate of films currently in the marketplace and more importantly the allure of wide release newcomers that arrive at the multiplex on that day,” says Paul Dergarabedian of Comscore.
Rise of Skywalker will have no trouble staying atop the chart for the five-day holiday frame. Based on its Christmas Day performance, the tentpole could take in as much as $150 million between Wednesday and Sunday.
Sony’s Jumanji should likewise remain a strong all-audience draw throughout the holidays, particularly after the troubled debut of Tom Hooper’s family friendly Cats last weekend.
Cats is presently looking at an eighth place finish for the five-day holiday with a disappointing $9.1 million for Universal and Working Title, putting it behind the original hit Knives Out, which is projected to take in $18 million as it jumps the $100 million mark domestically.
Little Women, from Sony and New Regency, hopes to be the No. 1 choice for females, while Spies in Disguise, starring Will Smith and Tom Holland, will go after kids.
From Amblin and Universal, 1917 earned $271,000 Wednesday, for a projected five-day opening location average of $88,000 from 11 theaters.
Just Mercy, from Warner Bros., grossed $81,000 from four theaters for a projected five-day opening average of $63,000 after landing a coveted A+ from moviegoers.
Dec. 26, 9 a.m.: Updated with revised estimates and grosses.
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