Box Office: Biggest Holiday Winners and Losers From 'Little Women' to 'Cats'

Little Women - Cats - Publicity Stills - Split - H 2019
Wilson Webb/Columbia Pictures; Courtesy of Universal Pictures

'Uncut Gems' also felt the holiday spirit in a major way, while 'Richard Jewell' got stuck coming down the chimney.

The holiday box office officially came to a close Sunday, capping the most lucrative two weeks of the year in terms of moviegoing.

While tentpoles Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Jumanji: The Next Level led the way in terms of sheer numbers, the Christmas-New Year's corridor was notable for producing several breakout hits, as well as offering promising starts for select specialty titles.

The biggest loser overall was Cats, which will bleed $75 million to $100 million for partners Working Title and Universal. Sam Mendes' World War I drama 1917, which won the Golden Globe for best motion picture Sunday, is a needed balm for Universal. (The Amblin pic opens nationwide Jan. 10 following a promising run in Los Angeles and New York.)

Disney and Lucasfilm's The Rise of Skywalker, which has stayed No. 1 since blasting off Dec. 20, finished Jan. 5 with a global total of $918 million. While it opened 20 percent behind Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the movie is expected to tap out at close to $1.3 billion globally, on par with Last Jedi, and reap huge profits for Disney.

Sony's Jumanji 2 has earned a strong $600 million to date globally, but it won't come close to matching Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which grossed $962 million globally.

Here is a breakdown of how the holiday spirit spread itself around — or didn't.

Biggest Winners

Little Women. Sony's female-fueled adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's iconic 1868 novel hasn't stopped spreading cheer since debuting nationwide Christmas Day. The Greta Gerwig-directed film has grossed a better-than-expected $60 million to date domestically and $80.4 million globally. Box office analysts believe it could even get to $100 million in North America should it pick up key Oscar nominations Dec. 13.

Uncut Gems. The indie pic has likewise impressed since launching in cinemas across the country Dec. 25, and has laughed its way to a domestic total of $36.8 million for indie distributor A24. Directed by brothers Josh and Benny Safdie, the frenetic crime-thriller marks a big-screen comeback for Adam Sandler, who had made his last few films for Netflix. Uncut Gems is expected to earn as much as $55 million — particularly if Sandler picks up an Oscar nom for best actor — which would make it the top-grossing film ever for A24, ahead of Lady Bird ($49 million).

Knives Out. The Rian Johnson-directed whodunnit was a huge draw over the year-end holidays, despite first opening Nov. 27. The Lionsgate and MRC release has earned $130.3 million to date domestically and $247.5 million globally, making it one of the most successful original pics in recent memory. In North America, it's on the verge of eclipsing Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ($141.1 million). Globally, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood took in $372.4 million. (MRC shares parent company Valence Media with The Hollywood Reporter.)

Frozen 2. Walt Disney Animations' sequel was another Thanksgiving holdover feasting at the Christmas hearth in a second year-end win for Disney after Rise of Skywalker. Frozen 2 held at No. 3 throughout the year-end holidays on its way to becoming the top-grossing animated title of all time over the Jan. 3-5 weekend with $1.325 billion in global ticket sales.

Biggest Losers

Cats. Tom Hooper's big-screen adaptation of the stage musical was immediately declawed by critics and audiences alike, and particularly the family audience. The Working Title and Universal event pic, costing roughly $100 million to produce before marketing, has earned just $24.7 million since its Dec. 20 debut. As a way of reference Cats fell to No. 10 this past weekend, earning $2.6 million. The film's global total through Jan. 5 was $57.1 million, meaning it won't be rescued by the foreign box office.

Richard Jewell. Clint Eastwood's biographical drama about the security guard who was suspected, and then cleared, of the bombing at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, has earned only $21.2 million to date domestically since its launch Dec. 13. The film may have trouble getting to $39 million, which would make it Eastwood's lowest-grossing film in North America since Letters From Iwo Jima ($13.8 million) in 2006, not adjusted for inflation. Warner Bros. had hoped Richard Jewell would pick up and attract older moviegoers over the Christmas break.

On the Fence

Bombshell. Box office analysts aren't ready to write off Jay Roach's Fox News drama completely pending Oscar nominations, but there's no denying that the movie failed to impress over the year-end holidays after faring poorly in red states. The star-studded movie, from Lionsgate and Bron, has grossed $24.6 million since its Dec. 20 launch (it opened in select theaters the prior weekend).