Box Office: 'Rise of Skywalker' Clears $300M in U.S., 'Little Women' Shines

Little Women Still 5 - Publicity - H 2019
Wilson Webb

Elsewhere, holiday event pic 'Cats' still has no meow.

J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker cleared the $300 million mark domestically Friday — its eighth day in release — as it came close to catching up with Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Last weekend, Rise of Skywalker opened nearly 20 percent behind Jedi after getting snubbed by many critics. Audience word-of-mouth, however, has fueled the Disney and Lucasfilm tentpole to huge numbers at the lucrative holiday box office, where it earned another $26.2 million Friday for a North American cume of $316 million (that compares with $321 million for Jedi at the same point in its run).

Skywalker is expected to top the five-day Christmas chart (Wednesday through Sunday) with $140 million, including $76 million for the weekend proper. That would put its 10-day domestic total at $367 million, compared with $368 million for Jedi.

Sony's Jumanji: The Next Level is easily holding at a merry No. 2. The sequel is projecting a five day gross of $59 million for a domestic total of $175 million through Sunday (the pic is now in its third weekend).

Thanksgiving tentpole Frozen 2, from Walt Disney Animation Studios, continues to sing loudly and is looking at a third-place finish for the five-day holiday with $26 million for a domestic tally through Sunday of $421 million.

Outside of all-audience tentpoles, Greta Gerwig's Little Women — which opened Christmas Day — is a big-time holiday winner. Fueled by older females, the movie earned another $5.7 million Friday for a projected five-day debut of $28 million, well ahead of expectations for Sony and New Regency.

Following in fifth place is fellow Christmas Day opener Spies in Disguise, an animated kids pic voiced by Will Smith and Tom Holland. The Fox and Disney release, produced by Chernin Entertainment, is eyeing a five-day debut of $22 million.

Rian Johnson's Knives Out — which has jumped the $100 million mark domestically in a notable milestone for an original title — should come in No. 6 for the five-day holiday with $17 million for Lionsgate, MRC and T Street. (MRC shares a parent company, Valence Media, with The Hollywood Reporter.)

Like Little Women, A24's specialty pic Uncut Gems starring Adam Sandler is sparkling after expanding nationwide Christmas Day. The male-skewing dramedy is expected to collect $22 million in its five-day debut, despite a C+ Cinemascore. More than 60 percent of ticket buyers are under the age of 35.

The major holiday loser continues to be Tom Hooper's Cats, which debuted to a toothless $6.6 million last weekend. Universal and Working Title were hopeful that the family friendly musical would pick up as the holiday unfolded, but such isn't the case.

Cats is presently looking at an eighth-place finish for the five-day holiday with a disappointing $9 million for a domestic total of $17.9 million through Sunday.

Lionsgate and Jay Roach's Fox News drama Bombshell, which expanded nationwide last weekend, is looking at a five-day gross of $8.4 million for a domestic total of $15 million-plus through Sunday.

In select cities, Bombshell faces competition for adult eyeballs from Sam Mendes' World War I epic 1917 and Just Mercy, starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx. The latter two films launched Wednesday in 11 and four theaters, respectively.

From Amblin and Universal, 1917 is on course for a five-day opening location average of $85,000 or more after securing an A CinemaScore. Warner Bros.' Just Mercy, landing an A+ CinemaScore, is eyeing an opening location average of $60,000.