‘Rogue One’ Controls Christmas Box Office With $140 Million Estimates

“Assassin’s Creed,” “Passengers” fall behind predictions

Box office experts knew “Rogue One” would stay on top at the box office, but its dominating margin above the competition is something to behold on Christmas Day.

The “Star Wars” prequel starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen and Riz Ahmed is now expected to end its second weekend with nearly $140 million over the six-day holiday.

The Lucasfilm hit should make more than $80 million over Christmas Sunday and on Monday alone, when moviegoers are expected to surge theaters.

That would put the grand total for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” at nearly $330 million after week two — a galactic feat by any measure.

Family-friendly animated feature “Sing” is still poised to beat out “Passengers,” “Why Him?” and “Assassin’s Creed” for the No. 2 spot.

Illumination Entertainment and Universal’s “Sing,” with a voice cast led by Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, is estimated to just surpass $70 million over the long six-day Christmas holiday weekend (from Wednesday through Monday) to come in under “Rogue One.” Not bad at all for a film that was made for roughly $75 million and is playing in 4,022 theaters.

The Michael Fassbender-starring action fantasy flick “Assassin’s Creed” is set to debut much lower than expected, at around $24 million from 2,970 theaters. Initial estimates had it at roughly $37 million over the six days.

While “Passengers,” with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, will come in higher at roughly $30 million, that’s less than initial estimates from some trackers that had its six-day opening as high as $50 million — though Sony’s early estimates were always in the $30 million to $40 million range.

Fox comedy “Why Him?” is expected to reach up to $17 million during its four-day opening from 2,917 locations. The film, which has a 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a B+ CinemaScore, is about a father who becomes deeply competitive with his daughter’s wealthy boyfriend and stars James Franco, Bryan Cranston and Zoey Deutch.

Awards season contender “Fences” expands wide starting on Christmas Sunday and is expected to earn up to $9 million during its two-day opening frame. Paramount Pictures’ Denzel Washington-directed period drama made an estimated $128,000 from four locations in New York and Los Angeles last weekend, earning a strong per theater average of $32,000.

“Sing” revolves around a theater-owning koala named Buster Moon (McConaughey) and also features the voices of Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton, Nick Kroll and Nick Offerman. It should hold solid numbers as it continues to play into January and critics warmed up to it — it has a 72 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Its A CinemaScore (given by those surveyed on opening night) is also a sign of the animated feature’s durability.

Based on the best-selling video game franchise, “Assassin’s Creed” stars Fassbender as Callum Lynch. After a mysterious organization fakes his death, Lynch is forced to unlock his genetic memories, allowing him to experience the adventures of his ancestor, Aguilar, in 15th Century Spain.

One count against the Fassbender title: video game-based movies have a bad track record — plus critics aren’t loving it, as reflected in its current Rotten Tomatoes score of just 20 percent. It has a B+ CinemaScore.

Directed by Justin Kurzel, the film also stars Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling, Michael K. Willaims, and Khalid Abdalla.

“Passengers” was directed by Morten Tyldum and revolves around two spacecraft passengers who are awoken 90 years too early as they travel to a distant planet. It was made for $110 million, not counting tax incentives and marketing, and is playing in 3,478 locations. Critics aren’t loving it either, as it has an early Rotten Tomatoes score of 32 percent. CinemaScore graders gave it a B.