Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has earned the second-highest total ever for a film on Christmas Day, taking in $32 million at the box office, according to industry estimates.
That total only trails the Christmas record of $49.3 million earned by “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015. It is also 17.5% higher than the $27.5 million earned by “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” on Christmas Day, as industry estimates now have the trilogy finale matching or slightly ahead of the pace of Rian Johnson’s installment in North America. The film has also crossed $500 million worldwide after eight days in theaters, as its $516 million running total is almost evenly split between domestic and overseas grosses.
From Christmas Day through Sunday, “Rise of Skywalker” is projected to earn a stunning five-day total of $166 million, fueled by family audiences who were not yet on school break and were not present during the film’s $177.3 million domestic opening. With such a result, the film would have a 10-day total of $393 million. “The Last Jedi,” which was scheduled for release so that Christmas Day fell on its 11th day in theaters, grossed $395 million in its first 11 days.
But Disney and Lucasfilm aren’t the only studios having a Merry Christmas. Sony had a strong Christmas Day as well with “Jumanji: The Next Level” and its newly released awards contender, “Little Women.” “Jumanji” took in an estimated $12.5 million on Wednesday and is projected to earn $59 million over the five-day weekend, which would give it a domestic total of $175 million through three weekends. That puts the family blockbuster on pace to become only the fourth non-Disney release in 2019 to gross over $200 million domestically, joining “Joker,” “It: Chapter Two,” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”
“Little Women,” meanwhile, was the top new release on Christmas Day with $6.4 million grossed from 3,308 screens. Since its early industry screenings kicked off last month, Greta Gerwig’s take on the Louisa May Alcott novel has earned critical acclaim with a 96% Rotten Tomatoes score, and now audience reception is just as strong with a 5/5 on Postrak and a 94% verified RT audience score. A CinemaScore grade of A or A+ is now expected when it comes in on Friday.
With this start, “Little Women” is now projected to earn a five-day opening of $22 million, meeting pre-holiday projections. The overwhelming word of mouth and likely status as top Oscar contender should give this film long legs through January, with a $100 million-plus domestic run a strong possibility.
Also releasing on Wednesday are A24’s crime thriller “Uncut Gems” and Fox/Blue Sky/Chernin’s animated film “Spies in Disguise.” “Uncut Gems,” which stars Adam Sandler and took in $1.1 million in a brief limited release run, grossed $5.8 million on Wednesday from 2,341 screens. “Spies in Disguise,” which Disney pushed back to Christmas after acquiring Fox, grossed $4.8 million from 3,502 screens.
“Spies in Disguise” is expected to have the highest five-day opening of the wide Christmas releases once families turn out for weekend matinees. The animated film starring Will Smith and Tom Holland is estimated for a $26 million extended launch, meeting pre-release projections. “Uncut Gems” is also expected to meet projections with a $16.5 million five-day wide start.
Finally, Universal released DreamWorks Pictures’ Oscar contender “1917” on 11 screens in seven cities on Wednesday, grossing $251,262. The studio now projects a five-day total of $975,000, which would equate to an average of $88,000 per screen. Universal plans to expand the World War I film wide on Jan. 10, three days before the Oscar nominees are announced.