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Rogue One Trails The Force Awakens But Still Strikes Box Office Gold

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story now has the second-best domestic December opening of all time–right behind last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. (It has the fourth-best global December opening.) Without the nostalgia factor, Rogue One was always expected to underperform its predecessor, but Disney still has plenty to be pleased about.

So far this weekend, Rogue One has raked in $155 million domestically and $290.5 million globally. Considering the movie cost $200 million to make, and hasn’t even opened in the lucrative Chinese market yet, it’s safe to say Lucasfilm and Disney will see their investment pay off. As with the other Star Wars movies, the visuals and world building were a big part of the hype, so it’s no surprise that IMAX and “premium large format” showings performed well for Rogue One, particularly in North America. IMAX brought in $19 million of the North American box office, while premium large format screens brought in $17.9 million.

Although ticket sales are first and foremost a corporate question, Rogue One also represents a victory for women and people of color on the big screen. The movie–while by no means perfect–has a diverse, global cast and a female protagonist, and despite a tiny #DumpStarWars boycott, it’s been a massive success. It feels a little ridiculous to have to repeat this, but it bears repeating: plenty of people will watch a movie with a cast like this. In particular, as the international box office constitutes more and more of Hollywood’s profits, it’s smart to produce films that will appeal to and reflect those audiences, too.

I do wish other arguments, like decency, or the desire to create an accurate reflection of what the world looks like, could be nearly as effective. Alas, “you can make buckets of money” seems to be the best motivator for big-budget pictures, and Rogue One has delivered its buckets.

Before The Force Awakens, mid-December had been written off as an unprofitable premiere date. Maybe studios will stop writing off marginalized protagonists, too?

(Via The Hollywood Reporter, image via Lucasfilm and Disney)

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