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Tuesday Mixer: First look at 'Alien: Covenant'

Posted Tuesday, December 27, 2016 at 11:34 AM Central

by John Couture

I'm really beginning to think that Disney is completely changing the way that we watch films. Well, I mean, of course they are. They own the biggest film properties and as such, they pretty much dictate how and when we watch the films that we most want to see.

Take Star Wars, for example.

Until Disney took the reins of the Star Wars franchise, it was just like any other blockbuster franchise. They would pick out a nice summer date and ride the high during the high water days of the box office.

Whether by choice or chance, they discovered a new gold mine when they debuted The Force Awakens last December and rode it to the highest-grossing film ever released. This year's release of Rogue One would go a long way to determining whether they would stick with this new release schedule or go back to a more traditional one.

I think it's safe to say that Disney and Star Wars will own the Christmas holiday for many years to come.

Box Office 411

The two biggest weekends at the box office, outside of the summer months, is always Christmas and New Year's. Not only is it a time where awards contenders debut, but it has had a great track record of getting films in front of a bunch of eyeballs for a weekend or two.

What they haven't had much success in the past is sustaining that success into the new year. That is until last year. Think of how smart Disney is. They debut the latest Star Wars film a weekend before Christmas and all of the die-hards line up. Then, over the next two weekends, they go back and see it with friends and families when there are multiple long weekends.

Basically, each Star Wars release is now a three-weekend event that owns that last few weeks of the year. Last year, by the end of the three-week event, The Force Awakens had earned a whopping $742 million. The film would earn a little less than $200 for the balance of its release.

With this weekend's $96 million, Rogue One has now earned a total of $318 million. Of course, Rogue One won't approach the sheer numbers that The Force Awakens did, but it is following a similar trajectory. By this time next week, Rogue One should be well over $450 million and on its way to usurping Finding Dory's $486 million to become the highest-grossing release of 2016.

Unlike last year, Rogue One had a slew of competitors this weekend, but none of them were able to give it a serious challenge. Sing came the closest by posting very solid numbers on the weekend and earning a total of $76 million since its debut last Wednesday. Its $56 million over the four-day weekend was good enough for second place.

After that, it was just one disappointment after another at the box office. Passengers, the high-profile sci-fi thriller starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, failed to ignite with audiences, settling for $30 million since its opening last Wednesday.

In fourth place, Why Him? opened with $16.7 million since Friday, while Assassin's Creed debuted in fifth place with $22 million since its opening on Wednesday. The only other wide-opening release, Fences, finished its first weekend with $11.5 million.

So, what does this mean for the future? That's a good question, but I think it's safe to say that Disney will continue to push Star Wars movies into this three-week event window for the foreseeable future.

Quick Hitters

  • As any parents of young children can attest, the whole "Elf on a Shelf" phenomenon is one that is as nerve-wracking as it is enjoyable. There's nothing quite like forgetting to move the elf and then seeing the abject disappointment on your children's faces in the morning. So, when I saw this, I had to pass it along. Also, it's good to see Amy Smart again, it had been a hot minute.

  • As we mentioned last week, 'tis the season for trailers and this one has us pretty stoked. The first trailer for Alien: Covenant debuted this weekend and it's safe to say that they finally got the story right. This film looks like it would absolutely fit into the whole Alien franchise.