Walt Disney Studios ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’

That’s the second-biggest gross ever for Dec. 25. ‘Little Women’ and ‘Uncut Gems’ sparkle as they open nationwide.

J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker crushed the Christmas Day box office with $32 million, the second-best showing of all time for Dec. 25 behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($49.3 million).

Rise of Skywalker supplanted Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($27.5 million). Sherlock Holmes remains the record-holder ($24.6 million) in terms of films opening on the holiday.

Disney and Lucasfilms’ newest Star Wars pic finished Wednesday with $258.9 million domestically and $259.9 internationally for a global total of $516.8 million as it races toward the $1 billion mark.

Once presents are unwrapped Dec. 25, the most concentrated corridor of the year commences at the box office, when weekdays are like a Saturday at both the multiplex and the art house.

In addition to holdovers Rise of Skyalker, Jumanji: The Next Level, Cats and Bombshell, a flurry of holiday films flew down the chimney Christmas Day, led by Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, which grossed $6.4 million for a promising five-day debut of $22 million.

A24’s specialty pic Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler, also sparkled as it expanded nationwide Wednesday, earning $5.9 million to become No. 4 behind Skywalker, Jumanji 2 ($12.6 million) and Little Women. Uncut Gems — boasting the biggest opening day gross ever for A24 — is looking at a five-day debut of $21 million, although it remains to be seen whether a C+ CinemaScore hurts word of mouth.

The third new title opening across the country Christmas Day was Fox and Disney’s animated pic Spies in Disguise, which earned an estimated $4.8 million for a projected five-day debut also in the $21 million range.

“The holiday corridor is vitally important to the industry and within that period, Christmas has always been the linchpin that directly reflects the enthusiasm by consumers for the slate of films currently in the marketplace and more importantly the allure of wide release newcomers that arrive at the multiplex on that day,” says Paul Dergarabedian of Comscore.

Rise of Skywalker will have no trouble staying atop the chart for the five-day holiday frame. Based on its Christmas Day performance, the tentpole could take in as much as $150 million between Wednesday and Sunday.

Sony’s Jumanji should likewise remain a strong all-audience draw throughout the holidays, particularly after the troubled debut of Tom Hooper’s family friendly Cats last weekend.

Cats is presently looking at an eighth place finish for the five-day holiday with a disappointing $9.1 million for Universal and Working Title, putting it behind the original hit Knives Out, which is projected to take in $18 million as it jumps the $100 million mark domestically.

Little Women, from Sony and New Regency, hopes to be the No. 1 choice for females, while Spies in Disguise, starring Will Smith and Tom Holland, will go after kids.

Uncut Gems will have to compete for adult moviegoers with Lionsgate’s Fox News drama Bombshell, which expanded this past weekend with $5.1 million.

In select cities, Bombshell and Uncut Gems will face additional competition from Sam Mendes’ World War I epic 1917 and Just Mercy, starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx.

From Amblin and Universal, 1917 earned $271,000 Wednesday, for a projected five-day opening location average of $88,000 from 11 theaters.

Just Mercy, from Warner Bros., grossed $81,000 from four theaters for a projected five-day opening average of $63,000 after landing a coveted A+ from moviegoers.

SATURDAY AM UPDATE: Sony’s Little Women is leading this week’s crop of new releases, pulling in an estimated $5.74 million on Friday with the studio anticipating a three-day performance just shy of $16 million and a five-day opening topping $28 million. The film received an “A-” CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

Fox’s Spies in Disguise brought in an estimated $4.6 million and is looking at a three-day performance around $13 million and a five-day debut nearing $22 million. The film also received an “A-” CinemaScore from opening day audiences.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Using Christmas Day as a jumping off point, the last weekend of 2019 will enjoy a full five days of movie going with children out of school, parents off work and families looking for someplace warm to spend a few hours and there is plenty to choose from. Disney hopes audiences will turn up for the second weekend of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker while new offerings include Fox’s animated feature Spies in Disguise, Sony’s Little Women and A24 has gone wide with Uncut Gems. The last time Christmas fell on a Wednesday was 2013 and before that 2002, so we’ll be looking at those two weekends for some guidance as to just how well this weekend’s films will perform thanks to the lucrative holiday timing.

Set to repeat atop the box office is Disney’s Rise of Skywalker. The latest installment in the Star Wars franchise delivered the second largest Christmas Day gross all-time on Wednesday and should easily post a better hold over its second weekend than Last Jedi did a couple year back when it dipped -67.5%. Right now we’re anticipating a drop around -45% this weekend and a three-day just shy of $98 million for a domestic cume topping $380 million by Sunday.

For the next two spots, the weekend should mimic last weekend’s results with Jumanji: The Next Level and Frozen II taking the second and third spots respectively. Right now we’re looking for Jumanji to deliver a weekend performance over $38 million for a domestic cume topping $175 million while Frozen II should land $19+ million, pushing its domestic cume over $420 million by the end of the weekend.

Last Friday, Sony came out with expectations for the five-day weekend for Little Women, anticipating a $16-17 million opening from 3,308 locations. The film delivered a $6.4 million opening day on Christmas and now the studio is projecting a five-day north of $22 million, and yet we’re still seeing potential for a larger performance. The $6.4 million opening is nearly $1.5 million ahead of the Wednesday opening for Crazy Rich Asians last year and that film went on to gross over $35 million over its first five days. Added to that, Little Women is pacing just behind Crazy Rich Asians over the two weeks leading up to release as well as performing similarly to September’s release of Downton Abbey, which has us anticipating a three-day north of $17 million and a five day performance topping $30 million.

The question now becomes what film rounds out the top five. We’re anticipating Lionsgate’s Knives Out will continue its strong run and deliver a three-day around $12 million, but will that be enough to hold off Fox’s animated release Spies in Disguise?

Spies in Disguise delivered $4.8 million on Christmas Day and heading into the film’s opening, the studio was anticipating a five-day launch around $20 million. Given the film’s opening day, a performance closer to studio expectations would mean we’d be looking at a three-day around $10 million, but some industry expectations are now putting the film’s five-day opening closer to $25 million, which would suggest a three-day closer to $15-16 million. A look at IMDb page views shows Spies pacing poorly when compared to releases such as 2013’s Turbo, 2015’s The Good Dinosaur and 2017’s Ferdinand, which has us projecting a performance close to the lower end of the two aforementioned scenarios and a three-day around $11 million.

A couple of spots further down the list we find A24’s Uncut Gems, which enjoyed a strong Christmas Day showing as it expanded into 2,341 locations and now this weekend we’re looking for a three-day performance around $8-9 million.

Limited releases already in theaters include Universal’s 1917 in 11 theaters and WB’s Just Mercy in just four locations, both will be expanding nationwide in the coming weeks.

This weekend’s forecast is directly below. This post will be updated with Friday estimates on Saturday morning followed by a complete weekend recap on Sunday.

  • Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (4,406 theaters) – $97.6 M
  • Jumanji: The Next Level (4,227 theaters) – $38.4 M
  • Frozen II (3,265 theaters) – $19.4 M
  • Little Women (3,308 theaters) – $17.2 M
  • Knives Out (2,022 theaters) – $12.0 M
  • Spies in Disguise (3,502 theaters) – $11.0 M
  • Uncut Gems (2,341 theaters) – $8.5 M
  • Cats (3,380 theaters) – $6.4 M
  • Bombshell (1,480 theaters) – $5.2 M
  • Richard Jewell (2,502 theaters) – $1.4 M