'Rogue One' dominates the holiday box office

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LOS ANGELES — It was an intergalactic holiday at movie theaters as "Rogue One" blasted past a spate of new releases to hold onto the top spot at the weekend box office.

The "Star Wars" story added another $96 million to its coffers over the four-day holiday period, according to studio estimates Monday.

"The power of the 'Star Wars' brand made it the odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 film on Christmas weekend despite a massive amount of competition," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker comScore.

That left the weekend's many new releases in a race for second place. The animated animal musical "Sing" claimed that spot, debuting to $56 million. The Jennifer Lawrence-Chris Pratt space tale "Passengers" opened in third place with $23.1 million, followed by the R-rated comedy "Why Him?" with $16.7 million. The video-game adaptation "Assassin's Creed" debuted in fifth place with $15 million.

"Star Wars" also dominated the holiday box office last year with "The Force Awakens."

"Mid-December is kind of a magic time to release a big franchise film," Dergarabedian said, noting that the top-grossing films of all time, "Avatar" and "Titanic," also opened in mid-December.

Half a dozen other films either opened or expanded over the holiday weekend. Denzel Washington's adaptation of August Wilson's "Fences" expanded on Sunday, earning $11.37 million over the four-day weekend, good for sixth place.

While still in limited release, the celebrated musical "La La Land" opened in 534 additional theaters and finished the weekend in eighth place.

Also opening over the long holiday weekend: Pedro Almodovar's "Julieta," Martin Scorsese's "Silence," J.A. Bayona's dark fantasy "A Monster Calls," Ben Affleck's "Live By Night" and the NASA drama "Hidden Figures."

"There were so many cinematic presents under the Christmas tree, it was hard to keep track," Dergarabedian said.

By the numbers

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore.

1. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," $96.1 million

2. "Sing," $56.1 million

3. "Passengers," $23.1 million

4. "Why Him?" $16.7 million

5. "Assassin's Creed," $15 million

6. "Fences," $11.4 million

7. "Moana," $10.4 million

8. "La La Land," $9.7 million

9. "Office Christmas Party," $7.3 million

10. "Collateral Beauty," $7.1 million

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