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'Rogue One' set to rule holiday box office: New holiday 'Star Wars' tradition?

The 'Star Wars' spin-off film 'Rogue' looks to be a champion again at the box office over the coming holiday weekend. This echoes the box office dominance last year of the new 'Star Wars' movie 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.'

'Rogue One' stars Forest Whitaker.
Lucasfilm Ltd./AP | Caption

“Rogue One” looks to be the latest “Star Wars” movie to be a force at the box office over the December holiday season, a trend the franchise may carry through next year with at least one more “Star Wars” film set to be released at the end of the year. 

“Rogue One,” which was released on Dec. 16, stars Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, a young woman who is brought on board a mission to obtain the plans for the Death Star. The film co-stars Diego Luna, Forest Whitaker, and Donnie Yen.

The film came in at No. 1 in its opening weekend and looks to continue to win out over competition like the video game adaptation “Assassin’s Creed” and the science fiction film “Passengers,” which stars Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence and has received poor reviews. 

On Dec. 22, “Rogue One” took in the most at the box office, grossing more than $16 million, while films like “Creed” and “Passengers,” which opened on Dec. 21, brought in $2.5 million and $3 million, respectively. The animated movie “Sing” did better, grossing $9 million.

The box office is an echo of last year’s, when the film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which was the first new “Star Wars” movie in 10 years, was the winner, also becoming the highest-grossing film domestically in history without adjusting for inflation. And earlier this year, Disney, which releases the “Star Wars” films, changed the release date for the next “Star Wars” installment, moving it from the spring of 2017 to the holiday season.

With this release plan, “Star Wars” may briefly become the emperor of the holiday season, dominating December like the “Hunger Games” movies, for example, ruled over the Thanksgiving season for years. The last three films in that series became a major presence at the box office in the Novembers of 2013, 2014, and 2015. 

This “Star Wars” pattern may take a brief break, as the final movie in the current trilogy, casually referred to as “Episode 9,” is scheduled for May 2019. However, if “Rogue One” continues on its strong path, Disney will likely turn to the holiday season when it comes to future movies, either “spin-off” films like “Rogue” or movies in the main chronology.