Two big juggernauts hit the box-office this weekend with both “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “Cats” opening, however both are performing differently to their industry projections from just a few days ago.
The J.J. Abrams-directed “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is now beating expectation, launching to a muscular $195 million domestically this weekend according to mid-Friday estimates. That’s well above the $160 million predicted by the studio, though is still a good step behind both ‘The Force Awakens’ ($248M) & ‘The Last Jedi’ ($220M).
While the critics embraced the first two films of the current trilogy, they’ve been much more mixed and outright negative towards this one – giving it the worst review marks of the franchise aside from 1999’s ‘The Phantom Menace’. Early audience scores on aggregate sites are putting the new film about on par with ‘Force Awakens’, a turnaround from ‘Last Jedi’ which the critics embraced but audiences didn’t in those same polls.
“Cats” on the other hand, probably not helped by the widespread disastrous reviews, is coming in far below expectations. The adaptation of the hit Andrew Lloyd Webber musical was projected to earn $15-17 million for the weekend but is now looking to end up with just $8.5 million. More worrisome for the studio is audience exit polls seem to be in agreement with critics, meaning don’t expect it to have legs like “The Greatest Showman” did. For a costly $100 million budget (not including marketing), this is not a good outcome.
Also coming in short of estimates, again not helped by softer than hoped for reviews, “Bombshell” is on pace to open to $6.5 million as it expands wide. The film was seen as a potential late awards contender but those chances seem to have quietened down a bit.