Skywalker rises again; Little Women go big at box office

The Rise of Skywalker Star wars box office

In 10 days of release, The Rise of Skywalker has brought in 362.8 million dollars for Disney. (Photo: Disney/Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Star Wars was still rising in the last weekend of the year, while Little Women broke big at the box office.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker brought in 72 million dollars over the weekend to remain the top-earning film in North America by light-years, according to studio estimates Sunday.

In 10 days of release it has brought in 362.8 million dollars for Disney, falling just short of the earnings of its predecessor, 2017's Star Wars: The Last Jedi in a comparable span.

Helped by the Christmas holiday week, Star Wars had a smaller-than-average 59% drop-off in its second weekend after earning 175 million dollars in its first.

“For a movie that opened that big, that is a modest drop,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “Movies that open this time of year, they usually have legs.”

Sony's Jumanji: The Next Level, earned 35.3 million dollars for second place and has tallied a total of 175.5 million dollars through its third weekend of release.

Director Greta Gerwig's re-imagining of the American literary classic Little Women had a 16.5-million dollars weekend and a five-day total of 29 million dollars since its Christmas opening, a major performance for a smaller-audience film with a budget dwarfed by the top two films.

The film, also a Sony release, starring Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Laura Dern, scored big with both audiences and critics and is gaining momentum as an awards-season favorite.

“With Greta Gerwig’s reputation as a filmmaker, a great cast and a perfect holiday release date, they’ve got quite a hit on the their hands," Dergarabedian said.

Uncut Gems, an even smaller film that has also sparked awards-season buzz for Adam Sandler's rare dramatic performance as a jeweler and gambling addict, entered the top 10 for the first time as it expanded to more screens in its first week. The film earned 9.6 million dollars over the weekend and has brought in 20 million dollars overall.

Director Sam Mendes' experimental World War I epic 1917, earned more than 1 million dollars since its Christmas opening despite showing in only 11 theaters. The huge per-screen average bodes well for the film's nationwide opening next month as it ramps up its Oscars campaign.

As 2019 ends, annual overall box office revenue is down by 4%, though it gained ground in its latter months, narrowing a deficit that was 11% in April, and 2018 was always going to be tough to beat.

"Last year was an outlier," Dergarabedian said. "It was just a massive year."

Between Marvel and Star Wars, and its animation divisions, 2019 was utterly owned by Disney, which had all five of the year's top grossing movies: Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, Toy Story 4, Captain Marvel and Frozen 2.

And with The Rise of Skywalker ending the year at No. 7 and Aladdin at No. 8, the mega-mouse ate up seven of the top 10 spots.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.

1. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, 72 million dollars, (94.3 million dollars international).

2. Jumanji: The Next Level, 35.3 million dollars (61.6 million dollars international).

3. Little Women, 16.5 million dollars, (6.3 million dollars international).

4. Frozen 2, 16.5 million dollars, (42.2 million dollars international).

5. Spies in Disguise, 13.2 million dollars, (16 million dollars international).

6. Knives Out, 9.7 million dollars (6 million dollars international).

7. Uncut Gems, 9.6 million dollars.

8. Cats, 4.83 million dollars, (13.6 million dollars international).

9. Bombshell, 4.7 million dollars, (157,000 dollars international).

10. Richard Jewell, 3 million dollars.