You’d think that studios wouldn’t want to go up against a new “Star Wars” movie on opening weekend. But they have – and continue to do so.
This weekend, Universal’s “Cats” is facing-off against Disney’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”. We all know which of the two is gonna dominate the box office, but does “Cats” even have a chance of making an impact?
It will come down to a few factors:
1.) Early Reviews. Some critics have attended early screenings “Les Miserables” director Tom Hooper’s latest musical. The tone of the reviews will sway some moviegoers one way or another.
2.) Time. Like other musicals such as “Mary Poppins Returns” and “The Greatest Showman”, the first few days of “Cats”’s run may not be the biggest. The weekend before Christmas is tough to devote time and money. It’ll be the Christmas to New Year’s week that will give “Cats” an extra few lives (unless it’s a flat-out bomb).
3.) Number of Screens. Multiplexes will want do devote as many screens as they can to “Star Wars”, especially if there are Sold Out showings. Will “Cats” be sidelined to just one screen per multiplex?
As for other films that have been paired-up with the recent “Star Wars” entries:
In 2015, Fox served-up “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip”, which grossed $14.3 million. Universal’s comedy “Sisters” was right behind with $13.9 million. They both easily lost to “The Force Awakens”, which began with $248 million.
In 2016, WB released the Will Smith drama “Collateral Beauty”. It only made $7.1 million in its first three days. “SW” spinoff “Rogue One” made $155.1 million.
And in 2017, Fox and Blue Sky (now under Disney’s control) unveiled the Oscar nominated animated feature “Ferdinand”. It served as counter-programming for families with young kids, starting-off with $13.4 million. That was far below the $220 million open of “The Last Jedi”.