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'Rogue One' scores 2nd-best December debut

By SANDY COHEN Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" soared to the top of the weekend box office as expected, scoring the second-best December opening ever with $155 million in estimated ticket sales.

After the biggest Thursday night debut of the year, the intergalactic adventure blasted past industry expectations for a $130 million weekend, according Sunday's studio estimates. "Rogue One" opened at No. 1 in all markets globally, though it has yet to bow in China and Korea.

"We're in uncharted territory for December," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box office tracker comScore. "It's going to be really hard for any movie to catch up to this movie. ... This is only the second time a movie has opened this big in December."

The record-setter was "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the space saga's seventh installment, which debuted to $247.9 million in the U.S. and Canada last December.

Like "The Force Awakens" did in 2015, "Rogue One" could top the box office for the rest of the year, Dergarabedian said.

Set before the events of the original 1977 "Star Wars," it stars Felicity Jones and Diego Luna as leaders of a rebel faction that steals plans for its imperial enemy's master weapon, the Death Star.

"Rogue One" knocked the No. 1 movie for the past three weeks, Disney's "Moana," to a distant second with $11.6 million, followed by "Office Christmas Party" with $8.4 million.

The weekend's other new wide release, the critically panned Will Smith drama "Collateral Beauty," opened in fourth place with $7 million.

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Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. The latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," $155 million ($290.5 million international).

2. "Moana," $11.66 million ($27.16 million international).

3. "Office Christmas Party," $8.4 million ($43.25 million international).

4. "Collateral Beauty," $7 million ($11.6 million international).

5. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," $5 million ($19.5 million international).

6. "Manchester by the Sea," $4.1 million ($4.66 million international).

7. "La La Land," $4 million ($8.7 million international).

8. "Arrival," $2.77 million ($5.97 million international).

9. "Doctor Strange," $2 million ($2.8 million international).

10. "Nocturnal Animals," $1.39 million ($1.99 million international).

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