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'Rogue One' continues box office reign

By JAKE COYLE Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The new year at the box office is starting where 2016 left off: with Disney on top.

The "Star Wars" spinoff "Rogue One" led the box office for the third straight week, taking in an estimated $64.3 million over the four-day New Year's weekend, according to studio estimates Monday.

The success of Gareth Edwards' "Rogue One" has only further cemented a record year for the Walt Disney Co., which ran up $2.7 billion in domestic ticket sales in 2016 and accounted for more than 25 percent of the market.

"Rogue One," which has now grossed about $440 million in North America and nearly $800 million globally, currently slots in as the year's No. 2 movie, following "Finding Dory" (also from Disney). The studio notched four of the five top films and has, in a year marked by franchise struggles, made a routine of churning out well-reviewed, hugely profitable blockbusters.

The weekend pushed the industry to $11.4 billion in ticket sales in 2016, topping the $11.1 billion record set in 2015. The record revenue, propelled primarily by the Disney juggernaut, masks undeniable challenges in the business. Attendance was largely flat. Streaming and television continue to grow as competitors. Some glaring failures ("Suicide Squad") and flops ("Independence Day: Resurgence") showed considerable franchise fatigue with audiences. And several studios (Paramount, Sony) endured much leaner years.

But Hollywood's 2017 is starting out with brisk business. In its second week of release, the animated "Sing," from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment, again came in second with $56.4 million.

The poorly reviewed science-fiction romance "Passengers," starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, came in third with $20.7 million over the four-day weekend. It's made $61.4 million thus far, a somewhat disappointing total for a film that cost north of $100 million to make. Another Disney title, "Moana," came in fourth with $14.3 million in its sixth weekend.

A pair of Oscar contenders is also packing theaters. Despite playing in more limited release, Damien Chazelle's Los Angeles musical "La La Land" grossed $12.3 million over the four-day weekend.

The lead Golden Globe nominee has grossed $37 million and yet is playing in only 750 theaters. (Wider releases play in 3,000-plus theaters.) It's the year's top limited release title.

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

1. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," $64.3 million ($45.8 million international).

2. "Sing," $56.4 million ($24.5 million international).

3. "Passengers," $20.7 million ($21.7 million international).

4. "Moana," $14.3 million ($21.3 million international).

5. "Why Him?" $13 million ($10.1 million international).

6. "Fences," $12.7 million.

7. "La La Land," $12.3 million ($6 million international).

8. "Assassin's Creed," $10.9 million ($22 million international).

9. "Manchester by the Sea," $5.5 million.

10. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," $5.4 million ($8.8 million international).

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