Entertainment

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' is on track to be the year's No. 1 hit

Posted December 29, 2016

You may recall that last year’s No. 1 movie (for both domestic and worldwide box-office earnings) was “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

So the logical question is, will “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” be this year’s No. 1 box-office hit?

Considering that, after only two weeks in theaters, the latest Star Wars movie already rests in the No. 9 spot on Box Office Mojo’s chart for North America and at No. 11 on the worldwide chart, there’s a distinct possibility that it will reach the highest perch before all is said and done.

And if it doesn’t quite overtake “Finding Dory” (No. 1 domestic) or “Captain America: Civil War” (No. 1 worldwide), it’s bound to be sandwiched in there somewhere.

Only time will tell. We’ll check back in a few weeks.

As expected, superhero/comic book action films and animated features dominated 2016 theatrical releases — as well as 2016 box-office successes.

Here’s the domestic box-office top 10: 1. “Finding Dory,” 2. “Captain America: Civil War,” 3. “The Secret Life of Pets,” 4. “The Jungle Book,” 5. “Deadpool,” 6. “Zootopia,” 7. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” 8. “Suicide Squad,” 9. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” 10. “Doctor Strange.”

And the worldwide box-office top 10: 1. “Captain America: Civil War,” 2. “Finding Dory,” 3. “Zootopia,” 4. “The Jungle Book,” 5. “The Secret Life of Pets,” 6. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” 7. “Deadpool,” 8. “Suicide Squad,” 9. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” 10. “Doctor Strange.”

Nos. 11-20 on the domestic list include “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” “Moana,” “Jason Bourne,” “Star Trek Beyond,” “X-Men: Apocalypse,” “Trolls,” “Kung Fu Panda 3,” “Ghostbusters,” “Central Intelligence” and “The Legend of Tarzan.”

And corresponding films on the worldwide list vary only a bit: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “The Mermaid” (a Chinese fantasy), “X-Men: Apocalypse,” “Kung Fu Panda 3,” “Warcraft,” “Jason Bourne,” “Ice Age: Collision Course,” “Independence Day: Resurgence,” “Monster Hunt” (another Chinese fantasy) and “The Legend of Tarzan.”

Not a lot of differences, and no serious “adult” films in the mix, unless someone wants to quibble over “Jason Bourne.”

Let’s face it, these days the motion-picture industry seems to be aimed primarily at children … and at adults who have yet to put away childish things. And it’s likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed “Captain America: Civil War,” “Star Trek Beyond,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Moana” and “Zootopia” as much as anyone, but there are so many now — especially if you factor in all the TV shows devoted to similar themes and the stepped-up rivalry between DC Comics and Marvel Comics — that superhero/cartoon fatigue should be investigated by the American Medical Association as a serious malady.

On the superhero front, we also had “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” “Max Steel” and “Assassin’s Creed” and, to stretch the point, “The Accountant,” “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” and “Inferno,” some of which may not technically be superhero films, but they’re also not far afield. All involve someone saving the day, if not the world.

Among the animated features we also had “Norm of the North,” “Boy and the World,” “Only Yesterday,” “Ratchet & Clank,” “April and the Extraordinary World,” “The Angry Birds Movie,” “Kubo & the Two Strings,” “Space Dogs: Adventure to the Moon,” “Phantom Boy,” “The Wild Life,” “Storks,” “Long Way North” and “Sing.”

And maybe “Pete’s Dragon,” “The Jungle Book” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which certainly seemed more CGI-driven than live-action, should be included in that category too. And, even more arguably, such “serious” sci-fi as “Arrival” and “Passengers.”

On the other hand, 2016 dramatic films for grown-ups were top-heavy with true stories. Of course, how “true” they actually were — that is, how much they adhered to historical facts over embellishment or outright fictional interpretation — is up for debate.

From “The Finest Hours” to “The Lady in the Van” to “Eddie the Eagle” to “Pele” to “Genius” to “Florence Foster Jenkins” to “Southside With You” — and too many others to list — it was all about movies that were “inspired by a true story.”

And some in this category — “Sully,” “Denial,” “Loving” and “Deepwater Horizon” — were among my favorite films of the year.

So, even though fantasy will continue to dominate theater screens in 2017, we shouldn’t give up hope. There always seems to be room for some thoughtful goodies, even if they remain in the minority.

Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." He also writes at www.hicksflicks.com and can be contacted at hicks@deseretnews.com.

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