Disney's Rogue One Garners $155M in Opening Weekend

The Walt Disney Company’s DIS Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has got off to a great start in the domestic market, with the film earning $155 million on its opening weekend in the U.S. and Canada.  The movie is the first spinoff of the cult franchise “Star Wars” produced by Disney, since its acquisition of Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012.  Analyst had expected Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to generate over $130 million in the opening weekend.

This is the second best weekend collection in the history of movie releases in December, falling behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The “Star Wars” franchise took the box office by storm with its return after a decade, same time in the last year. We believe this is a great opening by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story factoring in that this is a spinoff that explores other characters apart from the core trio of Luke, Leia and Han Solo. It is essentially a story of a band of rebels trying to steal plans of abolishing the planet-pulverizing Death Star.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattered box office records with a massive collection of $529 million worldwide in the opening weekend. At the North America box office, Disney earned $248 million in the opening weekend, making it the biggest opening in Hollywood’s history and smashing the $208.8 million record set by Jurassic World.

Although the performance of “Rogue One” has been excellent over the opening weekend in the domestic market but internationally the movie has done disappointingly. It was released in 70% of the overseas market garnering $135.5 million, well below analyst expectation of $300 million.

Japan is the only major Asian country where the movie has hit the theaters. Star Wars fans in South Korea and China can watch “Rogue One” in theaters starting Dec 28 and Jan 6, respectively.

Disney has a well documented history of box office success. Luck seems to be favoring the company as it has struck gold with almost every movie released over the last couple of years. In 2015, it came up with hits like Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel's Ant-Man, Inside Out, Cinderella and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The year 2016 has also been magnificent for the company’s movie business. The notable movie releases were Captain America: Civil War, Finding Dory and Zootopia, which surpassed $1 billion at the box office. Further, Jungle Book saw excellent business with a worldwide collection of $966 million.

The success of movie business is crucial for Disney as the loss of subscribers at ESPN has been a major concern. The company’s primary cash cow, ESPN, has been under immense pressure as the pay-TV landscape continues to change owing to migration of subscribers to online TV.

Despite the fabulous run of its movies, the company’s shares have declined 1.1% so far this year, against the Zacks categorized Media Conglomerates industry’s gain of 9.3%. On the contrary, shares of Comcast Corporation CMCSA and Time Warner Inc. TWX have surged 23.8% and 46.6%, respectively, year to date.



Zacks Rank & Stock to Consider

Disney currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock worth considering in the sector includes The Liberty Media Group LMCA, which sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here

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