'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' Soars At The Box Office, 'Cats' Is A Cat-Tastrophe

Cats wasn't the Jellicle choice for audiences at the movies this weekend. The expensive Tom Hooper-directed CGI monstrosity bombed at the box office, while Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker soared to the top of the weekend box office charts, even though it didn't come close to matching the opening weekend of its trilogy predecessors.

Audiences poured into theaters to witness the end of the Skywalker Saga this past weekend. Despite mixed reviews and divided fan opinion, The Rise of Skywalker showed that the Force is still strong with Star Wars. The J.J. Abrams-directed movie raked in $176 million in U.S. theaters and $374 million globally, according to Box Office Mojo. While that's an impressive opening number, it still doesn't come close to the domestic opening weekend of the past two movies in the new Star Wars trilogy: The Force Awakens opened in 2015 to $248 million while The Last Jedi scored $220 million.

But as the series taught us: hope is not lost. The Rise of Skywalker still represents one of the biggest debuts of 2019 as well as the third-best opening for a December release of all time, behind — naturally — The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

However, the bigger box office cat-tastrophe was Cats. The expensive Tom Hooper-directed adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical opened to a disappointing $6.5 million in 3,380 locations — making it one of the top twenty among worst openings all-time for a film playing in over 3,000 locations. The studio heavily pushed the star-studded cast, which included Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, and Judi Dench, as well as curiosity around the film's "digital fur technology" that would transform humans into furry uncanny beasts. But that marketing strategy was far from purr-fect, and audiences ultimately didn't make the Jellicle choice. Internationally, Cats opened in the U.K. with an estimated $4.4 million, bringing its total opening number to around $11 million.

However at this rate, even with the expansion into 37 international markets next week, Cats won't be able to make back its $95 million budget.