A blitz of Christmas releases and one high-profile holdover ensured multiplexes would have a very happy holidays this weekend.
Repeating in the top spot is Star Wars: The Last Jedi with $68.4 million. That is a staggering 68.9 percent drop from its opening weekend figures, indicating that there might be some truth to how divisive the film is. It’s common for tentpoles to be front-loaded in their first three days, but this decrease is much more akin to Batman V Superman than either The Force Awakens (39.8 percent) or Rogue One (58.7 percent). While critics and a large portion of the fan base have sung The Last Jedi‘s praises, there were many unhappy with the directions it took the story and additions to the lore. With the well-received Jumanji debuting, Star Wars didn’t have quite the stranglehold on the competition as it has in years past. Still, Lucasfilm won’t be losing much sleep over this, as Episode VIII has earned $365 million domestically and $745.3 million worldwide so far.
Coming in second is Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (read our review) with $34 million. The adventure movie was able to hold its own against Star Wars thanks to positive word-of-mouth and some noteworthy names in the cast. Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart gave this film the star power it needed to stand out, and this belated followup delivered the results Sony desperately needed. Because it opened on Wednesday, December 20, Jumanji has earned a total of $50 million in the U.S. so far. International numbers are not yet available, but with a production budget of “just” $90 million, it should be able to turn a profit.
Jumanji should have a lucrative run by the time it’s all said and done. There aren’t many major genre movies opening until The Death Cure in mid-January, so Welcome to the Jungle will have a couple of weeks with little competition, just trying to keep pace with Star Wars. Overall, Sony has to be impressed with the way things turned out, as many thought it was foolish to essentially go toe-to-toe with the galaxy far, far away during Christmas break. Jumanji has found an audience thanks to offering good fun for the family.
In third is Pitch Perfect 3, (read our review) which earned $20.4 million in its first three days. That is considerably lower than the opening weekend posted by its predecessor ($69.1 million), indicating Universal may have been smart to end this series now as returns start to diminish. This installment definitely had trouble breaking out of its target niche due to its release window. Whereas Pitch Perfect 2 premiered in the early days of summer against Mad Max: Fury Road, this finale had an uphill climb against Star Wars (always an event) and Jumanji. Also, the buzz surrounding Pitch Perfect 3 was not strong, which negatively impacted its commercial appeal.
In fourth is the new musical The Greatest Showman (read our review) with $8.6 million. The film had trouble standing out from the glut of holiday releases due to the mostly negative word-of-mouth, as critics found little to like about it outside of Hugh Jackman’s enthusiastic performance. Additionally, this particular genre isn’t box office gold anymore (La La Land was an outlier), so it was always going to have rough sledding. Debuting on December 20, Greatest Showman is now up to $13.1 million domestically.
Rounding out the top five is Ferdinand with $7 million. The animated film raised its domestic total to $26.5 million.
Pixar’s Coco comes in sixth, earning $5.2 million in its fifth weekend. It is now up to $161.3 million in the U.S.
The #7 movie is Downsizing (read our review), the latest film from director Alexander Payne. Despite Matt Damon in the lead and an interesting sci-fi concept, the movie could only muster $4.6 million in its first three days. This could be attributed to the mixed response, as many were disappointed with Payne’s execution. Downsizing also never emerged as the awards contender some thought it might be, meaning demand wasn’t very high amongst cinephiles. As a result, the film will likely fade quickly, seeing that interest is quite low.
Expanding to 806 locations, Oscar hopeful Darkest Hour earned $4.1 million over the weekend. Starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, the film is seen as a legitimate contender in several key Academy Award categories, and those looking to catch up on the race were inclined to check it out in theaters. Premiering in limited release in November, the drama is now up to $6.9 million domestically.
In ninth is the new comedy Father Figures, which stars Owen Wilson and Ed Helms as two brothers searching for their father. The film arrived in theaters with very limited fan fare, which is reflected in the box office figures. During its first three days, it made $3.2 million.
Capping off the top 10 is The Shape of Water, which expanded to 726 theaters and made $3 million. Like Darkest Hour, this is one of the frontrunners in the Oscar raise, earning raves for its directing, heartfelt narrative, and performances. So far, the film has earned $7.6 million domestically.
[NOTE: These are only weekend box office estimates — based on Friday and Saturday ticket sales coupled with adjusted expectations for Sunday. Official weekend box office results will be released on Monday, December 25 — at which time we’ll update this post with any changes.]
Source: Box Office Mojo