The unstoppable ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ continues to reign at the box office. The Rian Johnson-directed installment took in an additional $71.7 million over three days and $103.1M over four, counting the Monday holiday. ‘The Last Jedi’ is trailing behind the performance of ‘The Force Awakens’ in 2015, but significantly ahead of that of last year’s ‘Rogue One’. The fact that Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday actually weakened the box office as a whole, when compared to last year, but things still looked pretty strong, with some splashy newcomers opening quite strongly.
Sony’s ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ roared, with $36.5M (3-day) and $53.8M (4-day). The Amazon Prime customer-only preview from two weeks ago will be folded into its gross, bringing it to $70.4M. Even without the extra ticket sales, ‘Jumanji’ opened better than Sony’s ‘Passengers’ last year. ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ proved to be a huge draw for families, especially those who had already seen ‘Star Wars’. While the idea of superstars drawing viewers may be a thing of the past, this film is loaded with three really big names: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black and Kevin Hart, plus the likes of Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas and Colin Hanks. Overall, this remake worked because of its broad appeal. It’s safe for kids, but still entertaining for their parents.
Said Josh Greenstein, Sony’s worldwide marketing and distribution chief:
“If you’re looking for holiday cheer, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is the all-audience film for the holiday season.”
Reportedly, Sony also played conservatively with this film, with a budget of only $110M and the stars are helping sell it on social media. Audience reaction has been positive, with an “A-” CinemaScore, with those under 25 giving it an even more enthusiastic “A.”
In counter-programming, ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ also earned an “A-” CinemaScore. Predictably, its audience is 77% female and 59% under 25. Young females make up the smallest audience for ‘Star Wars’ so it sounds like it was a good idea to program this film against that. It could benefit in the coming week as most schools will remain closed until the New Year, allowing more young ladies to take in screenings. For this weekend, ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ made $19.9M (3-day)/$26M (4-day).
Fox’s ‘The Greatest Showman’ looked like surefire awards bait, but critics have not been kind, with it averaging a weak 50% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes. It is also mainly appealing to females, which is making up 73% of its audience, but older than those going to see ‘Pitch Perfect 3’. The audiences are reacting much more favorably than critics, giving ‘The Greatest Showman’ an “A” CinemaScore. It’s 3-day take was $8.8M, with $14M once Monday is added in. Because this film appeals mainly to older viewers, expect its run to be more of a slow burn as that demographic are not the sort to rush right out on opening weekend.
Fox’s animated ‘Ferdinand’ managed to hang on to the #5 spot, earning $7.3M (3-day) and $9.67M (4-day).
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Disney) – $71.7M (3-day)/$103.1M (4-day)
- Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Sony) – $36.5M (3-day)/$53.8M (4-day)/$70.4M (total)
- Pitch Perfect 3 (Universal) – $19.9M (3-day)/$26M (4-day)
- The Greatest Showman (20th Century Fox) – $8.8M (3-day)/$14M (4-day)
- Ferdinand (20th Century Fox) – $7.3M (3-day)/$9.67M (4-day)
There’s nothing terribly commercial opening next weekend. The most high-profile film is Ridley Scott’s true life drama ‘All The Money In The World’ starring Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer and Mark Wahlberg. The film is making waves because just weeks before its release, Scott decided to reshoot parts of it to remove Kevin Spacey who had played John Paul Getty in the film. Spacey had come under fire for sexual misconduct and Scott didn’t want that to taint his film. In a matter of days, he’d reshot the film with Plummer replacing Spacey.
A few other small-budget films are also coming out: ‘Molly’s Game’, ‘Phantom Thread’, ‘In The Fade’ and ‘Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool’.
Check back to see if these smaller movies can match the powerhouses that ruled this weekend!