Reaction on social media to Star Wars: The Last Jedi has, so far, seemed divisive. In fact, the Rotten Tomatoes audience score for the eighth chapter in the franchise currently sits at 56 percent despite overwhelming critical support for the film. That’s a considerably lower audience score than for Justice League. But something feels fishy about it (aside from the fact that most of the audience scores come from first-time users). In fact, it doesn’t jibe at all with PostTrak audience polls, which show a 90 percent positive reception to the film, while Cinemascore gives the franchise its third straight ‘A.’ My guess is that the 10 percent who did not give the movie a positive score are also the most vocal about their opinions on Rotten Tomatoes and social media. That loud minority is reframing the narrative around the reception of the film.
It is not, however, affecting the box-office take. The Last Jedi is on track to earn a whopping $219 million this weekend, second all time behind on The Force Awakens, which earned $247 million. While it is down somewhat from the seventh chapter — which had the benefit of years of anticipation — it nevertheless scored considerably more than the massive $155 million opening weekend of Rogue One last year. The $219 million gross is a huge number that also seems to put it on track to at least compete for Avatar for the second highest grossing film of all time, domestic, behind only The Force Awakens.
It looks like the Star Wars franchise remains healthy and robust. In fact, Star Wars drove 81 percent of all the box-office revenue this weekend, and Disney owned a full 92 percent of the weekend’s box-office take. However, $13 million of the non-Disney money came from the second place film, Ferdinand, which was produced by Fox, the company that Disney agreed to purchase earlier this week. Well reviewed (74 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and well-liked by audiences (an ‘A’ Cinemsacore), Ferdinand nevertheless had its work cut out for it going up against The Last Jedi. Ultimately it performed about as well as Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip ($14 million) did against The Force Awakens two years ago. It should, however, continue to perform modestly well over the holidays as one of the few options for smaller kids outside of The Last Jedi and Coco.
Speaking of Coco (and Disney-owned Pixar), that film finished in third place this weekend, not so far behind Ferdinand with $9 million, pushing its overall total now to $150 million after 4 weeks at the box office. Wonder came in fourth place with $5 million, and it has earned $108 million, so far. The Last Jedi took a huge chunk out of Justice League, which lost 25 percent of its theaters this weekend and dropped to $3.9 million. It’s earned $219 million.
Daddy’s Home 2 is closing in on the $100 million mark. It earned $3.3 million to give it $96 million overall. Thor: Ragnarok added $2.8 million in its 7th week and has now earned $306 million. The Disaster Artist is up to $12 million after a $2.4 million weekend. Meanwhile, Murder on the Orient Express came in 9th place with $2.29 million. It’s now earned $97 million and should eke past the $100 million mark before exiting theaters. Finally, Lady Bird has quietly put up $25 million overall after its 10th place finish this weekend.
The Christmas releases begin rolling out this week on Wednesday as they hope to take some of the box-office pie away from The Last Jedi. The Greatest Showman and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle open on Wednesday while Friday sees the wide release of Downsizing, Father Figures and Pitch Perfect 3. They’ll all be fighting for second place for the foreseeable future. The Force Awakens didn’t give up the top spot until mid-January.