Weekend Box Office: Can The Force Withstand Five New Releases?

Entertainment Features
12.24.17 3 Comments

Columbia Pictures

In its second weekend, Star Wars: The Last Jedi faced off against five new releases, plus two movies expanding around the country. Unsurprisingly, the Force vanquished them all. In fact, the estimated $102 million second weekend for Star Wars: Episode VIII earned more than all five of the new releases combined. Box-office estimates are soft this weekend because Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday and it’s hard to predict Sunday grosses (especially with bad weather around the country), but it appears that The Last Jedi will earn a little more $100 million over the four-day frame, bringing its 11-day total to a whopping $400 million. That’s about 30 percent behind The Force Awakens but 25 percent ahead of Rogue One. It’s also nearly doubled that haul internationally so far, so look for The Last Jedi to cross the $1 billion mark worldwide by the New Year.

The $102 million weekend is good enough that a movie that finishes a distant second can still be considered a big success. That’s the case for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which earned $45 million over the four-day holiday frame and $60 million since its Wednesday release. Given the huge holiday multipliers — and the fact that every day between now and New Year’s plays like a typical Saturday — that is a resounding success for the sequel, especially for one that comes 23 years after the original. Solid reviews (77 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and good word of mouth should easily make the film profitable on a $100 million budget.

Pitch Perfect 3, likewise, looks solid, scoring $35 million over the four-day weekend. It’s not as beloved by critics as the first two (29 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but an A- on Cinemascore should boost the final chapter in the franchise to $100 million before all is said and done (double that once worldwide grosses are accounted for). Fourth place goes to another new entry, Hugh Jackman’s enormously joyous The Greatest Showman, which is not collecting the ticket sales it had hoped. It earned $12 million over the four-day frame and $16 million since its release on Wednesday. Critics are not loving the way the film papers over P.T. Barnum’s problematic past (51 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), but audiences are digging it, giving it an ‘A’ on Cinemascore (and it is undoubtedly a huge, heartfelt crowd-pleaser).

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