Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Weekend Box Office: Fall of the Jedi

It’s a jungle out there. With five new movies in wide release, two limited openings and a nationwide expansion, this holiday weekend was certainly congested – and that doesn’t even take into account movies that took the stage on Monday, Christmas Day! Thanks to a massive dip in attendance for ‘Star Wars’, almost all of the new releases found success.

Note: This post was written on Christmas Eve based on three-day weekend estimates and does not contain Christmas Day estimates.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘ had no trouble retaining the top spot at the box office, but attendance fell a lot harder than the last episode in the series. Over the three-day weekend, the film dropped 69% from its opening. Compared to a 40% drop for ‘The Force Awakens’ (which also had a debut $28 million higher than ‘The Last Jedi), the week-to-week difference from $220 million and $68.4 million is steep. At this point, ‘The Force Awakens’ had $540 million at the domestic box office, while ‘The Last Jedi’ is only up to $365 million.

Don’t get me wrong, the numbers for ‘The Last Jedi’ are still insanely high and more than enough to be considered a smash hit, but you can’t help noticing a correlation between its mixed reception and the box office dip.

‘The Last Jedi’ continues to play strongly internationally, but for ‘Star Wars’, foreign numbers don’t single-handedly determine if a movie is going to be a financial success. The global box office totals for ‘The Force Awakens’ were nearly split 50/50 between the international and domestic box office. ‘The Last Jedi’ follows suit. It has $380.3 million foreign, just $15 million more than North America. Worldwide, it has $745.3 million and is expected to be near $800 million once the Christmas Day totals are added.

The biggest of this weekend’s new releases was ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle‘, which landed in second place with $34 million. The sequel took flight on Wednesday and capitalized on kids being out of school for Christmas break. It grossed $16 million pre-weekend, giving it a five-day total of $50.6 million. Overseas, it took $49.5 million, placing the family movie’s worldwide debut just over the $100 million mark. Produced on a $90 million budget, ‘Jumanji’ is off to a solid start.

Even if it hadn’t already been the self-proclaimed end of the franchise, based on this weekend’s box office, ‘Pitch Perfect 3would have signaled an end to audience interest. The original movie caught audiences off-guard. Although it opened wide to just $14.8 million, it went on to earn $65 million domestically. The sequel launched to an astounding $69.2 million and bowed with $184.2 million. ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ debuted at #3 with $20.4 million, a fraction of the previous installment’s opening. $9.8 million overseas (from an unspecified number of markets) brings its global opening to $30.2 million. With a budget of $45 million, Universal is likely hoping for a big Christmas Day turnout.

Hugh Jackman’s musical ‘The Greatest Showman‘ opened alongside ‘Jumanji’ on Wednesday, but hasn’t had nearly as much success. On Wednesday and Thursday, the film collected $4.5 million in ticket sales. Over the weekend, it made a fourth place finish with $8.6 million, giving it a $13.1 million five-day opening. Another $5 million is expected to come in on Christmas Day, but that’s still not enough to give the $84 million musical a healthy start. International numbers have yet to be released.

Two-week-old ‘Ferdinand‘ rounded out the Top 5 with $7 million. The $111 million animated picture has a domestic ten-day total of $26.5 million. With $7.6 million at the foreign box office, its worldwide total is up to $34.1 million.

Alexander Payne’s ‘Downsizing‘ had a fittingly small opening. From 2,668 locations, it made $4.6 million and a #7 debut. Produced on a $68 million budget, Paramount is likely to lose money on this one. To turn a profit, it will have to earn heaps of money when the international launch begins.

The nationwide expansion of ‘Darkest Hour‘ was fruitful. From 806 locations, it grossed $4.1 million, bringing its domestic total up to $6.9 million. Internationally, the film has drawn $5.4 million, bringing its worldwide box office to $12.3 million.

Warner Bros.’ long-delayed R-rated comedy ‘Father Figures‘ opened at #9 with $3.2 million. With a budget of $25 million, this won’t be the studio’s biggest loss of the year (ahem, ‘Justice League’, ahem), but it’s certainly a dud.

In limited release, Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Post‘ saw great results from its nine-screen debut. The journalism drama earned $495,000 and a per-screen average of $55,000. On the other hand, Christian Bale’s Western ‘Hostiles‘ saw so-so returns. From three locations, it pulled $26,000 for a per-screen average of $8,667. Both movies are expected to expand wide in January.

Top 10:

1. ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ (Buena Vista) – $68,486,000

2. ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ (Sony) – $34,000,000

3. ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ (Universal) – $20,451,000

4. ‘The Greatest Showman’ (Fox) – $8,600,000

5. ‘Ferdinand’ (Fox) – $7,050,000

6. ‘Coco’ (Buena Vista) – $5,208,000

7. ‘Downsizing’ (Paramount) – $4,600,000

8. ‘Darkest Hour’ (Focus) – $4,105,000

9. ‘Father Figures’ (Warner Bros.) – $3,200,000

10. ‘The Shape of Water’ (Fox Searchlight) – $3,050,000

9 comments

  1. What about ‘The Disaster Artist’? Out of the top-10? What a pity.

    Any idea why ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ had a so-so opening, when the previous movie earned a lot of dough in its opening weekend?

    • (Total guess here…) Young girls discovered the 1st one on home release, and the 2nd one came out within their brief period of obsession. With everyone who was interested in the 2nd one going to see it in theaters, it didn’t carry the same “cult” home release momentum. It was no longer a cute movie, but a franchise. I bet the popularity of the 1st movie’s digital rentals in the months leading up to the 2nd movie’s release were much higher than the 2nd movies rentals in the same period leading up to the 3rds release. By the time the third one comes out, everyone is over things like Glee, those live performances of Grease on tv, all that stuff.

      • Luke Hickman
        Author

        In addition, the first movie had a tongue-in-cheek quality that allowed it to poke fun of itself. It wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. Then the second movie rolled around. While it was filled with plenty of laughs, the self-aware nature was omitted. Unable to make fun of itself, it lost the magic of the first. The plot was stoopid. That’s when it became apparent that Universal was just trying to make a quick cashgrab.

        I have a feeling that Pitch Perfect is about to become the next American Pie series. Universal will continue to make a slew sequels that go directly to VOD/Blu-ray.

    • Bolo

      Isn’t this par for the course with comedy movies? It’s probably the genre that has the most trouble with sequels.

      Usually the second installments in comedy movies just do different variations on the same gags from the first film and it starts to feel stale by the end. The second one will make lots of money based on affection for the first film, but burns up all goodwill by the end.

      I know there are exceptions, but compared to other genres, comedy produces few series where people really like anything after the first one.

  2. Judas Cradle

    Rmember that Box Office is a measure of how many people went to SEE a movie, not a measure of how many people LIKED a movie.

  3. William Henley

    Do theaters report numbers from Monday – Thursday viewings? All the theaters near where my parents live in Tucson were showing Star Wars on multiple screens (showings like every 20 minutes), yet we still could not find tickets on the 26th at several of the theaters. We ended up going to an older theater, and even still, it was about 2/3rds full.

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