‘Pitch Perfect 3’ and ‘The Post’ also prosper. The verdict is out on ‘The Greatest Showman,’ while R-rated comedy ‘Father Figures’ finds coal in its stocking.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle are the biggest winners of the holiday box-office feast, while at the other end of the Christmas table, Alexander Payne’s Downsizing and the R-rated Father Figures are fighting for scraps.
Today, moviegoing will slow down considerably as people prepare for Christmas Eve festivities. Traffic will then pick up again in earnest on Monday once presents are unwrapped. The corridor between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day is the most lucrative stretch of the year; and this year is especially important if the revenue gap at the domestic box office is to narrow.
Disney and Lucasfilm’s The Last Jedi is pacing to gross $100.7 million from 4,232 theaters for the long weekend (Friday-Monday) after posting three-day weekend earnings of $65.5 million, pushing its domestic total to $397 million by the end of Christmas Day. Through Sunday, the film’s global haul is a mighty $745.5 million after earning another $75.1 million this weekend from 54 foreign markets, helping Disney jump the $6 billion mark at the global box office for the second time and a feat no other studio has accomplished.
Domestically, The Last Jedi is trailing Star Wars: The Force Awakens by nearly $175 million, but the true barometer will be where Last Jedi‘s gross stands at the end of New Year’s weekend.
In a major win for Sony, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is on course to earn $64 million or more in its six-day debut — it opened Wednesday alongside The Greatest Showman — from 3,765 theaters to come in No. 2., including $34 million for the three-day weekend. The reboot, starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas and Bobby Cannavale, opens 22 years after the original Jumanji and launches a new franchise for Sony. The story follows three kids who are transported into the Jumanji video game where they become avatars.
“Every day of the run just gets better and better,” says Sony worldwide president of marketing and distribution Josh Greenstein. “If you are looking for holiday cheer, Jumanji is the movie for you. The body-swapping concept feels so fresh and funny.”
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle skewed male (56 percent), while a hearty 55 percent of the audience was under the age of 25, signaling its playing to families. Internationally, the movie also delighted, launching to $49.5 million from its first 27 markets, including a stellar debut of $10.1 million in the U.S. and $14.8 million across Asia, excluding China, where it has yet to open.
Another Christmas winner is Universal’s Pitch Perfect 3, which is on course for a four-day debut of $27 million after launching on Friday in 3,447 theaters. The film, grossing $20.5 million for the weekend proper and placing No. 3, is succeeding in luring younger females; 69 percent of ticket buyers were female, while 57 were under the age of 25.
Overseas, Pitch Perfect 3 debuted to $9.8 million from its first markets for a global bow of $36.8 million through Monday. Regular franchise stars Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Hana Mae Lee, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Chrissie Fit, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins all return in Pitch Perfect 3.
Placing No. 4 is Fox and Chernin’s The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman as circus impresario P.T. Barnum. The music-infused biographical drama is coming in behind expectations with a six-day debut of $18.1 million from 3,006 locations, including $8.6 million for the three-day weekend.
“We always wanted to open on Christmas Day. That’s when our target audience, older females, will become available,” says Fox domestic distribution president Chris Aronson, noting that Greatest Showman was originally set to unfurl on Dec. 25.
The Greatest Showman and The Last Jedi both sport an A CinemaScore, while Jumanji and Pitch Perfect 3 received an A-. Pitch Perfect 3, Downsizing and Father Figures opened Friday.
Marking filmmaker Alexander Payne’s most ambitious film to date, Downsizing is projected to earn $6.2 million from 2,558 theaters in its four-day debut for a seventh place finish, including $4.6 million for the three-day weekend. The previous regime at Paramount paid $70 million to make the R-rated satire, starring Matt Damon as an ordinary Midwestern man who decides to be shrunk to five inches tall in order to live like a king.
Hong Chau — who has earned a Golden Globe nom for performance — and Kristen Wiig co-star in the film, which was slapped with a problematic C CinemaScore. The movie skewed notably older, with 60 percent of ticket buyers over the age of 30.
“This is an R-rated comedy that opened before Christmas, when a lot of adults weren’t available. Once Xmas day passes, that’s when I hope we start seeing good results,” Kyle Davies, Paramount’s distribution chief says.
Father Figures, from Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. is faring even worse. The male-skewing comedy is looking at a four-day debut of $4.2 million from 3,902 theaters after earning $3.2 million from Friday-Sunday. The film, following two brothers who set out to find their biological father, stars Owen Wilson, Ed Helms, J.K. Simmons, Katt Williams, Terry Bradshaw and Ving Rhames. It earned a B- CinemaScore.
If estimates hold, that would put Father Figures behind two award hopefuls who used the year-end holiday to expand.
Among other award contenders looking for attention, Focus Features’s The Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldham as Winston Churchill, looks to command an impressive $5.9 million between Friday and Christmas Day after expanding into a total of 700 theaters on Friday. That includes $4.1 million for the weekend proper.
Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, from Fox Searchlight and scoring seven top Golden Globe noms, the most of any film, is also expanding nicely. It is projected to gross $4.3 million from 726 cinemas for the four days for a domestic total through Christmas Day of $9.6 million, including $3.1 million for the three days.
A bright spot for Fox is Steven Spielberg’s The Post, which launched Friday in nine theaters. The awards hopeful looks to snag a hefty theater average of $80,000 in its four-day opening. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks star in the Pentagon Papers drama.