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Weekend Box Office: Jumanji Holds on to Top Spot as The Post Expands Strong, Commuter Delivers

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By Chris Kavan - 01/14/18 at 08:16 PM CT

Although four new films either opened or expanded over the long MLK weekend, Jumaniji continued to flex its muscles as it easily remained the top film at the box office. Steven Spielberg's true-life drama The Post had an excellent expansion while Liam Neeson continued to show he is a strong action draw with a solid debut for The Commuter. While Jumanji and Commuter brought in families and action fans, that meant that Paddington 2 and Proud Mary were left behind, as both opened below expectations. It was continued good news for The Greatest Showman, which has another excellent hold while Star Wars: The Last Jedi dropped out of the top five, but also become the highest-grossing 2017 worldwide release in the process. All told, 2018 is starting out red hot and shows little signs of slowing down.

1) JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

After topping the weekend in spectacular fashion last week, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle continued its red-hot run with a $27 million weekend (and expected $33 million by Monday), which will push its total above the $290 million mark. That makes it the biggest Christmas release of all time, topping Sing ($270 million) and Meet the Fockers ($279 million). It will also pass Skyfall ($304 million) in short order to become Sony's biggest hit outside the Spider-Man movies. In fact, outside of the Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and James Cameraon blockbusters, it will become the biggest December release of all time as well. The film shows little sign of slowing down, and there isn't much direct competition coming up. Plus, it had a great opening in China ($40 million) pushing its worldwide total to over $670 million. Much like The Force Awakens and Jurassic World it was a perfect mix of nostalgia, fun and great casting. And there's plenty more to come.

2) THE POST

Steven Spielberg's true-life drama that pits journalistic integrity against a bombshell of a politically-divisive story had a major expansion over the weekend and audiences were happy to give it a shot. With $18.6 million ($22 million expected including Monday), The Post topped the wide release opening for Bridge of Spies ($15.2 million) as well as nearing the opening for Lincoln ($20 million). If it performs like Bridge of Spies, it will have no trouble hitting $90 million. However, if it can get some Oscar buzz and hold on to its adult audience (who is usually good about supporting dramas in the long run), $100 million is no problem with a shot at reaching Captain Phillips like numbers ($120 million plus). Considering the film jumped over 995% over its limited release opening, even if it doesn't get as much awards season attention as Lady Bird or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Mo. - it should still wind up doing just fine.

3) THE COMMUTER

The only other new film to break into the top five was Liam Neeson's action-filled The Commuter. The film follows a not-quite-ordinary business man who winds up in the middle of a conspiracy after accepting a dubious (but lucrative) offer from a stranger on a train. The Commuter opened above most expectations with $13.45 million (with an expected $16 million by Monday), which is better than the last team-up between director Jaume Collet-Serra and Neeson, Run All Night ($11 million) as well as A Walk Among the Tombstones ($12 million). Those rather grim action films ended up doubling their respective openings and if The Commuter can do the same, it should wind up firmly in the $30-$35 million range. That is solid for this type of film. The film earned a "B" Cinemascore from an audience that was unsurprisingly older (83% over 25) and, a bit more surprising, leaned just a bit more male (54%).

4) INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY

After an impressive opening weekend, Insidious: The Last Key dipped as expected for a horror film (59%) and brought in $12.13 million (with $14 million expected by Monday). That will give the horror films a total of just over $50 million and it should have no problem passing both Insidious 3 ($52 million) and the original Insidious ($54 million) by next weekend. It's worldwide total is approaching $92 million, which means it could very easily wind up the highest-grossing film in the Insidious franchise (chapter 2 hit $161 million) if it can keep things up for a few more weeks. Even if it doesn't manage to top part 2, I have a feeling we're going to be seeing more Insidious films in the near future.

5) THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

Once again, Hugh Jackman's feel good, musically driven film following the life of P.T. Barnum hit another high note, dipping a mere 14.3% after its fantastic hold last weekend. Earning $11.8 million ($14.5 million by Monday), The Greatest Showman should hit nearly $98 million after the holiday. It will cross $100 million by next weekend, making it the third-highest grossing live-action original musical behind just Enchanted ($127 million) and La La Land ($151 million), and considering the hold its had, it could catch up to second at least. It also officially joined the record books as the leggiest film to open on 3000 or more screens. In fact, among wide releases in general it sits behind only There's Something About Mary and Titanic, and, should it hit $113 million (very likely), it will sit behind just Titanic. Rare company indeed, and this one should leg it through January for sure.

Outside the top five: Family-friendly Paddington 2 couldn't find much love in a crowded field, and had to settle for just $10.62 million ($14 million by Monday) in seventh place. It's 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes didn't result in an audience rush. Still, it has already earned $125 million overseas, so the $30 million acquisition by Warner Bros. (from the beleaguered Weinstein Company), will likely still pay off. If it can leg it to at least $30 million, it will be just fine as a minor money-maker.

Proud Mary couldn't compete with The Commuter in the battle of action films. Despite the presence of Taraji P. Henson, the film could only muster a $10 million, 8th place opening. Both audiences and critics seemed less than impressed, and with no previews or early screenings, this one was pretty much forgotten. The film relied almost entirely on Henson's name and, in that, she managed a decent feat. Even though it's not going to make a lot of bank, it at least proves Henson has enough star power to drive even mediocre action films to decent heights.

In milestone news, Star Wars: The Last Jedi may have fallen outside the top five to sixth place with $11.27 million, but the $595 million domestic total, and additional $19 million overseas, pushed the global total to $1.265 billion, topping Beauty and the Beast for 10th all time, as well as becoming the highest-grossing film of 2017 in the process. It's also going to set a record for biggest drop between a film and its sequel (in the $750 million range worldwide) but seeing as we're dealing with numbers this massive, I don't think it matters in the long run.

In other milestone news, the animated Ferdinand crossed the $75 million domestic mark with $3.4 million (12th place) and new $75.4 million total. And the animated Coco crossed the $600 million worldwide mark as it approaches $200 million domestic with a current $196.4 million total.

Next week brings us a war film in 12 Strong, a crime thriller in Den of Thieves and a weepy romance in Forever My Girl. In other words, the box office isn't likely to be too shaken up.

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