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Weekend Box Office: Last Jedi Dominates

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By Chris Kavan - 12/17/17 at 06:55 PM CT

It was no contest as Star Wars: The Last Jedi opened in first place, missing records only set by The Force Awakens. Ferdinand, the only other new wide release nabbed second place, but it was a disappointment none-the-less. While The Last Jedi has been hailed by many critic as standing near the best Star Wars films, audiences have been a lot more bitter as Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB will attest. I, for one, as a life-long Star Wars fan, had little problem with Last Jedi myself and consider it worthy of the best.


The Force is still strong with Star Wars, as Last Jedi opened with $220 million, becoming the second-highest opening behind only The Force Awakens ($247.9 million). It also sits just behind that film for highest opening day ($45 million Thursday), second largest opening day, second largest single day and second largest Friday - and shares with The Force Awakens the fastest film to reach $100 million. It is only the fourth film to open above $200 million. Looking at those other three films, as well as Rogue One, it is safe to say The Last Jedi will end up over $800 million. Even though audiences awarded the film an "A" Cinemascore (that same as The Force Awakens) there is one worrying number coming up. On both Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB, scores are trending noticeably downward compared to both The Force Awakens and Rogue One. I skimmed several IMDB reviews and most lay the blame on both Disney and Rian Johnson for either a homogenized, boring film or a betrayal of the characters from the original trilogy - that and forced humor and political musings that should have been left out of a Star Wars film. I, myself, don't understand the vitriol. Yes, the film leaves several strands floating, but otherwise I thought the film did justice in all other areas. Just goes to show you can't please everyone but we'll see if this does anything to affect the film in the weeks ahead. Oh, and Last Jedi also brought in $230 million overseas (10th largest all time - and fifth largest global opening with $450 million) and that doesn't include China, where it will open January 5th. It also helped Disney reach $2 billion for the year (along with Warner Bros.) and Disney become the only studio to hit the $2 billion mark for three straight years, and I doubt that's going to slow down any time soon. Haters gonna hate, but Last Jedi is still going to be the top film of 2017 by a wide margin.


No bull, there was actually another movie that dared challenge Last Jedi and it was Ferdinand. Yes, it did open in second, above the holdovers but the $13.32 million was lower than most predictions and was the lowest opening for Blue Sky well behind the $21.3 million of Ice Age: Collision Course from last year. Audiences also awarded this an "A" Cinemascore, and the hope is that the Christmas/New Year's holidays will boost the numbers as children are let out of school. The best comparison is Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, which opened against The Force Awakens and went on to gross over $85 million. For Ferdinand to succeed, it will have to hope that families embrace it instead of Coco or Jedi.


Speaking of Coco, Disney's other film in the top five dropped 45.7% after four weeks and delivered another $10 million weekend. That propelled the film across the $150 million mark to a final total of $150.8 million. That also pushed the film's global total to just under $450 million, with several larger markets, including Australia, Italy and the UK set for the weeks ahead. Coco is still looking at a domestic total well above $200 million mark and should have no problem also bringing in families over the holiday time frame. I don't think Ferdinand will have much of an impact on its bottom line, and may well jump ahead of the bull in the weeks ahead.


With a light 36% drop against The Last Jedi, Wonder had a better weekend than Justice League with a $5.4 million weekend, giving the film a new total of $109.25 million. Lionsgate has one of their best domestic releases on their hands as it will soon pass Now You See Me ($117 million) and Fahrenheit 9/11 ($119 million) to become their best domestic hit outside of Divergent, Hunger Games, Twilight and La La Land. And without the benefit of a built-in YA audience, that's pretty damn impressive. And uplifting films should do well with young and old over the holidays as well.


Certainly the biggest loser among films affected by The Last Jedi, Justice League suffered a mighty 57% hit (second biggest in the top 12) and dropped to fifth place with a $4.17 million weekend. That gives the film $219.4 million - less in over a month than what The Last Jedi opened with in one weekend. The film is still on track for $240 million and it does have a global total of over $634 million but, as previously stated, even those numbers are not good enough for this tentpole picture as DC continues to try to find its footing.

Outside the top five: The Disaster Artist may have added some more theaters, but the audience seems to have had their fill. Dropping the most out of any film in the top 12, James Franco's journey with cult filmmaker Tommy Wiseau took a 58.6% tumble, dropping from 4th to 8th place with $2.63 million and a new $13 million total.

In better news, Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water added 117 theaters and nearly broke in to the top 10 with a $1.73 million weekend (12th place) and a new $3.6 million total. The film looks to expand nationwide next weekend as the buzz surrounding it has been strong indeed.

Speaking of next week, the pre-Christmas weekend is going to be packed to the gills with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Downsizing, The Greatest Showman, Father Figures and Pitch Perfect 3 all joining The Shape of Water in a salvo of new films. We'll see how The Last Jedi fares against such competition.


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