Holiday Box-Office Winners and Losers

12:50 PM 12/31/2017

by Pamela McClintock

As always, an avalanche of films opened over the Christmas corridor.

'Pitch Perfect 3,' 'Downsizing,' 'Father Figures'
'Pitch Perfect 3,' 'Downsizing,' 'Father Figures'
From left to right: Courtesy of Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures

The year-end holidays — the busiest moviegoing corridor of the year, or at least that's the hope — were strong enough this year to help narrow the year-over-year revenue gap in North America, thanks in large part to the combined might of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Others, however, quickly encountered Scrooge.

The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at how the Christmas flurry of commercial, wide releases fared at the box office (this does not include the additional snowstorm of award contenders making a play over the Christmas-New Year's corridor):

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Winner

    Filmmaker Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi powered to $1.04 billion over the holidays, staying atop the worldwide box office since debuting in mid-December. The Disney and Lucasfilm release is easily on its way to becoming the top-grossing release of 2017, eclipsing fellow Disney title Beauty and the Beast ($1.26 billion), but the big question is exactly where it will ultimately land. Most box-office observers believed the tentpole — a sequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens — would top out somewhere in the $1.6 billion range, but it may fall shy of that mark. Part of the reason is competition from Sony's breakout holiday hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which has performed far better than expected. Either way, The Last Jedi will rank as one of the top films of all time both domestically and globally, not accounting for inflation, even if it's trailing The Force Awakens by 27 percent in the U.S., as well as globally. The Force Awakens — boosted by enormous anticipation — grossed $2.07 million at the worldwide box office, including a record $936.6 million in North America. Conversely, The Last Jedi is on the verge of passing up the entire lifetime run of last year's standalone entry, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ($1.06 billion). The final big test for The Last Jedi, costing $225 million-$250 million to produce, is China, where it opens Jan. 5.

  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

    Frank Masi/Sony Pictures Entertainment

    Winner

    It may have taken 27 years, but Sony has successfully rebooted Jumanji, the classic 1995 film that starred the late Robin Williams. In a major win for the studio, sequel Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle came in well ahead of expectations with a projected domestic haul of nearly $187 million through New Year's Day after rumbling into North American theaters on Dec. 20. Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas and Bobby Cannavale make up the cast of the film, about a group of kids who are transported into the Jumanji video game, where they become avatars. No one in Hollywood expected Jumanji to become such a force with Star Wars: The Last Jedi in the marketplace, but it quickly transformed into an all-audience tentpole and family favorite. Globally, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle earned $67 million over New Year's weekend for a foreign tally of $153 million and global haul of $323 million through Sunday. The event film, which cost $90 million to make after tax incentives and rebates, is a huge win for Sony and launches a new franchise for the studio.

  • Pitch Perfect 3

    'Pitch Perfect 3'
    'Pitch Perfect 3'
    Quantrell D. Colbert/Universal Pictures

    Underachiever

    The Barden Bellas appear to be singing out of tune in their latest big-screen outing. Universal's Pitch Perfect 3 is pacing nearly 45 percent behind Pitch Perfect 2 so far, despite the benefit of debuting over the lucrative year-end holiday corridor. Opening on Dec. 22, the threequel is projected to gross an estimated $69 million through New Year's Day in North America, compared to the $125 million earned by Pitch Perfect 2 in its first 12 days in May 2015, including Memorial Day weekend (that's a decline of nearly 45 percent). 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 the female-skewing film, which picks up after the Bellas have graduated from college. Pitch Perfect 3, which cost a reported $45 million to produce, is the latest comedy sequel to disappoint, a point of fact that hardly has studio executives chuckling. Overseas, it has earned $28.6 million so far.

  • The Greatest Showman

    'The Greatest Showman'
    'The Greatest Showman'
    Niko Tavernise/Twentieth Century Fox

    Underachiever

    Fox and Chernin's The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman as circus impresario P.T. Barnum, is a major disappointment so far. It had hoped to amass well north of $100 million in domestic ticket sales by New Year's Day after dancing into theaters on Dec. 20 opposite Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Instead, its domestic tally is a projected $54 million through Monday. Fox and Chernin are hoping that strong exit scores among adult moviegoers, and especially older females, will fuel a long run. (The film was up a notable 73 percent over New Year's weekend in a sign that it could be finding its stride.) Fox had sold Greatest Showman as a family film — it sports a PG rating — but there was simply too much competition from Jumanji and The Last Jedi for that plan to work. The music-infused biographical drama has earned $35.2 million so far internationally. Greatest Showman cost $84 million to produce after tax incentives and rebates.

  • Downsizing

    Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

    Loser

    In a rare miss for acclaimed director Alexander Payne, Downsizing did miniature-like business at the holiday box office, with a projected domestic total of $18.5 million through New Year's Day after rolling out in theaters nationwide on Dec. 22. The movie stars Matt Damon as a Midwestern man who decides to be shrunken down to five inches in order to live like a king. Hong Chau, who has earned a Golden Globe nom for her performance, and Kristen Wiig co-star in the film, which was slapped with a problematic C CinemaScore. Downsizing is Payne's most ambitious movie to date, costing Paramount $68 million to produce. Payne isn't the only who might feel stung — it's the third flop in 2017 for Damon, between the George Clooney-directed Suburbicon, which earned a dismal $5.8 million earlier in the fall, and The Great Wall, which flopped in North America.

  • All the Money in the World

    Courtesy of Sony Pictures

    Loser

    Many thought the that Ridley Scott's bold decision to replace disgraced actor Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer at the 11th hour — requiring last-minute reshoots and a new marketing campaign — would spark interest among moviegoers, but so far, that doesn't appear to be the case. All the Money in the World, opening on Christmas Day, will finish New Year's Day with a tepid domestic total of $14 million-$15 million, including a weekend gross of roughly $7 million. Box-office observers say the movie's subject matter — the harrowing, real-life kidnapping of J. Paul Getty's grandson — may have been a turnoff for the holiday crowd. Sony/TriStar is handling the movie domestically, while STXfilms has international duties. All the Money's early foreign total is $1.7 million from six markets. Its production budget was $40 million before the additional work, which cost north of $10 million. Imperative Entertainment reportedly footed the bill for the reshoots. Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams co-star.

  • Father Figures

    Daniel McFadden/Warner Bros.

    Loser

    Father Figures is the latest R-rated comedy to fall flat. It's also another blow for Alcon Entertainment following disappointing returns for Blade Runner 2049. Opening on Dec. 22, Father Figures stands to earn just shy of $14 million through Christmas Day. Warner Bros. marketed and distributed the $27 million film via its deal with Alcon. The comedy, which follows 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. Critics panned the comedy, while it earned a mediocre B- CinemaScore from moviegoers. Originally, Father Figures was set up at Paramount, but that studio put it into turnaround.

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