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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.
Moviegoing always dips on Christmas Eve, but traffic picks up in earnest later on Monday once presents are unwrapped. The corridor between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day is the most lucrative stretch of the year. This year is especially important if the revenue gap at the domestic box office is to come in only 1 or 2 percent behind 2016’s record $11.4 billion.
Disney and Lucasfilm’s The Last Jedi grossed $100.7 million from 4,232 theaters for the long holiday weekend (Friday to Monday), pushing its domestic total to $397.3 million. 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 — 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. For the three-day weekend proper, the tentpole declined 67 percent, versus a mere 40 percent for Star Wars: The Force Awakens over the Dec. 25-27 weekend in 2016. Comparisons are complicated by Christmas Day falling on a Monday this year. Last year, Rogue One: A Star Wars story dipped 60 percent over the Dec. 23-25 weekend.
In a major win for Sony, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle over-performed in posting an impressive $67 million six-day debut from 3,765 theaters — it opened Wednesday alongside The Greatest Showman — to come in at No. 2. 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,” said 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.
Targeting younger females, Universal’s Pitch Perfect 3 came in behind expectations with a four-day debut of $25.6 million after launching Friday in 3,447 theaters. The film succeeded 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.
Placing No. 4 is Fox’s and Chernin’s The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman as circus impresario P.T. Barnum. The music-infused biographical drama likewise came in behind projections with a six-day debut of $18.6 million from 3,006 locations, including $14 million for the four-day weekend.
“We always wanted to open on Christmas Day. That’s when our target audience, older females, will become available,” said 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 grossed an estimated $7.3 million from 2,558 theaters in its four-day debut for a seventh-place finish, slightly ahead of Sunday estimates and including $4.9 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 her 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, and is coming in as a rare box-office miss for Payne. It is also the latest miss for Damon, following the George Clooney-directed Suburbicon, which earned a dismal $5.8 million earlier in the fall, and The Great Wall.
“Downsizing is is an R-rated comedy that opened before Christmas, when a lot of adults weren’t available. Once Christmas Day passes, that’s when I hope we start seeing good results,” said Kyle Davies, Paramount’s distribution chief.
Father Figures, from Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros., is faring even worse. The male-skewing comedy bombed with a four-day debut of $4.9 million. 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.
Among other award contenders looking for attention, Focus Features’s The Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldham as Winston Churchill, commanded an impressive $5.4 million between Friday and Christmas Day after expanding into a total of 700 theaters Friday. The film beat Father Figures.
Fox Searchlight and Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, which has scored seven top Golden Globe noms, the most of any film, is expanding nicely, grossing $4.3 million million from 726 cinemas for the four days for a domestic total of $8.9 million.
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 $92,222 in its four-day opening. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks star in the Pentagon Papers drama.
Today, three more films enter the fray: Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, which opens nationwide, Aaron Sorkin’s Molly’s Game and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, which both debut in select theaters.
Dec. 25, 7:30 a.m. Updated with revised grosses.