Helen Mirren in WINCHESTER. Courtesy Lionsgate/CBS Films.

Sony’s unstoppable JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE resumed the #1 spot over the sluggish Super Bowl weekend. Adding another $11 million for a $350 million domestic total ($855 million worldwide with Japan still to go), the movie is now the company’s third highest grossing movie ever. Speaking of word-of-mouth hits, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN continued to ride the tide of good word-of-mouth and nabbed the fourth spot with $7.8 million and $137 million domestic to date.

Last week’s champ, MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE slipped to second spot with $10.2 million. Not many movies with male appeal open on Super Bowl weekend (though there are exceptions, most notably TAKEN) and the horror film WINCHESTER ended up with 58% female viewers. It opened slightly above expectations with $9.3 million, but very poor reviews and a B- Cinemascore indicate that it will be heading to the afterlife shortly. The Christian Bale western HOSTILES declined 45% in weekend #2 with $5.5 million. The action films 12 STRONG and DEN OF THIEVES have bumped heads right from their opening day and continue to have similar results, finishing 6th and 7th, and grossing $4.7 million apiece for domestic cumes of $37.3 and $36.3 million respectively.

Steven Spielberg’s THE POST (#6) added $5.2 million its total, while 13 Oscar nominee THE SHAPE OF WATER did $4.3 million for 9th, and Warner Brothers pick-up PADDINGTON 2 rounded out the Top 10 also with approximately $3 million.

Oscar nominations usually help box office, but audiences are showing little interest in I, TONYA and PHANTOM THREAD. The former wound up 11th with $2.5 million and a 16% decline, despite adding 450 screens. The Daniel Day-Lewis opus dipped to the #17 spot with $2.1 million. A re-expanded THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI finished #11 with $3 million for $41.9 million to date.

JUMANJI’s #1 reign will definitely end after this weekend as the third installment in the FIFTY SHADES series, FIFTY SHADES FREED, bows alongside Clint Eastwood’s THE 15:17 TO PARIS, and the family feature PETER RABBIT. Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER will then take #1 when it hits theatres on the 16th.

Data courtesy of Box Office Mojo.

This week’s featured trailer: WINCHESTER

(L-R) Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Cranks leader Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito), Frypan (Dexter Darden) and Brenda (Rosa Salazar) in MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE. Photo credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

Delayed by a year due to a production injury suffered by star Dylan O’Brien, MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE seems a bit out of date in 2018 as the YA (young adult) dystopian future movie cycle seems to have finally run its course. However, audiences were still interested and the film knocked JUMANI out of the top spot with $23.5 million, a solid start.

After three weeks on top, Sony is no doubt still very happy with how JUMANJI is doing. It’s $16.4 million gross is a drop of only 16%, indicating that positive word of mouth and repeat viewership are still happening.Another movie with tremendous word of mouth is THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (#4) which went from looking certain to be the 2017 Christmas turkey to one of its biggest sleeper hits. $9.5 million in weekend six is more than it grossed in weekend one and only 11% less than the previous frame. The Fox feature has brought in $260 million worldwide.

Although it failed to garner any Oscar nominations, the Christian Bale western HOSTILES still had a decent opening with $10.2 million for third. THE POST declined 25% for the #5 spot with $8.9 million. Both 12 STRONG and DEN OF THIEVES declined only 45% in their second weekend, less than usual for action movies, bringing in $8.6 and $8.4 million for 6th and 7th.

Leading the Oscar nomination race with 13, THE SHAPE OF WATER has garned a lot of publicity and Fox responded by adding it on to another 1001 screens. However, audiences remain only moderately interested in the horror/fantasy, which garnered $5.7 million. That’s $37.7 million since it’s limited launch nine weeks back. PADDINGTON 2 lost over 900 screens, but dropped only 31% for $5.6 million and the 9th spot, while the Bollywood feature PADMAAVAT had a spectacular debut, landing in 10th with $4.3 million on a mere 324 screens.

Data courtesy of Box Office Mojo.

This week’s featured trailer: MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE

Chris Hemsworth in 12 STRONG. Courtesy Warner Brothers.

Two of this weekend’s newcomers performed above expectations, but that was not enough to knock JUMANJI out of the #1 slot for its third straight weekend. It is now Sony’s 5th highest grossing movie ever (the other four all have SPIDER-MAN in the title).

Action movies are a January staple, but ones opening this time of year tend to be dump jobs. Sometimes they can overperform (most notably, TAKEN) and that was the case with both of this weekend’s offerings. 12 STRONG, an Alcon Entertainment production distributed by Warner Brothers, earned the #2 slot with a better than expected $16.5 million. Also earning higher numbers than industry projections was STX Entertainment’s DEN OF THIEVES which nabbed third with $15.3 million. Neither picture performed especially well with critics, though they managed Cinemascore rankings of A and B+ respectively.

Steven Spielberg’s THE POST continues to perform adequately, adding another $12.1 million with a drop of only 37%. THE GREATEST SHOWMAN once again demonstrated legs that no one expected, bringing in $11 million with a drop of only 12%. With a worldwide total to date of $231 million, it may be the most unexpected hit of the Christmas season.

PADDINGTON 2 also had a modest decline of 25%, suggesting that word of mouth might come to the rescue. Still, it’s ten day domestic gross of just $25 million cannot help but be a disappointment for Warner Brothers, which acquired the picture after it was shed by the struggling Weinstein Company.

THE COMMUTER dropped 51% for $6.7 million, followed by STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI and INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY. The frame’s other newcomer, FOREVER MY GIRL, from Lionsgate’s Roadside Attractions sub-label did $4.7 million for 10th spot. That doesn’t sound very good, but the movie is only on 1,115 screens and had a solid $4,218 per screen average. It’s miniscule $3.5 million production tab also helps.

Data courtesy Box Office Mojo.

This week’s featured trailer: 12 STRONG

Liam Neeson is THE COMMUTER. Courtesy Lionsgate.

 

 

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE retained the number slot this weekend. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI may be the leader of the Christmas pack, but Sony’s JUMANJI reboot has been the real surprise, finding favor with both critics and audiences, and likely starting a new franchise for the studio. The picture also just enjoyed a $40 million launch in China.

There were also several newcomers this frame. Coming off a very successful limited release, Steven Spielberg’s THE POST expanded into 2800 theatres and netted a solid $18.6 million. The film’s “A” Cinemascore indicates that THE POST should be able to play right through the Oscar season. After spending the last few years mostly making serious fare, Liam Neeson is back with another actioner. THE COMMUTER had a so-so debut, grossing $13.5 million on 2900 screens.

INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY took the usual horror movie dive, declining 59% for fourth spot, followed by THE GREATEST SHOWMAN and LAST JEDI. Originally to have been released by the Weinstein Company, but dropped in the wake of that company’s woes, PADDINGTON 2 had a disappointing $10.6 million opening for Warner Brothers. However, the film’s “A” Cinemascore suggests that word of mouth could help keep it around longer than those opening numbers suggest.

Not screened for critics, Sony’s PROUD MARY landed in 8th with a reasonably good total of $10 million. PITCH PERFECT 3 and DARKEST HOUR rounded out the list.

The above reflects the regular weekend totals and do not include the extra revenue that studios will garner in America via the Martin Luther King Day holiday.

The coming weeks have quite a few new titles coming your way, which will make it harder for movies with so-so box office to retain screens. Opening next weekend are two actioners, the Chris Hemsworth war feature 12 STRONG and Gerard Butler in DEN OF THIEVES, along with the drama FOREVER MY GIRL.

This week’s trailer is THE COMMUTER:

Lin Shaye in INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY. Courtesy Universal.

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE has not matched the numbers generated by STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, but it has easily proven to be the Christmas season’s second biggest success. This weekend, it once again moved past JEDI in the box office standings, earning the #1 spot with $36 million. That’s a drop of only 28%, indicating that word of mouth is proving to be extremely favorable.

January is a typical month for horror titles, and Universal/Blumhouse’s INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY continues that collaboration’s winning streak. Despite being the fourth entry in that serious, audiences are clearly still interested as the picture generated $29 million, nearly three times its production cost. However, the B- Cinemascore suggests it will still exit multiplexes in about the same time as most horror sequels.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI landed in third with $23.5 million. While the movie has passed the $1 billion mark worldwide, a lackluster $28.7 million debut in China still comes as a disappointment to the Mouse House.

Critics hated it, but audiences are still going to see THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, which sold $13.8 million in tickets for a $75 million domestic total thus far. Two of the season’s underperformers, PITCH PERFECT 3 and FERDINAND, followed in 5th and 6th, while STX’s expansion of MOLLY’S GAME placed 7th with a solid $7 million. Sony’s ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD now officially earns the title of biggest holiday season flop with a 10th place showing and a mere $20 million after two weeks.

Some notable openers next weekend, including the annual Liam Neeson January action pic (THE COMMUTER), PROUD MARY, and PADDINGTON 2 (which changed hands from the beleaguered Weinstein Company to Warner Brothers), plus expansions of Steven Spielberg’s THE POST, I, TONYA, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE PHANTOM THREAD.

Data courtesy Box Office Mojo.

This week’s featured trailer: INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY

Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, and Karen Gillan in JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE. Courtesy Sony.

 

The Christmas holidays proceeded more or less along expectations, though the negative rumblings among STAR WARS fans over THE LAST JEDI took a greater toll than expected. The Disney feature plunged 69% in weekend 2, followed by a more manageable 26% drop in weekend 3. While no one’s idea of a flop, the film has proven more divisive than expected, with fans overall holding the picture in lower regard than critics.

Sony’s JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE more than held its own against the Lucasfilm juggernaut, grossing $169.6 million after only two weeks. Overcoming largely negative reviews, PITCH PERFECT 3 still trails its predecessors, but the movie’s $63.3 million total to date is reasonable, considering its relatively low $45 million cost. Still, unless foreign and ancillaries come through in a big way, it’s tough to image a fourth installment. Also enduring the wrath of critics, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN landed in fourth with $49.1 million to date. This is better than expected, but still a long way from profit.

The three other wide Christmas releases had less success. Finishing off a terrible year for Paramount, DOWNSIZING crashed and burned with $17.2 million after 14 days. That’s only one quarter of its production costs. Sony’s ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD received a great deal of publicity following the last minute decision to remove Kevin Spacey from the picture in favor of quickie reshoots with Christopher Plummer. However, that news was not enough to sell many tickets. The Ridley Scott feature made only $12.7 million in its first week. Landing hardest, however, was Warner’s gross out comedy FATHER FIGURES, with only $12.9 million after two weeks.

On the specialty front, Focus’ DARKEST HOUR continues along with $18 million after six weeks of release. Oscar buzz for star Gary Oldman should keep it in theatres at least until the end of January. Guillermo Del Toro’s THE SHAPE OF WATER is performing similarly, netting $15.7 million after five weeks.

Trailer for JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

Data courtesy Box Office Mojo.

Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill in STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. Courtesy Walt Disney.

The latest entry in the STAR WARS saga is finally here and the fans were certainly ready for it. After an incredible $45 million gross from preview screenings on Thursday, the film went on to pull in $220 million, which places it second to only STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS as the highest opening weekend in history.

Critics and Cinemascore ranked the movie highly, though there is a surprising disparity between critical and moviegoer response on the Rotten Tomatoes site, with 93% of critics liking the picture, but only 56% of audiences agreeing. This is very unusual for a megabuck blockbuster. Subsequent reports suggest that this may be the work of bots and an individual who has an axe to grind with Disney. The picture also rolled out internationally in most major markets (China being the notable exception), adding an additional $230 million to that total.

Believe it or not, there were other movies debuting this weekend, too. Fox’s animated feature FERDINAND presumably served as counter programming for families unable to get into sold out screenings of STAR WARS. The film was not particularly liked by critics, though audiences were more receptive, giving FERDINAND an “A” Cinemascore. We should say, the audiences that turned up liked it because the scheduling was not successful: the movie’s $13.3 million opening is, by far, the lowest for any recent Fox animated movie. Once people have seen THE LAST JEDI, numbers might improve, but it definitely seems like a swing and a miss, and draws into question the logic of opening anything other than art house fare against STAR WARS. The film’s overseas bow was similarly lackluster, though luckily for Fox, it only represented a small portion of screens. The picture will expand into an additional 44 markets next weekend.

Data courtesy of Box Office Mojo.

COCO. Courtesy Wat Disney/Pixar.

 

 

 

Pixar’s COCO retained the #1 spot for the third weekend in a row. Of course, this was not a surprise given that there was only one new wide release and it was not widely publicized. That lack of new competition will change in a big way during the next frame when STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI bows on over 4000 screens and will likely dominate the box office for the next 3-4 weeks.

COCO added $18.6 million to its domestic take, which is now just under $136 million and about $390 million worldwide. JUSTICE LEAGUE was second with $9.5 million. The movie has now passed the $200 million mark at home, plus another $400 million overseas, but remains a disappointment for Warner Brothers. Articles from several different industry sources, including Variety, speculated this week that the studio will announce a major shake-up in their DC films creative team in an attempt to course correct.

Lionsgate’s WONDER continued to be the sleeper success of the fall season, adding $8.5 million for third. A24 successfully expanded THE DISASTER ARTIST to 840 screens and earned $6.4 million. This suggests that the picture may have sufficient legs to play throughout the holidays, though it is not clear yet whether it will expand much wider, given the intense competition for screens in the coming weeks.

Another A24 success, LADY BIRD, continued to score with audiences, grossing $3.5 million for the sixth spot. Neon’s I, TONYA also impressed in limited release, netting $246,000 on only four screens.

The stiff of the weekend was also its only wide opening. JUST GETTING STARTED, from the struggling Broad Green Pictures, grossed a miserable $3.2 million. Audiences gave it a “C” Cinemascore and the critics who bothered to review it were almost uniformly negative, so this one will be a distant memory by the time January rolls around.

Data courtesy of Box Office Mojo.

 

Dave Franco (left) and James Franco in THE DISASTER ARTIST. Courtesy A24.

The majors offered up no new wide releases this weekend, which left plenty of room for the remaining films to draw more patrons. Pixar/Disney’s COCO repeated in the #1 spot, declining only 49% for a second frame take of $26.1 million. Warner’s JUSTICE LEAGUE continued to perform below expectations, dropping 60% for $16.5 million and a domestic take thus far of $197 million. Lionsgate’s WONDER continued to live up to its name, adding $12.5 million to a domestic tally that will cross the $100 million mark later this week. THOR: RAGNAROK continued along in week 5 with $9.7 million and $291.4 million and counting. DADDY’S HOME 2 rounded out the top 5 with $7.5 million and $83 million to date.

Also benefiting from the dearth of new multiplex fare were the specialty titles. LADY BIRD and THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI continued to draw well, the widening release pattern paying off for both titles.

However, the big news came via the incredibly successful bow of THE DISASTER ARTIST. Originally financed by Warner Brothers/New Line, the movie was farmed out to A24 when WB wasn’t sure of how to market it. Well, the studio may well be regretting that decision given the high interest the movie has generated in the weeks prior to its release, and its opening numbers. The picture managed a $1.2 million opener and 12th place finish on only 19 screens nationwide. It will be expanding new weekend and looks like a solid contender in what will be a very busy Christmas.

Also drawing impressively was Fox Searchlight’s THE SHAPE OF WATER, which bowed with $167,000 on only two screens. A bit less impressive was Woody Allen’s WONDER WHEEL, the debut solo release from Amazon Studios, which brought in $141,000 on five screens. The 20th anniversary re-release of TITANIC did moderate business, grossing $415,000 on 87 screens.

Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill in STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. Courtesy Walt Disney.

 

The Christmas movie season is already underway even though it isn’t even December until tomorrow. You may have already seen THOR: RAGNAROK, JUSTICE LEAGUE, or COCO, but they are just the start of a very packed schedule over the coming weeks.

Here is a quick look at just a few of the cinematic treats on the way this holiday season:

Dec. 8: THE SHAPE OF WATER (Fox Searchlight)
Guillermo Del Toro’s latest is a dark fantasy that has received comparisons to his classic PAN’S LABYRINTH, and Oscar talk for star Sally Hawkins.

Dec. 8: I, TONYA (30West)
Margot Robbie IS Tonya Harding in this nasty and funny look at the notorious figure skater’s life.

Dec. 15: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Walt Disney)
Almost certainly the season’s premiere blockbuster. It’s also the longest STAR WARS film to date at 152 minutes.

Dec. 15: FERDINAND (Fox)
COCO is not the only big animated movie this season. John Cena and Kate McKinnon lead the voice cast for this story of a friendly bull who is mistaken for a dangerous beast.

Dec. 22: THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (Fox)
Hugh Jackman leaves superheroes behind and returns to his musical blockbuster roots for this look at the life of circus impresario P.T. Barnum.

Dec. 22: THE POST  (Fox)
Steven Spielberg’s latest is getting raves, and offers a powerhouse cast, including Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.

Dec. 22: JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (Sony)
Dwayne Johnson heads up the cast of this remake of the ’90s Robin Williams fantasy/comedy classic.

Dec. 22: ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (Sony)
This Ridley Scott look at the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III made headlines recently when it was announced that the film would undergo rushed re-shoots with Christopher Plummer replacing disgraced co-star Kevin Spacey. As of this writing, it is still scheduled to open on Dec. 22nd.