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'1917' Battles to $3.25 Million at Thursday Box Office in Expansion to Wide Release

Sam Mendes' war epic opens against new releases "Like a Boss" and "Underwater"

Fresh off a Golden Globe win for Best Picture, Universal and DreamWorks' war epic "1917" earned $3.25 million in box office previews from 2,900 on Thursday as the film expands into wide release on 3,434 North American screens this weekend.

So far the movie has earned an estimated $5.97 million at the box office after opening in limited release on Christmas Day. It opens wide against Warner Bros.' "Just Mercy," which also expanded after a holiday limited opening, as well as 2020 new releases "Like a Boss" from Paramount and "Underwater" from Disney and Fox.

"1917" is projected to earn between $20-25 million at the box office, and it should be enough to topple "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" from the top spot.

Set during the first World War, "1917" stars George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman as two soldiers tasked to deliver a message to a battalion to call off an attack that will lead them, including one of the soldiers brothers, into a trap. The film is executed as though it's done in one, unbroken take, which has earned raves about its technology from critics and audiences thus far. And it won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Drama, and Best Director for Mendes.

Warner Bros.' "Just Mercy" starring Michael B. Jordan as civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson expanded to wide release today, and in preview showings last night it took in $800,000. Another Oscar contender from earlier this year "Harriet" did only $600,000 in Thursday previews and opened to $11.6 million.

The film has strong reviews and in its limited release scored an impressive A+ CinemaScore with audiences. "Just Mercy" is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and also stars Brie Larson and Jamie Foxx, and it's the true story of Stevenson's early work as a civil rights lawyer defending a black man who was wrongly condemned to death row.

"Underwater," the action and horror thriller starring Kristen Stewart and from Disney and 20th Century Fox, earned $500,000 at the box office Thursday. The thriller is projected to earn around $10 million at the box office in this second weekend of January.

Around this same time in 2018, the action film "Den of Thieves" made $950,000 in Thursday previews and opened to $15.2 million. Also in 2018, the female-fronted "Proud Mary" did not have Thursday showings, but made just shy of $10 million in its opening weekend

Stewart stars in the film as part of a crew of researchers in a subterranean laboratory who have to scramble to safety after an earthquake - and possibly some underwater monsters - threaten their lives. William Eubank directed the film that also stars T.J. Miller, Vincent Cassel, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie, Jessica Henwick and Gunner Wright. It currently has a 47% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The other new release is "Like a Boss," the Paramount comedy starring Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne and Salma Hayek. The studio is projecting an opening in the low double digits for the film, and it made $1 million on Thursday night from 2,428 screens. It opens on approximately 3,000 screens this weekend.

Miguel Arteta directed the film from a screenplay by Sam Pitman and Adam Cole-Kelly that finds two best friends running a cosmetics company who go head to head with a titan of the beauty industry who tries to buy them out and put their friendship in jeopardy. "Like a Boss" also stars Billy Porter, Jennifer Coolidge, Ari Graynor, Natasha Rothwell, Jessica St. Clair and Karan Soni. It has a 24% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Finally, "Star Wars" brought in another $2.2 million domestic last night, bringing its overall domestic total to $463.1 million, and its global total still climbing towards $1 billion at $952.1 million.