‘The Greatest Showman’ Passes ‘La La Land’ on Box Office Charts

Hugh Jackman musical has gone from Christmas afterthought to making more money than last year’s Oscar-winning hit

Fox’s “The Greatest Showman,” which opened to just $14.4 million over the Christmas weekend, has reached a domestic total of $154.4 million, passing the U.S. run of last year’s hit Oscar-winning musical, “La La Land.”

When “The Greatest Showman” came out over the holidays, it was an afterthought lost in the shadows of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which made $71.5 million en route to a $613 million domestic finish, and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” which was the big surprise of January as it became one of 2017’s top five domestic releases with $379 million. “Greatest Showman,” meanwhile, came out to lukewarm critical reviews — posting 55 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — opening in fourth place on the weekend charts.

But rather than fade off the charts, “Greatest Showman” stayed in the No. 4 spot for the next month and stayed firmly in the top five until this weekend, its ninth in theaters. Ultimately, it will turn a smaller profit than “La La Land,” as that film made $446 million against a relatively thrifty $30 million production budget while “Greatest Showman,” with its CGI circus animals, has an $84 million budget and a $340 million global cume. Still, the fact that it was able to find its way to profitability is a remarkable feat and proof that “La La Land” wasn’t a one-off success for movie musicals in today’s industry.

“This is a testament to word of mouth,” comScore’s Paul Dergarabedian told TheWrap earlier this week. “‘Greatest Showman’ was going up against a lot of competition with ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Jumanji’ and all the Oscar films. But audiences who saw it early really loved the film and told their friends to see it, and the momentum just kept on rolling through the next two months.”

For lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who won the Oscar for Best Original Song for their “La La Land” song “City of Stars,” they could earn back-to-back wins in two weeks with their “Greatest Showman” song “This Is Me,” which won a Golden Globe and is part of an Oscar field that includes the song “Remember Me” from Pixar’s “Coco.”