“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is expected to hit $1 billion at the global box office in the coming week, as industry estimates have the film making an estimated $100 million domestic from 4,232 screens on this four-day Christmas weekend. In addition to the global milestone, the film will also reach the $400 million domestic mark on Tuesday.
While “Star Wars” was always easily going to take the No. 1 spot this weekend, the other five major Hollywood studios put out their own wide releases this weekend as counter-programming in the hopes of drawing in moviegoers who already saw Lucasfilm’s space epic last week. Sony and Universal ended up winning that battle, with “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Pitch Perfect 3” posting strong openings.
“Jumanji,” which Columbia Pictures released on Wednesday, is looking at a six-day start of $64 million, with $47 million over the four-day weekend from 3,765 screens. Sony is reporting a budget of $90 million, though analysts and rival distribution heads tell TheWrap the budget is likely around $110-120 million between the film’s visual effects, on-location shooting in Hawaii (which did come with tax credits), and the salaries of its lead stars, Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan.
Still, the action-comedy film has won over both critics and family audiences with an A- on CinemaScore and an 83 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, and the film’s stars have done a good job promoting the film on social media. With this start, “Jumanji” has put itself in good position to bring in solid returns in the coming weeks.
Universal/Gold Circle’s “Pitch Perfect 3” is third, with a four-day opening of $27 million. Though the stiff competition has left this threequel well short of the $69 million opening made by “Pitch Perfect 2” in 2015, it’s still a solid start for the mid-budget, $45 million film, with the series’ hardcore fans giving it an A- on CinemaScore despite a 27 percent RT score.
The success of “Jumanji” and “PP3” is a fitting end to a year where audiences have shown that their taste in comedies has changed. Aside from “Deadpool” last year, raunchy R-Rated comedies have fallen flat at the box office, as seen by Warner Bros./Alcon’s “Father Figures,” which opened this weekend to just $4.2 million and a No. 9 spot on the charts. But comedies that can appeal to a family crowd like “Jumanji” or to women like “PP3” can still perform well. Universal proved the latter this past summer with “Girls Trip,” which made $139 million against a $19 million budget.
In fourth place this weekend is Fox/Chernin Entertainment’s “The Greatest Showman,” which was projected for an opening in the low 20s, but is underperforming with a four-day launch of $16 million against an $84 million budget. The film was nominated for three Golden Globes, but critics have given it a mixed reception with 52 percent RT score. Audiences who did see the film enjoyed it, giving it an A on CinemaScore.
Finishing outside the top five is Paramount’s “Downsizing,” which was projected for a start in the low teens but is looking like it will be a big flop with a $7 million opening against a $68 million budget. The fall of this once-promising awards contender ends what has been a rough 2017 for Paramount, with the highest grossing release for the studio being “Transformers: The Last Knight,” which only made $130 million domestically compared to $245 million for the previous film in the franchise, “Age of Extinction.” Paramount’s 2017 domestic total sits at $511 million, seventh among all studios.
“Downsizing” also ends a tough 2017 for its lead star, Matt Damon. In addition to this film, Damon also starred in another Paramount release, “Suburbicon,” which also flopped with just $5.7 million grossed. He also starred in the Chinese-American co-production “The Great Wall,” which performed well in China and other overseas markets with $289 million but fell flat in America with just $45 million grossed.
Elsewhere in the top ten, Focus Features’ “Darkest Hour” expanded nationwide and is estimated to gross $4.1 million from 806 theaters, while Fox Searchlight’s “The Shape of Water” expanded to 726 million and made an estimated $3.5 million