December 30, 2017

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: Another Winning Holiday For “Last Jedi” & “Jumanji,” But “All The Money” Starts Slow


Most films will rise this weekend compared to last week, simply because New Year’s Eve is a bigger moviegoing occasion than Christmas Eve.  Generally, box office should rise 20% or so on Saturday, drop around 30% on Sunday, then jump 30-40% on New Year’s Day.  The first two weekends of 2018 should feature relatively soft drops for holdovers, in Week 1 because there will be little new competition (just the low-budget Insidious: The Last Key), and in Week 2 because of the Martin Luther King holiday.

An exception to the happy weekend news is STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (Lucasfilm/Disney).  According to preliminary numbers at Deadline, Last Jedi fell 23% from last Friday to $19.1M, which puts it on target for a $54M 3-day weekend, and $74M including Monday.  On Saturday or Sunday, it will pass Beauty & The Beast‘s $504M to become the #1 film in the US released in 2017, and obviously will continue to earn well into 2018.  Comparisons with The Force Awakens are again difficult, because that film’s 3rd Friday was New Year’s Day.  The 23% drop for Last Jedi is similar, though, to the 20% drop on the parallel Friday for Rogue One, and as with Last Jedi, Rogue One dropped that day from the previous Friday even though most of the rest of the Top 10 rose, a function of the gigantic openings these films have.  Last Jedi will probably end up around $650M in the US, which depending on where the numbers settle will make it the #3-5 movie of all time in the US.  (Titanic is at $659M–although that includes roughly $60M from re-releases over the past 20 years–and Jurassic World is at $652.3M.)  At those numbers, it’s crazy to call Last Jedi anything but a mammoth hit.  It’s fair, though, to say that at $650M, its US total will be closer to Rogue One‘s $532.2M than Force Awakens‘ $936.7M, and Last Jedi is probably 10-15% below where Disney would have liked it.  Whether that’s because the novelty of a Star Wars release has worn off after 3 films in 3 years, or because of Last Jedi‘s somewhat polarizing content–or both–isn’t clear at this point.

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (Columbia/Sony) earned $17.4M on Friday, up an impressive 44% from last week.  Its 3-day weekend should be close to $50M, with $66M including Monday, which will bring it to $185M by the end of the holidays, and possibly $225M as a US total, which should certainly spawn a sequel.

PITCH PERFECT 3 (Gold Circle/Perfect World/Universal) was much more front-loaded, down 38% from last Friday to $6.6M for a likely $18M 3-day weekend, $24M with Monday.  It’s headed for $85M in the US, a giant drop from Pitch 2‘s $184.3M, and although Pitch 3 might grind out a profit on its moderate costs, it seems like this really will be 3 chapters and out for the saga.  (Until the probably inevitable reboot.)

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (20th) has unquestionably found its family audience.  Its $5.3M Friday is up a remarkable 71% from last Friday, and it’s heading for a $15M 3-day weekend and $20M including Monday.  The problem is that this will still put the film at only $54M at the end of the holidays, and on track for $80M in the US at best, which still leaves a lot of ground to make up on $225M+ in costs that will have to  come from overseas (where it’s barely opened so far).

The two older family holdovers also thrived on kids out of school, although at very different box office totals.  FERDINAND (Blue Sky/20th) rose 74% from last Friday to $4.7M, for a $13M 3-day weekend and $17M with Monday, but it’s unlikely to get much above $80M in the US.  COCO (Pixar/Disney) climbed 61% from last Friday to $2.9M, with a 3-day/4-day weekend of $8M/$10M, which will push it toward $220M in the US.

All the publicity in the world didn’t do much for ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (Imperative/TriStar/Sony), which opened on Monday and earned $1.8M on Friday, for a $5M/$7M weekend that puts it on track for perhaps $30M in the US, a dismal result on $125M+ in costs.

DOWNSIZING (Annapurna/Paramount) lived up to its title, down 20% from last Friday to $1.6M for a $4.5M/$6M weekend and few prospects beyond $30M in the US.  FATHER FIGURES (Alcon/Warners) fell 20% from last Friday to $1.1M for a $3M/$4M weekend and a likely $25M US total.

A pair of awards contenders in under 1000 theatres continued their runs.  DARKEST HOUR (Focus/Universal) widened its run by 17% to 943 theatres, so its 29% rise from last Friday wasn’t as big as it looked, but a $5M/$7M weekend should still bring it to $20M, with plenty of awards season left.  THE SHAPE OF WATER (Fox Searchlight) just added a handful of theatres for a total of 756, and it should have a $3M/$4M weekend to bring it to $17M.

MOLLY’S GAME (STX) opened on Christmas Day in a not-quite-wide 271 theatres, and it’s heading for a $2M/$3M weekend, or a fair $7500 per-theatre average over 3 days.  That compares to the $10.5K average Lady Bird had at 238.

In more traditional limited release, THE POST (DreamWorks/Reliance/Participant/20th) at 9 theatres, and PHANTOM THREAD (Focus/Universal) at 4 should both average a solid $55-60K over the 3-day weekend.  HOSTILES (Entertainment Services), however, is finding few takers with a $5K per-theatre average at 5 over the 3-day weekend.



About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."