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  1. 9 Reasons Why 'Black Panther' Changed Everything at the Box Office

    Everyone knew "Black Panther" would be huge, but record-breaking-like-a-summer-movie huge?

    Just a week or so ago, experts had it beating the February opening-weekend record of $132 million that "Deadpool" set two years ago. But the new Marvel movie's numbers left that R-rated film's record in the dust.

    With an estimated three-day debut of at least $195 million, "Black Panther" is not only the biggest February opening of all time, but the fifth biggest opening weekend of all time. It's the second biggest Marvel opening ever, behind only the $207 million of "The Avengers." (It also beat "Avengers: Age of Ultron's" three and four day record, which is scary-good.)

    Over the four-day President's Weekend holiday, Disney is projecting that "Black Panther" will earn $218 million.

    Even Disney claims to be surprised by how big "Black Panther" is. "The volume of business is bigger than any of us could have imagined," Disney Executive Vice President for Theatrical Distribution Dave Hollis tells Moviefone. "Maybe we shouldn't be surprised by anything anymore," he adds.

    Still, he says, "the fact that this stand-alone character story is rivaling the first 'Avengers' film is a staggering and unbelievably satisfying result."

    There's a lot of credit to go around for the movie's success. Much of what "Black Panther" had going for it is obvious, but some is less so. Here are nine factors that made the Wakanda saga a winner.

    1. It's Marvel
    The Marvel brand is now as reliable to audiences as Disney's other major brands, Pixar and "Star Wars." This is the 18th Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and the 18th to open at No. 1. (And the ninth to open above $100 million.) "Black Panther" also earned the rare A+ CinemaScore, which Marvel got once before with 2012's "The Avengers."

    Of course, the synergy among the far-flung strands of the MCU helps, too. General audiences may not have known who T'Challa was a couple years ago, but introducing him in "Captain America: Civil War" (2016) was effectively the early launch of the marketing campaign for his stand-alone film. (Though Hollis says that the MCU movies started planting Easter eggs about Wakanda even before that, as far back as 2010's "Iron Man 2.") Speaking of that campaign...

    2. Disney's Marketing Muscle
    You can't accuse the studio of skimping on promotion, that's for sure.

    The widely reported figures have Disney spending nearly $200 million to make "Black Panther" and another $150 million marketing it. Those are typical figures for an MCU installment. Even so, the Wakanda tale reportedly has a bigger line of merchandise and toys than other Marvel films, and it's certainly been unavoidable in advertisements and promotional partnerships with various retailers. Then again, Disney also benefitted from a ton of free promotion from entertainment and business journalists who wrote about what a game-changer the film would be.

    3. Timing
    It's hard to overstate how important it was for African-Americans to have the opportunity to see a big-budget studio movie with a predominantly black cast, a black director and screenwriters, and most of all, a black superhero whose noble and inspirational qualities go well beyond his physical powers.

    Not only are African-Americans an audience hungry to see heroic, complex, fully human representations of themselves on screen, but they're also avid moviegoers who tend to make up a disproportionate number of the ticket-buyers at the multiplex. A pre-release poll suggested that three out of every four African-Americans wanted to see "Black Panther." Various tracking services have reported that they made up about 40 percent of the "Black Panther" audience.

    Hollis says Disney now makes a priority of inclusion and representation, not just to be politically correct, but because it makes for better movies and bigger business.

    "Audiences deserve to see themselves on screen, not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it makes for better, richer storytelling," he says. He points to such recent hits as the female-fronted "Star Wars" movies, "Moana," and "Coco" as signs that this strategy is paying off both critically and commercially.

    4. Social Media
    For at least a year, "Black Panther" has been a huge topic on Twitter. Such hashtags as #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe have made "Black Panther" the most tweeted-about film of 2018.

    And according to social media tracker RelishMix, fans tweeting about the film as the leave the theater are nearly three times as active as "Star Wars" fans leaving "The Last Jedi" were. Also, the film is Marvel Studios' best reviewed effort -- at 97 percent "Fresh" on RT.

    There was some organized anti-"Black Panther" trolling online, from bombing the film with negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes in order to depress the movie's audience score, to trying to discourage attendance by posting faked photos of supposed outbreaks of violence at theaters showing the movie. But those efforts appeared to have no effect on turnout. Facebook stepped in to shut down one troll group, and fans are apparently getting more sophisticated at recognizing such campaigns as astroturf.

    5. That Soundtrack Is Great
    Honestly, when was the last time you even cared about a movie's accompanying original soundtrack album? (Well, maybe Marvel's two "Guardians of the Galaxy" films.)

    Kendrick Lamar's "Black Panther" album, announced less than two months ago, has created its own unique advance buzz for the film. It has leveraged the rapper's own fanbase and social media following (as well as those of guest performers The Weeknd and SZA) to help promote "Black Panther."

    6. Critics and Fans Love the Movie
    For all the talk about T'Challa as a role model, especially for kids of color, "Black Panther" played to a heavily adult audience. Disney reports that 73 percent of the audience was adults seeing the movie without kids in tow, and that 61 percent of the audience was over 25. That's not atypical for a Marvel movie, and Hollis says he believes more kids will buy tickets in the days to come, especially with Monday being a school holiday.

    To the extent that the older audience is one that still relies on critics, it certainly helped that reviewers gave the movie an aggregate 97 percent at Rotten Tomatoes. Paying customers liked the movie as much as critics did, judging by the aforementioned A+ CinemaScore.

    7. Women Like the Movie, Too
    CinemaScore also found an even split between men and women among ticket-buyers; Disney tracking found the audience skewed just a little more male, with 55 percent men and 45 percent women. Still, that near-even ratio suggests that "Black Panther" has even more appeal to female audiences than many Marvel movies.

    The reason, naturally, is that T'Challa is surrounded by strong female characters, literally so in the case of The Dora Milaje, a squad of very capable female warriors/bodyguards. In terms of putting both black and female characters at the center of the film, Hollis calls the movie a "twofer" of inclusiveness.

    8. Weak Competition
    Not that anything was going to come close to "Black Panther," but the rest of the multiplex was practically filled with crickets and tumbleweeds.

    "Peter Rabbit" held on to second place in its second weekend, but that meant a take of just an estimated $17.3 million. Animated comedy "Early Man" got great reviews, but it wasn't able to capitalize on the family audience that was "Black Panther's" only real vulnerability. According to estimates, it premiered in seventh place with a weak $3.2 million, about a third of its pre-weekend predicted take.

    No doubt "Early Man" suffered from having too much other competition for the family market, including "Peter Rabbit" and the unstoppable "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" (with an estimated $7.9 million, good for fourth place). And the other new wide release, "Samson," tried to draw the churchgoing crowd, but the Biblical hero didn't even put a dent in the comic-book hero. Opening in tenth place, "Samson" debuted a hair shy of $2 million, also less than half of what was predicted.

    "We picked a date intentionally that was less crowded," Hollis says. Not only was there not much competition this weekend, but "Black Panther" will have the mainstream marketplace to itself for another three weeks, until the release of the next Disney epic from an African-American filmmaker: "A Wrinkle in Time," which is tracking to open above $20 million.

    9. Shattering International Expectations
    Disney's inclusiveness-and-representation strategy seems to be paying off beyond the United States. (As Hollis says, "We make movies for a global audience, from all walks of life.")

    Opening in much of the rest of the world this weekend, "Black Panther" earned an estimated $169 million overseas. The film's $361 million global weekend doesn't even include such major markets as China, Japan, and Russia, where the movie has yet to open.

    It's long been conventional wisdom in Hollywood that movies with black stars don't do well abroad -- at least not enough to please Hollywood accountants, who are used to blockbuster releases earning more than half of their global take outside the U.S. The international successes of such stars as Will Smith, Denzel Washington, and the diverse"Fast & Furious" franchise cast should have put that myth to bed long ago. If not, it should end with the near-even split between "Black Panther's" domestic and international takes.

    As "Black Panther" hurtles toward a potential billion-dollar global take, that old way of thinking is one more glass ceiling that T'Challa will probably shatter.

  2. 'Black Panther' Smashes Records With $218 Million at Holiday Weekend Box Office

    LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Disney-Marvel's "Black Panther" is heading for a super-heroic $218 million debut over the four-day President's Day weekend at 4,020 North American locations, estimates showed Sunday.

    That number means that "Black Panther," starring Chadwick Boseman and directed by Ryan Coogler, has doubled its original tracking in less than a month. The film, which carries an estimated $200 million production cost, had been tracking to bring in between an impressive $100 and $120 million when first estimates emerged on Jan. 25. Since then, "Black Panther" has become a must-see movie for many moviegoers, underlined when Thursday previews brought in $25.2 million, the largest Thursday night preview gross for a February opener and the second-largest preview gross for a Marvel film.

    The film's estimated three-day gross of $192 million is the highest debut ever for a February film and the fifth highest of all time. Combined with an estimated international debut of $169 million from 69 percent of the international market, the estimated global debut stands at $361 million through Sunday.

    "Black Panther" has demolished the record for the largest Presidents Day weekend, blowing past "Deadpool's" 2016 mark of $152 million. Overall North American moviegoing for the four-day period should hit $300 million -- far above the $278 million mark in 2016, according to comScore.

    "This is proof that the big screen experience may arguably be the most powerful platform of change in our society," said Paul Dergarabedian," senior media analyst with comScore. "The emotional, communal, immersive and bigger than life theatrical experience has an impact that virtually no other medium can match."

    Comscore's PostTrak survey of the audience showed outstanding numbers with 77 percent rating "Black Panther" as "excellent" and another 18 percent as "very good."

    Boseman portrays King T'Challa, ruler of Wakanda, a technologically advanced society, who conflicts with Michael B. Jordan's Eric Killmonger, who intends to take over the throne. Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, and Daniel Kaluuya also star. It's received an A+ CinemaScore, the only Marvel film to have done so besides 2012's "The Avengers."

    Sony's second weekend of "Peter Rabbit" should bring in $22.5 million from 3,275 domestic locations for the four-day weekend, yielding an 11-day domestic total of $53 million. The film stars the voice of James Corden as the titular rabbit, along with Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley as Peter's sisters. Domhnall Gleeson stars as the heir to Mr. McGregor's property, with Rose Byrne as the kindly neighbor Bea.

    The second weekend of Universal's "Fifty Shades Freed" follows in third with $18 million from 3,768 locations for the Friday through Monday period. The erotic romance stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele -- now Mrs. Grey. Its Friday through Sunday total ($16 million) marks a 57 percent decline from its opening weekend. The film has earned $161 million worldwide in its first eight days.

    Sony's ninth weekend of its durable action-comedy "Jumanji: Welcome to Jungle" finished fourth with $10 million at 2,800 venues. The 62-day domestic total will hit almost $380 million, just behind 2005's "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" for 32nd spot on the all-time list.

    Clint Eastwood's second weekend of the thriller "The 15:17 to Paris" is set to take fifth, with $9.1 million from 3,042 locations for Warner Bros. The movie, starring the three men who stopped an attempted 2015 terrorist attack on a European train, is projected to have grossed nearly $27 million domestically in 11 days.

    Fox's ninth weekend of "The Greatest Showman" continued to show remarkable traction in sixth with a projected $6.3 million at 1,936 locations, which will lift the 62-day total to $155 million for the Hugh Jackman musical.

    Nick Park's "Early Man" opened softly this weekend in the U.S. in the seventh slot with $4.2 million from 2,494 North American locations. The British film, which is being distributed in the United States via Lionsgate, utilizes the voice talents of Tom Hiddleston, Timothy Spall, Eddie Redmayne, and Maisie Williams.

  3. 'Black Panther' Could Top $165 Million Over President's Day Weekend

    The forecast just keeps getting brighter for upcoming Marvel flick "Black Panther," with new box office tracking suggesting an even bigger opening weekend than expected for the hotly anticipated film.

    Top Hollywood tracking service NRG has released an updated estimate for "Black Panther"'s opening frame, with the movie now expected to pull in north of $165 million throughout the four-day President's Day holiday weekend. That's much higher than NRG's previous estimate, which sat around $120 million -- which is certainly not a number to sneeze at, either.

    But the buzz surrounding "Black Panther" -- not to mention its killer soundtrack -- is absolutely deafening. Fan anticipation is insanely high (as evidenced by those record-breaking advance ticket sales), and reviews from critics have been positively glowing (words like "epic" and "iconic" have been thrown around, and many have said that the film is a game-changer not just for superhero flicks, but movies in general). So it wouldn't be shocking to see even that $165 million number wind up on the low end of receipts when the weekend is over.

    It won't be long before we find out for sure: "Black Panther" opens this Friday, February 16.

    [via: The Hollywood Reporter]

  4. Here's How 'Fifty Shades Freed' Spanked Its Box Office Rivals

    Hey, moviegoers, do you want to see badass women in a realm of opulent wealth? Cartoonish fun suitable for kids? Manly heroism in a geopolitical context? Well, if you wanted those themes, then you had to settle for their treatment in this week's meh new wide releases: "Fifty Shades Freed," "Peter Rabbit," and "The 15:17 to Paris."

    Box office analysts are so ready to see "Black Panther" blow everything out of the water next weekend that they may not give enough credit to this weekend's new releases, all of which did surprisingly very well by February standards. Indeed, if it weren't for the looming Marvel blockbuster, pundits would be crowing about what a great weekend this was, with overall sales up 44 percent from a week ago. You can credit that to three new movies that, together on the marquee, seemed to offer something for everyone.

    Of the new films, "Fifty Shades" seems to have received the least credit from the experts.

    It opened with an estimated $38.8 million, about what was predicted. That's a steep drop from the $85.2 million debut of "Fifty Shades of Grey" three Februaries ago, and a modest dip from the $46.6 million premiere of "Fifty Shades Darker" last February. You could blame waning interest in the franchise -- or you could argue that the first movie's gross was inflated by lookie-loos outside of the best-selling books' voyeuristic fan base, and that only those core fans stuck around for the second and third films.

    It's also the case this year that Valentine's Day falls on a Wednesday, so there wasn't that extra incentive to make a weekend date night out of an evening spent watching "Freed."

    In any case, the "Fifty Shades" trilogy has never gotten much respect from the industry. Mostly because the movies aren't good. Like, at all. But that didn't stop the target demographic from seeing the third and final movie. According to tracking service PostTrak, "Freed" drew a crowd that was 81 percent women. And most of them, some 59 percent, were older women (that, is, older than 25). That's the demographic that Hollywood understands and caters to the least. (To its credit, "Freed" studio Universal seems to appreciate women over 25, enough to generate such hits as "Bridesmaids," "Trainwreck," and "Girls Trip.")
    "Freed" has had the biggest opening weekend of any movie so far this year. It's in the top 20 of all February openings ever and the top 50 of all R-rated debuts in history. The series is popular not just throughout America (even in the supposedly more puritanical middle-American states) but around the globe. Worldwide, the three movies have earned $1.1 billion to date, an especially huge number considering they cost just $150 million total to make.

    Industry folk may scoff at the series for its poor reviews, lack of demographic range, or declining sales, but I bet Universal wishes E.L. James had written a fourth "Fifty Shades" book so that it could keep adding to a billion-dollar franchise that's earned back more than seven times its modest cost.

    If "Freed" cornered the women's market this weekend, then Sony's "Peter Rabbit" did the same for kids, opening slightly above predictions with an estimated $25.0 million.
    Based loosely on the classic Beatrix Potter children's tale, the live-action/animated hybrid had the advantages of brand recognition and star power, in the form of human karaoke machine James Corden as its lead and most tireless promoter. The reviews were just okay (58 percent at RT), but families were apparently ready for something new, even with Sony's own "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" still going strong and with "Paddington 2," "Ferdinand," and "Coco" still in theaters. A saturation marketing campaign, including bunny-themed events at malls and libraries, helped a lot.

    That left the Older Guy market, a niche that Clint Eastwood's "The 15:17 to Paris" seemed designed to fill. It underperformed a little, debuting in third place with an estimated $12.6 million.
    As we noted when "12 Strong" opened three weeks ago, the war-movie subgenre of War-on-Terror tales of real-life heroism has done well, particularly in the winter months. The all-time classic example, of course, is Eastwood's own "American Sniper." No other movie in the subgenre has come anywhere near that movie's $350 million domestic take, but that hasn't stopped Hollywood from trying.

    Indeed, "Paris" studio Warner Bros. tried just last month with "12 Strong," which is still playing in 1,901 theaters and earned $2.7 million this weekend, good for 11th place. You'd think Warners wouldn't want to cannibalize the success of the earlier film, which has earned about $42 million to date, but the temptation to counterprogram something macho against "Fifty Shades Freed" must have been too strong to resist.

    Nonetheless, "Paris" did only a third as well as "Freed." A lot of that may have to do with the quality of the film. Eastwood cast the three real-life American heroes, who thwarted a terrorist attack during a 2015 train ride, as themselves. That novelty factor, however, wasn't enough of a draw to overcome the movie's reviews, which were poor (20 percent "Rotten" at RT).

    Critics felt that the amateur actors were, well, amateurish. And judging by the movie's lackluster B- grade at CinemaScore, audiences didn't warm to "Paris" either, perhaps feeling that the movie had too much backstory and not enough action. Critics usually like Eastwood's movies, and his fan base is an older one that still reads reviews, so they had to notice that critics felt he'd stumbled this time.

    At least Eastwood keeps his budgets low ("Paris" cost a reported $30 million), so there's still a chance the film will make a profit.

    The good news continued further down the chart, as "Jumanji" and "The Greatest Showman" proved they both still have legs as long as "Showman" star Hugh Jackman's. After spending several weeks, off and on, in first place, "Jumanji" may finally be out of the top spot for good. Still, it slipped just ten percent from last week's business, earning an estimated $9.8 million and coming in fourth.

    With $365.7 million earned over eight weeks, it's within $8 million of overtaking "Spider-Man 2" as the second biggest domestic grosser in Sony's history. (The biggest is 2002's "Spider-Man," with $403.7 million, a number that's not out of reach for "Jumanji.")

    "Showman," in fifth this week with an estimated $6.4 million, also held on to most of last weekend's business, with a drop of just 17 percent. It's earned $146.5 million to date, which makes it the sixth biggest musical of all time. Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, who composed the score, are within $5 million of overtaking their hit from last year, "La La Land," to become the fourth most lucrative musical.

    All told, this weekend's movies brought in about $137 million, thanks to a slate of films that seemed to leave no moviegoer ignored.

    Try to remember that next week, even though "Black Panther" is expected to open with a figure greater than this weekend's entire take.

  5. Box Office: 'Fifty Shades Freed' Tops Box Office With $38.8 Million

    LOS ANGELES, Feb 11, (Variety.com) - Universal's opening of "Fifty Shades Freed" is dominating North American moviegoing with a solid $38.8 million opening at 3,678 locations as the business awaits the arrival of "Black Panther."

    Sony's launch of family comedy "Peter Rabbit" wound up with a better-than-expected $25 million at 3,725 sites. Warner Bros.' debut of Clint Eastwood's thriller "15:17 to Paris" arrived above forecasts at $12.6 million, from 3,042 venues.

    A pair of holiday season holdovers in their eighth weekends took fourth and fifth as Sony's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" finished with about $10 million at 3,126 sites and Fox's "The Greatest Showman" grossed $6.4 million at 2,373 screens. "Jumanji" will finish the weekend with about $365 million in 38th place on the all-time domestic grosser list, $3 million behind "Despicable Me 2."

    The finale of the "Fifty Shades" trilogy -- referred to in marketing materials as "the climax" -- is also launching in 57 international markets this weekend with about $100 million, which brings the franchise total to about $1.09 billion.

    The weekend saw a significant increase in moviegoing in the wake of a slow Super Bowl session with $138 million, up 46%, according to comScore. Overall business was off 27 percent from the same weekend a year ago, when "The Lego Batman Movie" led with $53 million.

    Moviegoing will receive another major boost over the Presidents Day weekend with Disney-Marvel's "Black Panther" opening Feb. 16 and forecasted to take in as much as $150 million during the Friday-Monday period.

    "This weekend is merely the calm before the proverbial Marvel-powered storm as 'Black Panther' is poised to leap into theaters with potentially record-breaking results," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.

    "Fifty Shades Freed" sees Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in the conclusion of the events set in motion in 2015's "Fifty Shades of Grey" and 2017's "Fifty Shades Darker." The "Fifty Shades Freed" launch wound up above forecasts -- but was not as strong as its predecessors, "Fifty Shades of Grey," which opened with a sensational $85.2 million in 2015, and "Fifty Shades Darker," which opened with $46.6 million on the same weekend last year.

    "Peter Rabbit," a live-action/CGI animated film from Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation, saw an uptick in Saturday business to finish well above recent projections. James Corden is voicing Peter Rabbit in a contemporary comedy highlighted by his feud with Mr. Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) as they rival for the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover who lives next door, played by Rose Byrne.

    Eastwood's "15:17 to Paris" is based on the book "The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes" by Jeffrey E. Stern, Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos, about the 2015 Thalys train attack. The film stars Stone, Sadler, and Skarlatos as themselves. Judy Greer and Jenna Fischer also star.

  6. Box Office: 'Jumanji' Regains Top Spot for Modest Super Bowl Weekend

    LOS ANGELES, Feb 4, (Variety.com) - Sony's resilient "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" has returned to the top of the North American box office, leading a modest Super Bowl weekend with $11 million at 3,553 sites.

    The session caps a remarkable run for the Dwayne Johnson-Kevin Hart action comedy, which also won the box office on its third, fourth and fifth weekends. "Jumanji" has become the 42nd highest domestic grosser of all time with $352.6 million, less than $500,000 behind Johnson's "Furious 7" for the 41st spot.

    "Jumanji," which declined just 32 percent, is only the 11th title to top $11 million in its seventh weekend. It's the lowest total for a first-place film since the second weekend of "The Hitman's Bodyguard" won the final frame of August.

    Fox's "Maze Runner: The Death Cure," which won the box office last weekend, finished second with $10.2 million from 3,793 locations. The weekend's sole opener, Helen Mirren's horror-thriller "Winchester," launched in third with $9.3 million at 2,480 venues, topping modest expectations which had been in the $6 million to $8 million range.

    Overall domestic business was typically modest for a Super Bowl weekend with $92 million overall, according to comScore, as studios remain reluctant to open major titles during the frenzy surrounding the pro football championship. The lowest recent Super Bowl weekend came in at $86 million in 2014, when the third weekend of "Ride Along" led with $12 million.

    The 2018 box office has remained close to even with last year thanks to "Jumanji," with $1.06 billion through Sunday, down 0.5 percent from last year at the same point.

    "'Jumanji' gets the MVP box office award for Super Bowl weekend with a stunning late run ascension to the number one spot as 'Maze Runner' adds to its total and 'Winchester' enjoys a bit of counter programming success amidst a sea of Oscar contenders over what is a typically slow moviegoing weekend," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.

    "Maze Runner: The Death Cure," the third and final installment of the "Maze Runner" series, stars Dylan O'Brien as a young man trying to survive in a dystopian universe. It declined by 58 percent from its $24 million opening. The film's release was delayed for a year due to injuries that O'Brien sustained on the set in 2016.

    "Winchester" centers on a real-life house in San Jose, Calif. built by Sarah Winchester (Mirren), the heiress to the Winchester firearms fortune, over 38 years beginning in 1886. The mansion, which stands seven stories tall, contains hundreds of rooms and is meant to be an asylum for vengeful ghosts.

    Fox's seventh weekend of "The Greatest Showman" finished fourth with $7.8 million at 2,588 sites, posting the lowest decline among the top 10 films at 18 percent. The Hugh Jackman musical has turned in an impressive $137.5 million in 45 days.

    Entertainment Studios' Western drama "Hostiles," starring Christian Bale, followed in fifth with $5.5 million at 2,934 locations, giving it $21.2 million after two weeks in wide release. Fox's seventh weekend of "The Post" came in sixth with $5.2 million at 2,462 sites for a $67.2 million domestic total.

  7. 'Maze Runner' Won the Box Office, But So What?

    Who says old-fashioned movie genres are dead?

    Some of the biggest headlines this weekend at the box office came from a western and a musical. Yep, you kids may like your futuristic teenage sci-fi dystopia movies, like the latest "Maze Runner" -- and then again, you may not -- but the kind of movies that your grandparents like, such as "Hostiles" and "The Greatest Showman," are giving the box office a run for its money.

    As a result, there were some surprise winners and losers this weekend. Such as:

    Winner: Fox
    The studio claimed the top movie, with "The Maze Runner: The Death Cure" debuting with an estimated $23.5 million. In fact, Fox had three of the top five movies this weekend, including "Showman" (in fourth place, with an estimated $9.5 million) and "The Post" (in fifth with an estimated $8.9 million). Add to that the top two Oscar contenders -- "The Shape of Water" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" -- both released by subsidiary Fox Searchlight, and the company can claim five of this weekend's biggest movies, with a total estimated at $51.2 million among them.

    Anyone still think Disney was unwise to try to buy the studio?

    Loser: Young Adult Fantasy
    Sweet as the "Maze Runner" victory may be, the movie still opened well below the $30-million-plus debuts of the first two installments. You could blame the long delay in the film's release date, which was caused by star Dylan O'Brien's on-set injury.

    But it could also be that the genre that peaked with "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games" is simply played out; witness the way the "Divergent" movies fizzled out, or the industry's failure to launch a similar new franchise since "Maze Runner." The film had a strong social media campaign (including a viral trailer made with LEGOs), and there wasn't much else for young adult viewers this weekend (except the still-strong "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle"). Even so, there still wasn't enough incentive to draw a bigger audience.

    Winner: "Hostiles."
    No one expected much from this western, released by the relatively new Entertainment Studios (it's just their fourth film). It was hoping for a Best Actor Oscar nomination for Christian Bale, but after "Hostiles" was absent from Tuesday's nominations list, pundits predicted an opening as low as $5 million.

    Nonetheless, the movie scored an estimated $10.2 million, good for third place. That speaks to Bale's star power, to the film's appeal among older audiences, and to the fact that the western genre isn't quite dead yet, even though the industry has been saying last rites over it for more than three decades.

    Loser: The Oscar Bounce
    The success of "Hostiles" carries an extra sting, in that, despite the lack of Academy love, it still did better than any of the movies that did get nominated. Traditionally, the nominees, especially for Best Picture, see a solid boost in business the weekend after the nomination announcement. Some did; "Shape of Water," "Three Billboards," and "Lady Bird" all did at least 61 percent better than last weekend. But other movies were still losing viewers, including "The Post," "Phantom Thread," and "Darkest Hour."

    All of these movies have already been playing for at least five weeks, so it's no wonder they're petering out. So far, among the nominees still in current release, "The Post" has been the most successful, with $58.5 million earned to date. The rest have yet to top $46 million, and it's unlikely that any of them will still have enough gas to outrace "The Post" before the Oscars are handed out on March 4.

    By the way, "Get Out," which earned more than $175 million last winter but left theaters long before it picked up a Best Picture nod and three other nominations, returned to 468 theaters this weekend to capitalize on its Oscar success. It needn't have bothered; it added just an estimated $170,000 to its take, or a measly $363 per screen.

    Clearly, everyone who wants to see "Get Out" already has, either at the multiplex or at home. Some movies have an apparent saturation point, and most of this year's Oscar contenders seem to have reached theirs.

    Winner: Long Legs
    After three weeks on top, "Jumanji" was finally pushed down to second place, but weep no tears for The Rock.

    For one thing, it's no small feat for a movie in its sixth week of release to still be bringing in an estimated $16.4 million. For another, it's earned a total of $338.1 million to date, making it the third most successful release in Sony history, behind only the first two Tobey Maguire "Spider-Man" movies. (Watch your back, "Spider-Man 2," "Jumanji" is coming for ya.)

    It shows little sign of slowing down, having lost just 16 percent of last weekend's business. Remember what we just said about saturation points? "Jumanji" still has a long way to go before that happens.

    So does "The Greatest Showman." The family-friendly musical, down just 11 percent from a week ago, has earned $126.5 million in six weeks. This despite a relative lack of hype and just one Oscar nomination (Best Song for "This Is Me"). There's no reason to think it won't cross $150 million, which would put it in the neighborhood of "La La Land" and "Les Miserables" and make it one of the five most lucrative musicals of all time.

    Winner: "Padmaavat."
    The lavish Hindi-language costume epic opened on just 324 screens but earned $4.3 million, good enough to debut in tenth place. Its per-screen average of $13,188 was far and away the biggest of any movie playing this weekend. Which just proves that there are always underserved audiences that can make a surprising splash at the box office if someone actually makes a movie they want to see.

  8. Box Office: 'Maze Runner: The Death Cure' Overtakes 'Jumanji' With $22 Million

    LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Fox's "Maze Runner: The Death Cure" is set to knock "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" out of its first place slot at the box office, with $22 million from 3,787 North American locations.

    The last installment in the "Maze Runner" series, "The Death Cure" stars Dylan O'Brien as a young man fighting for survival in a dystopian world. The film's opening was delayed for a year after O'Brien sustained injuries on the set two years ago. Kaya Scodelario and Thomas Brodie-Sangster also star. Wes Ball has directed all three films.

    Sony's "Jumanji," starring Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson, had maintained the top spot at the box office for the past three weekends after opening in second place behind "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" in December. The sixth weekend of "Jumanji" will likely finish at around $15 million at 3,553 sites, giving it $337 million domestically after 40 days -- topping Sony's "Spider-Man: Homecoming" for 49th place on the all-time list.

    Christian Bale Civil War era saga "Hostiles" is battling it out for third place with the sixth frame of "The Greatest Showman" -- both are set to reel in around $9.5 million from 2,815 and 2,663 locations, respectively. The number represents only a 15% decline for "The Greatest Showman," which has proven a solid draw for Fox and should finish the weekend with roughly $126 million. The weekend marks an expansion for "Hostiles," which opened Dec. 20 at three theaters to $22,849.

    In fifth is Steven Spielberg's "The Post," which stars Meryl Streep as Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham alongside Tom Hanks as the editor of the same paper. The film chronicles the exposure of the Pentagon Papers and the outlet's fight to publish them.

    The Maze Runner franchise has been a reliable performer for Fox since 2014, when it opened the original "Maze Runner" with $32.5 million; the film ended up grossing $102 million in U.S. revenue. The 2015 follow-up, "The Scorch Trials," opened with $30 million and totaled $82 million at the domestic box office.

    Heist thriller "Den of Thieves," starring Gerard Butler, and Afghan war drama "12 Strong," featuring Chris Hemsworth, are both set to take in around $8 million in their second weekends, representing a roughly 45% decline for each.

    Fox Searchlight's "The Shape of Water," which led the Oscar nominations with 13, is adding nearly 1,000 sites this weekend and will play at 1,840. The fantasy drama has grossed $31.5 million in two months.

    Universal's "Get Out" and Warner Bros.' "Dunkirk" are returning to theaters this weekend after receiving best picture noms. "Get Out" grossed $175 million domestically before leaving multiplexes in July and "Dunkirk" took in $188 million between July and November.

  9. 'Black Panther' Could Pounce to $120 Million - or More - on Opening Weekend

    Earlier this month, Marvel's upcoming "Black Panther" flick broke advance ticket sales records, proving that fans are eager to pounce on the flick when it hits theaters in February. And now, early tracking suggests that it will be ready to break some records at the box office, too.

    Several trades are reporting that the flick is currently projected to make at least $100 million on its opening weekend, with some estimates pegging it closer to $120 million. Those numbers are in keeping with the two most recent MCU outings, "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and "Thor: Ragnarok," which pulled in $117 million and $122 million, respectively, when they opening in July and November of 2017.

    "Black Panther" is slated to open over President's Day weekend, and some trackers are saying that the film could break $150 million over that four-day period, vying with fellow President's Day holiday release "Deadpool." That Ryan Reynolds flick made a whopping $152.1 million back in 2016.

    Marvel films are always expected to perform well on opening weekend, but the buzz around "Black Panther" feels different. Based on its ticket presales alone, audiences are clearly excited about this film, leading Collider to speculate that it could easily approach the $150 million mark -- and that could be on the low end of its final opening haul.

    We'll find out soon enough. "Black Panther" hits theaters on February 16.

    [via: Variety, Deadline, Collider]

  10. Here's Why '12 Strong' and 'Den of Thieves' Shattered Box Office Expectations

    "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" is still king of the forest, topping the box office chart for a third straight week. But while all the kids are going to see the video game-inspired adventure, their dads are dominating the rest of the multiplex.

    Testing the impressive staying power of "Jumanji" this weekend were three new wide releases, "12 Strong," "Den of Thieves," and "Forever My Girl." While "Girl" was a Nicholas Sparks-type romance that was not even predicted to crack the top 10 (it's playing on just 1,115 screens), the other two were wider releases that were both aimed at the older, male action audience that made Liam Neeson's "The Commuter" a surprise hit last week.

    With three such movies in the marketplace at once, no one expected much from any of them -- maybe a debut in the low teens for Afghan War combat tale "Strong" and the high single digits for heist film "Thieves." Neither was expected to top Steven Spielberg's prestige drama "The Post," which was supposed to hold on to second place with about $15 million.

    Nonetheless, all three new movies did much better than pundits had predicted. "Strong" took second place, with an estimated $16.5 million, with "Thieves" close behind on sales estimated at $15.3 million. ("The Post" fell to fourth with an estimated $12.2 million.) Even "Girl" outperformed expectations, premiering in tenth place with an estimated $4.7 million.

    What the heck is going on here? Well, these are the colliding trends that seem to be in play.

    1. It's January
    The whole month is widely considered a no-man's land, that uncomfortable period between the big holiday releases and the newly-evolved spring blockbuster season that begins in March. It's a time when box office rules tend to go out the window, a month when late-breaking Oscar hopefuls, horror movies, lower-profile action films, and anything else the studios don't know how to market properly all jockey for position.

    So far, however, there's only been one major horror film this month ("Insidious: The Last Key"), and aside from "The Post" and "Phantom Thread" (which expanded into hundreds of theaters this weekend), most of the awards-seeking movies have long since peaked. (They may see another peak next weekend, after the Oscar nominations are announced.) So that leaves the action thrillers and the miscellaneous movies. If you went to the multiplex this weekend seeing novelty, your choices were pretty much limited to "Forever My Girl" or dad-core action.

    2. Because Dads Love (Bad) Action Movies
    As this column noted when "Commuter" opened last weekend, Liam Neeson's core audience has been primed to expect mid-winter releases for his action movies. You'd think there wouldn't be enough audience to go around for three such films at once; indeed, "Commuter" itself slipped to seventh place this weekend, down 51 percent from its debut, to an estimated $6.7 million.

    Moreover, neither "12 Strong" star Chris Hemsworth or "Den of Thieves" star Gerard Butler are considered big box office draw outside the Marvel movies and, well, whatever Butler does when he's not in Generic Action Movie/Future Occupant of Walmart's $5 DVD Bin, respectively. Oh, and there were pro football conference championships this weekend to keep male viewers at home. And yet, these three movies combined sold an estimated $38.5 million worth of tickets this weekend.

    The success of "Thieves" is especially impressive considering that it's playing on 2,432 screens, compared to 3,002 for "Strong." "Thieves" actually has the higher per-screen average ($6,299, the highest of any wide-release movie this weekend), so if indie distributor STX Entertainment could have booked it on just 188 more screens, it could have beaten "Strong." It also helped that the racially mixed cast of "Thieves" helped STX market it successfully to black and Hispanic audiences.

    Still, it's worth noting that the older, racially diverse action audience is still mostly a guy thing, which may be why hit-woman thriller "Proud Mary" is languishing in 11th place in its second weekend, with just an estimated $3.7 million.

    3. The "American Sniper" Effect
    Films about the War on Terror have been hit or miss over the years, but the ones released in January have tended to do well, or at least okay -- from "13 Hours" and "Zero Dark Thirty," to "Lone Survivor" and especially "American Sniper."

    "12 Strong" resembles those films insofar as it's based on a true story and appeals to its viewers' patriotism. There's no reason why such films shouldn't do well year-round, but as with dad-friendly action movies in general, the audience has been primed to expect such movies at the beginning of the year.

    4. Word-of-mouth
    Audience buzz has been the surprising key ingredient for success this season. It helped both "Strong" and "Thieves" that they earned very good word-of-mouth from paying customers, as measured by their respective A and B+ grades at CinemaScore. After all, both films earned weak reviews from critics, who still have some power to sway older viewers. Word-of-mouth also explains such current hits as "Jumanji" and especially "The Greatest Showman."

    When "Jumanji" opened five weeks ago, it premiered at No. 2 with $36.2 million, and yet it's playing like a movie that debuted in first place with $100 million. It didn't top the chart until its third week of release, yet it has already earned $317.0 million. This weekend, it earned an estimated $20.0 million, down just 28 percent from a week ago. That's all down to ongoing positive recommendations from fans. Same with "Showman," which has also topped $100 million after five weeks of release -- despite a modest $14 million opening and middling reviews.

    While January is typically a time when the Oscar-seeking movies that critics have been talking about for months finally open nationwide, this year's contenders aren't -- as of now -- much of a box office draw, not even for the older audiences they usually attract.

    Such films as "The Post," "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," "The Shape of Water," "Lady Bird," "I, Tonya," and "All the Money in the World" are not having great ticket sales. So far, "The Post" has been the most lucrative of the awards-hopefuls in current release, and it's earned just $45.2 million.

    Maybe all will get the box office bump needed once the Oscar nominations are announced Tuesday.

  11. 'Jumanji' Stays Strong, Topping '12 Strong,' 'Den of Thieves' With $20 Million

    LOS ANGELES, Jan 21, (Variety.com) - Sony's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" has won its third weekend box office title with ease, topping newcomers "12 Strong" and "Den of Thieves," with $20 million at 3,704 North American locations.

    Afghan war drama "12 Strong" took second with $16.5 million at 3,002 sites for Warner Bros. and STXfilms' "Den of Thieves" followed with $15.3 million from 2,432 venues. Fox's "The Post" finished fourth with $12 million at 2,851 venues and its fifth weekend of "The Greatest Showman" remained a solid draw in fifth with $11 million at 2,823 screens.

    "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" has shown remarkable staying power, declining only 28% this weekend and lifting its 33-day North American total to $317 million -- the 61st highest of all time. It's Sony's fifth highest domestic grosser of all time, trailing only the first three Spider-Man titles and last summer's "Spider-Man: Homecoming."

    "Jumanji" is also singular in winning the box office in its third, fourth and fifth weekends after finishing second in its first two weekends to "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." "This is an unprecedented and unusual box office trajectory for a wide release blockbuster," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.

    The action comedy, starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, has also kept overall domestic business healthy with the year-to-date total at $730.1 million through Sunday, up 2.1% from a year ago. The weekend's total hit about $137 million, down 6% from the same frame in 2017 when "Split" opened with $40 million.

    "Another great performance by the seemingly unstoppable 'Jumanji' powers the pre-Oscar nominations weekend while bolstered by a pair of solid debuts from '12 Strong' and 'Den of Thieves,' but this was not enough to beat a tough weekend over weekend comparison to the year ago stellar performance of M. Night Shyamalan's 'Split,'" Dergarabedian said.

    "12 Strong," starring Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon, had been tracking in the $14 million to $17 million range. The movie is based Doug Stanton's 2009 bestseller "Horse Soldiers," which centers on CIA paramilitary operations officers and U.S. Special Forces sent to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks. Prospects for ongoing business are solid, given its A Cinemascore.

    Production companies for "12 Strong" are Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media, and Jerry Bruckheimer Films with Nicolai Fuglsig directing. Bruckheimer began developing the film in 2009 while at Disney.

    The R-rated "Den of Thieves," starring Gerard Butler, O'Shea Jackson Jr., and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, finished well above forecasts, which had been in the $9 million range. The film follows the intersecting lives of an elite unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and a successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank in downtown Los Angeles.

    Christian Gudegast is directing from his original screenplay, based on a story by Gudegast and Paul Scheuring, and is produced by Tucker Tooley and Mark Canton, who spent 15 years developing the film. "Den of Thieves" carries a $30 million budget and generated a B+ Cinemascore.

    "It's incredibly satisfying to have this in theaters and performing so well after all this time," Tooley told Variety. "STXfilms has done a great job activating social media on this."

    "The Post" centers on the 1971 legal battle by the Washington Post and New York Times over the publication of the Pentagon Papers and stars Meryl Streep as WaPo publisher Katharine Graham and Tom Hanks as editor Ben Bradlee. It showed respectable staying power with a 37% decline from its first weekend in wide release and has totaled $45.2 million domestically.

    "The Greatest Showman," starring Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, remained a powerful draw with a remarkable small decline of 12% in its fifth weekend. The domestic total has hit $113.5 million while the international box office is at $118 million.

    Warner Bros.' second weekend of family comedy "Paddington 2" finished sixth with $8.2 million at 3,702 sites, followed by Lionsgate's sophomore session of Liam Neeson's "The Commuter" with $6.7 million at 2,892 venues. Both titles have reached $25 million in 10 days.

    Disney-Lucasfilm's sixth weekend of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" came in eighth with $6.6 million at 2,456 locations for a 38-day total of $604.3 million. It trails "The Avengers" by less than $20 million for the fifth spot on that list.

  12. Box Office: 'Jumanji' Dominates MLK Weekend, 'The Post' Leads Newcomers

    LOS ANGELES, Jan 14 (Variety.com) - Sony's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" is dominating the North American box office to easily win the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend with about $33.4 million at 3,849 sites, estimates showed Sunday.

    Fox's "The Post" is leading the rest of the pack handily and topped forecasts with $22.2 million at 2,819 locations for Friday-Monday after expanding from 36 sites. The opening of Lionsgate's Liam Neeson's thriller "The Commuter" also topped expectations in third place with $16 million at 2,892 venues.

    The fifth weekend of Disney-Lucasfilm's "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" with $14.7 million at 3,090 sites is fourth and Fox's fourth weekend of "The Greatest Showman" with $14.5 million at 2,938 screens takes fifth place at the holiday box office.

    Warner. Bros.' launch of family comedy "Paddington 2" was battling for sixth place with Universal's second weekend of "Insidious: The Last Chapter" with about $14.1 million each. Sony's launch of action-thriller "Proud Mary" came in eighth with $12 million at 2,125 sites followed by Universal's fourth weekend of "Pitch Perfect 3" with $6.7 million at 2,505 sites and Focus Features' eighth weekend of "Darkest Hour" with $5.7 million at 1,693 venues.

    Overall business was solid rather than spectacular with a four-day total in the $190 million range, according to comScore. "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," which will finish the holiday with nearly $290 million in 29 days, now ranks as the eighth highest grosser released in 2017.

    "'Jumanji' has in essence hit the reset button and is now behaving more like a film in its second weekend rather than its fourth," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore. "In the wake of a startling late run ascension to the number one spot, 'Jumanji' continues to energize the early 2018 box office marketplace while this weekend taking on a host of wide release newcomers."

    Disney noted Sunday that "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" had reached a worldwide total of $1.264 billion, topping Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" ($1.263 billion) and Universal's "The Fate of the Furious" ($1.236 billion) to become the top global release of 2017 and the tenth-highest global release of all time.

    "Jumanji," starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, provided the most substantive challenge to "The Last Jedi" after opening Dec. 20. It's the most successful title for Sony since "Spider-Man: Homecoming," which pulled in $337 million domestically during the summer.

    "The Post," starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in a story about the 1971 publication of the Pentagon Papers, attracted an older audience with 66 percent over 35. It received an A Cinemascore with ComScore's PostTrak audience survey showing solid response with 63 percent rating the drama a "definite recommend" -- indicating strong playability in coming weeks, according to Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution.

    "We see a real opportunity for attracting young people who are politically aware due to the timeliness of the subject matter," he added.

    "The Post" took in $4.3 million in two weeks of limited release, so its domestic total has hit $26.7 million. The National Board of Review named "The Post" the best film of 2017 with Hanks and Streep winning the acting awards and the Producers Guild nominated it as one of its top 11 films but it was denied nominations last week from the Directors Guild and Writers Guild. "The Post" has an 88 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

    "The Commuter," starring Neeson as a businessman drawn into a criminal conspiracy on his train ride home. The film finished Friday with around $4.6 million, and has received a B CinemaScore and a 55 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating. The film kicks off a long-term partnership between Lionsgate and StudioCanal that will continue with "Early Man" and "Shaun the Sheep Movie 2."

    "Paddington 2" was coming in slightly under expectations. Warner Bros. acquired the North American rights for the sequel film, starring the popular British children's literary character, from the Weinstein Company in November after the sexual harassment allegations against former head Harvey Weinstein left the production company and distributor a toxic name.

    "Paddington 2," in which Ben Whishaw voices the accident-prone bear, has already earned $125 million internationally and has garnered a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

    "Proud Mary," starring Taraji P. Henson, opened at the lower end of expectations for Sony's Screen Gems. The film, which carries a modest $14 million budget, was marketed toward Henson's fan base. She portrays a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston, whose life is completely turned around when she meets a young boy whose path she crosses when a professional hit goes bad. Critics were unimpressed and gave "Proud Mary" a 23 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

  13. 5 Reasons Why 'The Post' and 'The Commuter' Kicked Ass at the Box Office

    "The Commuter" was supposed to be on a train to nowhere this Martin Luther King Day weekend.

    Weak reviews and a pile-up of competition from two new wide releases ("Proud Mary" and "Paddington 2") and one newly-wide holdover (the now-nationwide "The Post") were supposed to derail the new Liam Neeson thriller, or at least keep it from debuting above $10 million.

    As it turned out, however, "Commuter" saw an unexpected fare bump, to about $13.5 million from Friday to Sunday, good for a third-place opening. "The Post" did even better, expanding from 36 theaters to 2,819 and coming in second with an estimated $18.6 million for the three-day weekend. Meanwhile, "Proud Mary" and "Paddington 2," both expected to premiere in the mid-teens, barely cracked $10 million apiece and debuted in a virtual tie for seventh place.

    What are the lessons of this weekend at the box office, aside from "Never count out Liam Neeson"? Here are five takeaways.

    1. It's a Good to Be an Adult Moviegoer
    The December holidays are over, kids are back in school, and awards-season movies are out in force. So this is the rare time of year that mature adults may feel welcome at the multiplex. They also make up the core of Neeson's audience, which is why he's released so many thrillers in January and February over the last decade, from "Taken" and "The Grey" through "Non-Stop" and "Taken 3."

    You can also credit the older audience for the success of "The Post." It's those viewers who are still big fans of sixtysomethings Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, and who maybe even remember the 1971 Pentagon Papers battle that the movie chronicles. And "Proud Mary," whose poster made it look like an old Pam Grier movie, also seemed to target more mature ticketbuyers, though it also may have proved that even the older audience is still finite. Which reminds us...

    2. "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" Is Still Unstoppable
    It's not nostalgia among older moviegoers for the 1995 Robin Williams adventure that's driving sales for the youth-oriented, video game-themed reboot. Dwayne Johnson's action comedy was the weekend's top film for the second time in a row, declining just 27 percent from last weekend for a three-day take estimated at $27.0 million.

    In its fourth week, it's already earned $283.2 million, making it Sony's sixth biggest domestic hit of all time. By next week, it will have overtaken "Skyfall" to become Sony's top-grossing movie outside of the "Spider-Man" franchise. It's not like there aren't lots of other action alternatives in theaters (including a little movie called "Star Wars: The Last Jedi, currently in sixth place with a weekend take estimated at $11.3 million). But "Jumanji" is the one the kids like.

    3. Is Taraji P. Henson a Movie Star?
    Jury's still out. Last January, she seemed to be, leading the cast of the hit "Hidden Figures." Does the estimated $10.0 million premiere of "Proud Mary" mean that "Figures" was a fluke, or that moviegoers would rather see Henson solving math problems than kicking ass as an action anti-heroine?

    Not necessarily. Sony's Screen Gems division barely marketed the movie and didn't even screen it for critics. That's never a good sign, at least not to critics, whose support is important for movies that cater to older viewers. Especially during a month when those older viewers have plenty of other options at the multiplex. Maybe "Proud Mary" would have done better had it opened at another time, or been more aggressively marketed. Or maybe Henson should just consider herself lucky that TV audiences have embraced her as Cookie on "Empire."

    4. Everyone Loves Paddington (Overseas, That Is)
    Marketing was an issue for the kid-movie sequel, too. 2015's "Paddington" did pretty well in North America, grossing $76.3 million. The lovable bear's sequel has unanimous support from critics, so why did it tank?

    The movie was hastily sold to Warner Bros. -- after original distributor, TWC, suffered their Weinstein scandal. Warners had just two months to come up with a wide-release distribution and marketing plan. Apparently, that wasn't enough time. Besides, "Paddington 2" was trying to compete in a marketplace where "Jumanji," "Star Wars," and "Coco" are still vying for kids' attention and ticket dollars. Perhaps this bear should have hibernated a few months longer.

    5. What Golden Globes Boost Did Winners Receive at the Box Office?
    Seems like the only one riding a victory at last Sunday's awards show to greater glory is Oprah.

    "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" may have been the big trophy winner, but even though it went back into wide release this weekend in its 10th week and grabbed another estimated $2.3 million, it's still way down on the box office chart at No. 16. And that's a healthy increase in business compared to fellow Globe winners "Lady Bird" and "I, Tonya," which saw more modest increases. Or "Darkest Hour," which actually slipped 25 percent from last week. Contrast that with "The Post," which raked it in despite being shut out at the Globes.

    By the way, check out "All the Money in the World," which also earned some Globe nominations but no prizes. The movie has generated a ton of buzz, first for replacing the disgraced Kevin Spacey at the last minute with Christopher Plummer, then for adding $10 million to its $40 million cost for those last-minute reshoots, and finally, for the seemingly gender-based pay gap between star Michelle Williams, who did the reshoots for union scale wages, and supporting actor Mark Wahlberg, who took home $1.5 million for his overtime work.

    Both stars are represented by the same talent agency, WME, and on Saturday, Wahlberg announced he was donating his fee in Williams' name to Time's Up, the newly-created initiative to fight systemic sexism in Hollywood, while WME was donating $500,000 of its own to the activists.

    Despite all those headlines, the movie has made back just $23 million of its $50 million cost after three weeks in release. This weekend, it made just an estimated $1.2 million, down 67 percent from a week ago, for a 19th-place finish and a per-screen average of just $827, meaning just a handful of tickets sold at each screening. With a CinemaScore grade of just a B, it's clear that audiences aren't anywhere near as enthusiastic about the drama as critics, awards voters, or entertainment journalists are.

    It's a good lesson that, for all the current discourse about stopping Hollywood predators, addressing gender inequities in the entertainment industry, and how awards voters should handle the movies and performers who are suddenly problematic in the post-Weinstein moral landscape, it's not clear that rank-and-file moviegoers care about any of it.

    Sometimes they just want to enjoy the adrenaline rush of watching Liam Neeson, Dwayne Johnson, or even Meryl Streep do something heroic.

  14. 5 Reasons Why 'Insidious: The Last Key' and 'Jumanji' Crushed 'Star Wars' at the Weekend Box Office

    January is typically a dead zone at the box office, which is one reason no one expected much from "Insidious: The Last Key."

    After all, it's a poorly-reviewed fourth installment of a horror franchise that seemed to be running out of gas with the third chapter three years ago, which debuted with the franchise's weakest opening ($22.7 million) and limped out of theaters just ten weeks later, the shortest run of any movie in the series -- with the lowest total gross of any "Insidious" movie ($52.2 million). It's no wonder that almost no one thought "Last Key" would open any higher than $22 million, though some pundits predicted a premiere as low as $16 million.

    And yet, Sunday's estimates have it opening in second place, with a robust $29.3 million, averaging a strong $9,392 per screen. That's the second best opening of the series, behind only the $40.3 million debut of "Insidious Chapter 2" four years ago. It was enough to push "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" into third place, after the film spent three weeks atop the chart (it fell to an estimated $23.6 million in its fourth weekend). If not for the still strong "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," which estimates placed at a remarkable $36.0 million in its third weekend, the fourth "Insidious" would have premiered in first place.

    How did "Last Key" scare up so much money and shock the experts? Here are five ways.

    1. January Is a Good Month for Horror
    Studios have known this for some time, getting horror fans to open their wallets in January for such films as "Cloverfield" (opening with $40.0 million in 2008), "The Devil Inside" ($33.7 million in 2012), and "Mama" ($28.4 million in 2013).

    Last year, Hollywood really made January a terrifying month, with "Split" (a $40.0 million debut), "The Bye Bye Man," and the underperforming horror-action thrillers "Underworld: Blood Wars" and "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter." So audiences were primed for a scary movie this month, especially since there won't be another for four more weeks, when we get "Winchester" on February 2.

    2. "The Last Jedi" Just Doesn't Have the Legs of a Typical "Star Wars" Movie
    That seems odd, given that it took just two weeks for "Last Jedi" to become the top-grossing movie of 2017 and three weeks to earn more than "Rogue One" did over its five-month run. Still, two years ago, "The Force Awakens" held on to first place for four weeks, not three.

    Last year, "Rogue One" fell from first after three weeks, but at least it spent its fourth week at No. 2. "Last Jedi" started stronger than "Rogue One," but its fall feels steeper (it's lost 89 percent of its debut business, compared to 86 percent for "Rogue One" at this point in its release). That could be because fan fondness for this chapter hasn't been as strong, with opinions much divided over the sequel's plot and character choices. But it's also because the last two movies didn't face a mainstream competitor that stole much of their thunder...

    3. Audiences Wanted Something New This Weekend
    That would be "Last Key" and "Jumanji," whose take this week is just $169,000 shy of its opening-weekend tally. Nothing else that has opened lately has captured that kind of fervor or enjoyed that kind of holding power.

    So again, escapism-seeking audiences, who had no other new options, were going to turn out in force for "Insidious," regardless of how little critics thought of it. Sure, it drew just a 25 percent Fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and even a lackluster B- grade among paying customers at CinemaScore, but what else was there?

    4. There Are Few Movies Out There That Young Women Want to See
    Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba in MOLLY'S GAMEYeah, there's "Pitch Perfect 3," though that has failed to spark the kind of enthusiasm that the first two movies enjoyed. And there's "The Last Jedi," overflowing with role models.

    Still, nothing caters to younger female audiences like horror. Everything else out there seems aimed either at young men ("Jumanji") or at older viewers -- namely, all those Oscar-hopeful movies. With the Golden Globes kicking off the awards-show season in earnest this weekend, such films as "Molly's Game" and "Darkest Hour" expanded into more than 1,000 theaters each and saw solid box office boosts. ("Molly" earned an estimated $7.0 million this weekend, while "Hour" picked up an estimated $6.4 million.)

    Also seeing boosts were Oscar-seeking movies that are still playing in just a handful of theaters -- "I, Tonya," "The Post," "Hostiles," and "Phantom Thread." These will be movies for box office observers to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. But that also means that younger viewers will have to settle for the likes of "Insidious."

    5. Not Even Snow Storms Could Keep Audiences Away
    The winter storm that buried much of the eastern United States in snow at midweek was expected to keep theaters shuttered and discourage moviegoing. But the cinemas are back open, and cabin-feverish fans are eager to get out and see something, anything.

    If they've already seen "Star Wars" and "Jumanji," at least there's another familiar franchise film, one that offers indoor chills that are worth braving the outdoor chills for.

  15. Box Office: 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' Roars Past 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi,' 'Insidious 4'

    LOS ANGELES, Jan 7 (Variety.com) - Sony's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" handily won the first box office weekend of 2018 over the launch of "Insidious: The Last Key" and "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" with $36 million at 3,801 North American locations.

    The fourth installment of the "Insidious" horror franchise scared up a surprisingly strong $29.3 million at 3,116 sites for Universal. Disney-Lucasfilm's "The Last Jedi" followed in third with a 55% decline to $23.6 million at 4,232 venues for a 24-day total of $572.5 million -- the sixth-largest of all-time.

    Fox's third weekend of "The Greatest Showman" held nicely in fourth, declining only 12% to $13.6 million at 3,342 theaters for a 19-day total of about $77 million. It was followed in fifth by Universal's third session of "Pitch Perfect 3" with $10.2 million at 3,458 sites, lifting its 17-day take to a solid $86 million.

    Fox's fourth weekend of animated comedy "Ferdinand" finished sixth with $7.7 million at 3,156 venues, followed by Jessica Chastain's "Molly's Game" from STXfilms, which brought in $7 million after expanding to 1,608 sites from 271. Chastain received a Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a drama for her work in the film -- whether or not she wins will be determined Sunday. The film also received a Producers Guild Award nomination on Friday for best film, a day after Aaron Sorkin's script received a Writers Guild nom for adapted screenplay.

    The "Jumanji" sequel has taken in $244.4 million in its first 19 days domestically. It's the first weekend box office win for "Jumanji" -- which has gone past "Justice League" as the ninth-largest domestic grosser among 2017 titles. "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" is also topping the $500 million mark worldwide.

    Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan star in "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," a sequel to Robin Williams' original, which was a 1995 hit with $262 million worldwide. "Welcome to the Jungle" follows four high schoolers in detention who wind up as video game characters facing an array of challenges.

    "Insidious: The Last Key" came in far above expectations, which had been in the $16 million to $19 million range. It's the latest horror title from Blumhouse Productions, which delivered low-cost horror hits last year for Universal with "Split," "Get Out," and "Happy Death Day." The franchise dates back to 2010 with "Insidious," followed by "Insidious: Chapter 2" in 2013 and "Insidious: Chapter 3" in 2015 -- which have grossed a collective $357 million worldwide.

    Lin Shaye, who has starred in all three films, returns in "Insidious: The Last Key" as a parapsychologist whose haunted childhood comes to threaten her family and home in a follow-up to the events in "Insidious: Chapter 3." It's produced by "Insidious" regulars Jason Blum, Oren Peli, and co-creator James Wan and by Sony Pictures (through Stage 6 Films) with Blumhouse. Universal is the U.S. theatrical distributor with Sony releasing in the rest of the world.

    Overall domestic business was up 18.1% to $165 million, according to comScore -- a welcome sign after 2017 saw a 2.3% decline in total grosses.

    "2018 is off to a rollicking start with 'Jumanji's' unexpected strength boosting the overall marketplace nearly 20% ahead of the comparable weekend a year ago as the box office new year gives the industry cause to celebrate with an incredibly diverse lineup of titles driving patrons to theaters and a red hot awards season in full swing," noted Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore. "Two years ago was not even as strong with a 'Force Awakens' driven marketplace ringing up sales of $159.1 million for the same weekend in 2016."

  16. 'Beauty and the Beast' Was Top-Grossing Movie of 2017, But Attendance Hit 25-Year Low

    Beauty and The Beast Launch Event - LondonGuess that's the "Beauty" and the "Beast" of 2017 in a nutshell.

    Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" -- starring Emma Watson -- was the highest-grossing movie of 2017 worldwide, followed by "The Fate of the Furious," then "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," which is still picking up major $$$ into 2018.

    But in sad news for movie theaters, domestic box office ticket totals were down again last year, hitting a 25-year low. According to Box Office Mojo's data, via Business Insider, the total number of tickets sold at the domestic box office in 2017 was 1.239 billion, a 5.8 percent drop compared to 2016, and the lowest total since 1992's 1.173 billion.

    Why are fewer people going out to the movies? Content is a big reason -- low quality in theaters and better quality options on TV/streaming.

    "Studios are lagging behind for the very simple reason that they are relying on retreads and reboots, and most of those aren't being well received," Jeff Bock, senior analyst for Exhibitor Relations, told Business Insider. "Audiences are continuing to flock to streaming in droves for challenging content and that doesn't look to change in 2018, or the near future. The studios are up against the wall, and the next few years they'll have to produce a plethora of quality films to win back favor with audiences."

    But if you look at the most popular films in the U.S. and around the world, almost all of them are sequels or reboots. Those are the films people will actually leave the house to see.

    Here's Box Office Mojo's list of the top worldwide grosses of 2017:

    1. Beauty and the Beast: $1,263.5 (worldwide): $504.0 (domestic) + $759.5 (overseas)
    2. The Fate of the Furious: $1,235.8: $225.8 + $1,010.0
    3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi: $1,056.4: $533.1 + $523.3
    4. Despicable Me 3: $1,033.5: $264.6 + $768.9
    5. Spider-Man: Homecoming: $880.2: $334.2 + $546.0
    6. Wolf Warrior 2: $870.3: $2.7 + $867.6
    7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: $863.7: $389.8 + $473.9
    8. Thor: Ragnarok: $848.1: $311.4 + $536.6
    9. Wonder Woman: $821.8: $412.6 + $409.3
    10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: $794.9: $172.6 + $622.3
    11. It: $698.1: $327.5 + $370.6
    12. Justice League: $652.9: $225.9 + $427.0
    13. Logan: $616.8: $226.3 + $390.5
    14. Transformers: The Last Knight: $605.4: $130.2 + $475.3
    15. Kong: Skull Island: $566.7: $168.1 + $398.6

    (Are you thinking, What the heck is "Wolf Warrior 2"? It made $870.3 million worldwide and only $2.7 million domestically, so clearly the North American box office is not the center of the universe!)

    Will 2018 follow this same trend in slightly lowered box office receipts, or will films like "Avengers: Infinity War," "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," "Deadpool 2," the "Fantastic Beasts" sequel, and these other 2018 movies keep fans showing up at the theater?

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  17. Box Office: 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Tops $1 Billion Worldwide

    LOS ANGELES, Dec 31 (Variety.com) - Lucasfilm's "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" has cleared the $1 billion milestone in worldwide grosses in less than three weeks.

    "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" pulled in $120.4 million globally on the New Year's Eve weekend with $52.4 million at 4,232 domestic venues and $68 million internationally during the Friday-Sunday period.

    "The Last Jedi" is now the eighth highest-grossing domestic movie of all time with $517.1 million -- only $15 million behind last year's "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" in the seventh spot. On the worldwide chart, it's now 24th with $1.04 billion, edging Universal-Illumination's "Despicable Me 3." The tentpole's international total, currently at $523.2 million, will see a significant jolt when it opens on Jan. 5 in China, its final market.

    "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" has also topped Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," which grossed $504 million in North America, for the top spot among 2017 releases domestically. It's the fourth 2017 title to go past $1 billion worldwide, along with "Beauty and the Beast" at $1.26 billion, "The Fate of the Furious" at $1.24 billion and "Despicable Me 3" at $1.03 billion.

    "The Last Jedi" is also winning the domestic weekend box office crown for the third time with $52.4 million, edging Sony's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," which took in $50.6 million at 3,765 locations for the Friday-Sunday.

    However, Sony's projection showed the "Jumanji" sequel grossing $16.5 million on New Year's Day on Monday -- well above Disney's forecast of $13.2 million for "The Last Jedi." Should those numbers hold, "Jumanji" would edge "Jedi" over the four-day period with $67 million, winning by $1.4 million.

    "Jumanji" has been "The Last Jedi's" biggest competitor by far since it opened on Dec. 20. The action-comedy should wind up with an 11-day domestic total of $186.3 million by the end of Monday. The action-comedy, starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, has a $90 million budget. It's also performed impressively in international markets with $107 million through Dec. 28.

    "Jedi" and "Jumanji" helped lift the entire domestic box office for 2017 to $11.12 billion, down 2.3% from last year's $11.38 billion and off slightly from 2015's $11.14 billion, according to comScore. The gap for 2017 had been more than 6% at the end of the worst summer in a decade but performances by "It," "Thor: Ragnarok," "Justice League," "Jedi" and "Jumanji" closed most of that margin.

    "With another $11 billion plus year on the books, the industry looks ahead to awards season and a 2018 packed with blockbuster titles and a hope for a year slightly less volatile than 2017," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore. Universal's "Pitch Perfect 3" led the rest of weekend's domestic pack with a projected $22.7 million at 3,468 locations for Friday-Monday, lifting its 11-day total to $69.2 million. The comedy threequel, starring Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson, took in $13.1 million this weekend from 34 international markets for a foreign total of $28.6 million.

    Hugh Jackman's musical drama "The Greatest Showman" is finishing a close fourth with $20.3 million at 3,316 theaters forecasted for the four days. The Fox-Chernin Entertainment title showed the biggest gain in the top 10 movies from the Christmas Eve weekend with an impressive 73% surge. The domestic total should hit $53.8 million through Monday.

    Fox's second weekend of "Ferdinand" -- the only film to open on the same weekend as "The Last Jedi" -- followed in fifth with $15.1 million at 3,337 North American venues, giving the animated comedy $57.3 million in 18 days. Disney-Pixar's seventh weekend of "Coco" finished sixth with a projected $8.8 million at 2,845 sites for a domestic total of $181.1 million and $539 million worldwide.

    Sony's "All the Money in the World" and Focus Features' "Darkest Hour" were in a battle for seventh place at about $7.2 million for the four days. "All the Money" opened on Christmas Day as the final wide release of the year at 2,074 locations after director Ridley Scott excised Kevin Spacey's scenes and reshot them with Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty, following the early November sexual abuse allegations against Spacey. Its eight-day total will be around $14.4 million.

    Awards contender "Darkest Hour," starring Gary Oldman as the 1940 version of Winston Churchill, expanded to 943 venues in its sixth weekend and will have taken in $19.8 million by the end of the weekend. Focus reported strong performance in Washington, D.C./Maryland, Phoenix, Boston, Salt Lake City, and Florida markets.

    "'Darkest Hour' is taking America by storm," said distribution chief Lisa Bunnell. "We're seeing audiences coming out in big numbers. It's a movie they found inspiring over the holiday break and the word of mouth gives us a strong outlook for the upcoming weeks."

    Matt Damon's comedy-drama "Downsizing" finished ninth with a projected $6 million at 2,664 sites for the four days for Paramount. The 11-day total for "Downsizing," which carries a $65 million budget and was directed by Alexander Payne, should come in around $18.5 million.

    Warner Bros.-Alcon Entertainment's second weekend of R-rated comedy "Father Figures" rounded out the top 10 with a projected $5.5 million at 2,902 locations. The 11-day total for the Owen Wilson-Ed Helms vehicle, which has a $25 million price tag, should hit about $14 million.

  18. 'The Last Jedi' Will Hit $1 Billion by 2018 as New 'Star Wars' Films Pass $4 Billion

    'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' - PhotocallHappy new year indeed!

    As of Friday, December 29, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" has made $934,298,228 at the worldwide box office. It will pass the $1 billion milestone over New Year's weekend, ushering in 2018 in lucrative style.

    Also as of today, the modern "Star Wars" films -- "The Force Awakens," "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," and "The Last Jedi" -- have made more than $4.05 billion at the box office. That may sound like an arbitrary marker to celebrate, but Disney paid $4.05 billion for Lucasfilm in 2012; so, since Episode VII came out in 2015, the franchise has already paid for itself. (Granted, that doesn't include production and marketing costs.)

    As Entertainment Weekly reported, Episode VII, "The Force Awakens," earned $2.07 billion worldwide, and "Rogue One" made $1.06 billion, on top of Episode VIII's ongoing take. Next up is "Solo: A Star Wars Story," scheduled to open May 25th, 2018, then "Star Wars: Episode IX" (still waiting for an official title) on December 20th, 2019.

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  19. Ridley Scott: 'Blade Runner 2049' Bombed Because 'It's Slow' & 'Way Too Long'

    Ridley Scott is that guy who'll just tell you when you look fat. At least he'll wait until after you ask him how you look. And then he'll call himself "a bitch" for being so blunt.

    Ridley Scott directed the first "Blade Runner" film, which came out in 1982, loosely based on a novel by Philip K. Dick. Ridley did not direct the 2017 sequel "Blade Runner 2049," although he was heavily involved with the script. Instead, "Arrival" and "Sicario" director Denis Villeneuve took the helm. "Blade Runner 2049" got rave reviews from critics, but underperformed big time at the box office.

    Ridley is now on the promotion circuit for "All the Money in the World," and while getting candid about those reshoots, he got candid about Villeneuve's film.

    At the end of this video, Al Arabiya's William Mullally asks Ridley about "Blade Runner":

    Al Arabiya: "Blade Runner 2049 was a wonderful movie."

    Ridley Scott: "Yes."

    Al Arabiya: "But it didn't perform to expectations."

    Ridley Scott: "No."

    Al Arabiya: "What would you attribute that too, personally?"

    Ridley Scott: "Um, it's slow. It's slow. Long. Too long. I would have taken out half an hour."

    He said something similar -- but with more f-bombs -- to Vulture.

    What did you make of the way Blade Runner 2049 was received?
    [Whispers] I have to be careful what I say. I have to be careful what I say. It was f*cking way too long. F*ck me! And most of that script's mine.

    After going into detail about the script, and his ideas, Ridley eventually stopped himself, saying, "I shouldn't talk. I'm being a bitch." That whole Vulture interview is gold -- including talk about "Star Wars" and the "Bohemian Rhapsody" mess.

    But it's true that Ridley probably shouldn't talk, since there are seven different versions of his "Blade Runner" out there, including a U.S. theatrical cut, an international cut, the director's cut, and a final cut, among others. And "Blade Runner" was hardly a smash at the box office in its initial release either, with it too being called "slow" (even at 117 minutes vs. "2049" at 163 minutes.) The "misunderstood" film earned cult status, and was only accepted as a masterpiece over time.

    Denis Villeneuve talked to Yahoo Entertainment about the reviews vs. box office disparity:

    "I'm still digesting it. It had the best [reviews] of my life. I never had a movie welcomed like that. At the same time, the box office in the United States was a disappointment, that's the truth, because those movies are expensive. It will still make tons of money but not enough. The thing I think is that, it was maybe because people were not familiar enough with the universe. And the fact the movie's long. I don't know, it's still a mystery to me."

    "Blade Runner 2049" just came out on digital this week, with the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD arriving on January 16. And then maybe we'll get half a dozen more versions later.

    [Via: Bleeding Cool]

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  20. Vin Diesel Was the Top-Grossing Star of 2017 (The Rock Was Second: Feud Karma?)

    FILES-ENTERTAINMENT-US-FILM-OFFBEATTake that, "candy asses"!

    "The Fate of the Furious" made headlines for the on-set feud between Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Vin Diesel, and they took the top two spots on Forbes' list of the top-grossing actors of 2017. Both ranked that high thanks to the Fast 7 sequel, but Diesel had the edge because "xXX: The Return of Xander Cage" did a bit better at the global box office than "Baywatch." However, The Rock's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" is still in theaters and that will add to his final tally.

    This list of the highest-grossing stars at the worldwide box office includes both genders, and there are three women in the top 10. Forbes calculated its rankings by adding up "the 2017 global ticket sales of major actors' films as of December 26th, 2017, using data from Box Office Mojo." They didn't count animated movies where only actors' voices were used, and only included actors who were top-billed or had the most screen time. This list should also not be confused with the highest-paid movie actors, although there's definitely some overlap.

    Here's Forbes' top 10 of 2017:

    10. John Boyega, global box office: $815 million
    9. Chris Hemsworth, $845 million
    8. Chris Pratt, $864 million
    7. Tom Holland, $888 million
    6. Daisy Ridley, $1.08 billion
    5. Johnny Depp, $1.1 billion
    4. Emma Watson, $1.3 billion
    3. Gal Gadot, $1.4 billion
    2. Dwayne Johnson, $1.5 billion
    1. Vin Diesel, $1.6 billion

    As you might expect, the top 10 is filled with Star Wars, Disney, Marvel, Harry Potter, and DC superhero stars. Interesting, though, that the top two spots went to the "Fast" franchise.

    Last year, Scarlett Johansson dominated the list with a $1.2 billion box office take from "Captain America: Civil War" and "Hail Caesar!" If they had included voice roles, she would've been much higher, thanks to both "The Jungle Book" and "Sing." This year's tally is higher overall, with four stars' projects earning more than Johansson's films. We'll have to see how the 2018 list ends up; here's guessing Chris Pratt takes No. 1, between "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom."

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  21. Box Office: 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' soars to $745 million worldwide

    Lucasfilm's "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" is showing plenty of force at multiplexes worldwide with $745.4 million globally as of Sunday.

    The North American take has hit $365 million in its first 10 days as of Sunday with the studio projecting another $32 million on Christmas Day on Monday - making it the third highest domestic release in 2017 following "Beauty and the Beast" with $504 million and "Wonder Woman" at $412 million.

    "Stars Wars: The Last Jedi" has totaled $380.3 million in international box office. It is already the top grossing film of 2017 in both Denmark and Sweden and the fourth highest grosser in the overall European market. The U.K. is the top market with $67.4 million, followed by Germany with $40 million, France with $29.3 million and Australia with $26.9 million.

    "The Last Jedi," which picks up following the events of 2015's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," is so far the 87th highest worldwide grosser of all time, trailing 2016's "Suicide Squad" by $1.4 million. Rian Johnson directed with Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o and Domhnall Gleeson reprising their roles. It's the final screen role for Fisher, who died a year ago.

    Sony's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" and Universal's "Pitch Perfect 3" have also opened solidly while Fox's "The Greatest Showman" is drawing respectably at the domestic box office. But moviegoers are showing little interest in Paramount's "Downsizing" and Warner Bros.-Alcon's "Father Figures."

    "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" opened with the second-largest North American launch ever in its first weekend with $220 million. It faced competition for the first time on Dec. 20, with Sony's action comedy "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," which is leading the rest of the pack with $34 million at 3,765 sites for Friday-Sunday and a six-day total of around $64 million.

    Josh Greenstein, Sony's president of worldwide marketing and distribution, pointed to the A- Cinemascore as an indication that "Jumanji" is attracting all demographics. "We have incredible momentum as we go into the biggest moviegoing week of the year," he added.

  22. 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Has Already Earned $500 Million Worldwide

    Star Wars: The Last JediRey (Daisy Ridley)Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd. © 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.It's clear that the Force is strong with "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," which came in second only to 2015's "The Force Awakens" for the biggest opening ever this past weekend. And that popularity has already pushed the flick toward a huge box office milestone.

    After the final receipts are counted on Tuesday, "The Last Jedi" will have raked in more than $500 million worldwide, a jaw-dropping sum that most movies only dream about achieving throughout their theatrical runs. But while the majority of films take weeks, or sometimes months, to come even within spitting distance of such a haul, "Jedi" has done it in a matter of days.

    Though The Hollywood Reporter notes that the film does not currently appear to be on pace to match the total sum of "The Force Awakens" (a worldwide total of more than $2 billion), it should have some serious legs throughout the holiday season. And the film should also see a significant uptick in receipts when it bows in the huge market of China, an event slated for January 5.

    Based on all of the buzz the film has generated -- both positive and negative -- we have a feeling that it will easily continue raking in the dough for the foreseeable future.

    [via: The Hollywood Reporter]

  23. Box Office: 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Rockets to $215 Million Opening Weekend

    LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Disney-Lucasfilm's "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" is set to take over the box office in its opening weekend, raking in around $215 million from 4,232 North American sites.

    Including $45 million from Thursday previews -- the second-largest Thursday night preview total ever, below "Star Wars: The Force Awakens'" 2015 total of $57 million -- the tentpole film brought in $104 million from Friday, and is looking to add over $100 million between Saturday and Sunday.

    The total gross will make "The Last Jedi" the fourth film in domestic box office history to make over $200 million in its first weekend, joining "The Force Awakens" with $248.8 million, "Jurassic World" with $208.8 million, and 2012's "The Avengers" with $207.4 million. "The Last Jedi" will finish significantly above Star Wars spinoff "Rogue One," which opened with $155.1 million on the same weekend a year ago.

    "The Last Jedi" has tracked consistently at $200 million for its opening weekend since first estimates in late November. "The Force Awakens" finished its domestic run with $936.7 million and $2.07 billion worldwide, while "Rogue One" took in $532.2 million domestically and $1.03 billion worldwide.

    Directed by Rian Johnson, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" picks up where "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" left off. It stars returning cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Andy Serkis. New stars include Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, and Benicio del Toro. The film has an A CinemaScore and a 93% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

    The only other wide release during the "Star Wars" blitz is Fox's animated family comedy "Ferdinand" -- opening at 3,621 locations in North America with an expected $12 million debut. The movie is based on the children's book "The Story of Ferdinand" and directed by Carlos Saldanha, with John Cena voicing the Spanish bull who doesn't want to fight.

    Both films open in the wake of Disney's $52.4 million acquisition of many of 21st Century Fox's major assets, including its pictures department.

    Disney-Pixar's "Coco" should top the rest of the pack this weekend with about $9 million in its fourth frame, enough to bring the animated musical to almost $150 million.

  24. 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Won the Box Office, But Who Are the Losers Here?

    You'd have to have been living on Jakku or some other remote planet not to have predicted that this week's box office winner would be the premiering "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."

    The only real suspense was: How big would it open? Early tracking had it at about $200 million, though anticipation built towards predictions of $220 million. And according to Disney estimates, that's exactly where it debuted, at $220.0 million. That gives "Last Jedi" the second biggest opening weekend of all time, behind only the $248 million earned by "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" two years ago.

    Predictable as "Last Jedi"'s box office victory may have been, there was still plenty of drama and plot twists on the weekend chart. Here's who came out ahead and who was left behind in the red dust of rebel base planet Crait.

    Winner: Disney

    Duh, right? Well, there's something to be said for doing everything correctly, capping off a 2017 slate that, with the release of "Last Jedi," pushed the studio across the $2 billion mark in annual ticket sales for the third straight year. Chalk it up not just to unleashing the usual relentless and ubiquitous marketing campaign (was there a retail establishment anywhere in the galaxy that wasn't hawking "Last Jedi" merchandise?), but also to making a movie that delivered what it promised to both fans and critics.

    The key, Disney Executive Vice President for Theatrical Distribution Dave Hollis told Moviefone, is offering a sequel that's both familiar and surprising. "Last Jedi," he said, "delivered an experience that is totally 'Star Wars' and at the same time unexpected, fresh, and new." The familiarity brings in fans and general viewers, while the movie's genuinely surprising twists generate follow-up sales. Of the movie's tendency to astonish, Hollis sais, "We hope it'll turn into a ton of repeat business."

    Winner: Social media

    To that end, online chatter is more important than ever, Hollis says. When it comes to fans discussing the movie's plot twists and reveals, Hollis says, "Last Jedi" is "amplified in that [social media] space in a way we've never seen before." It's also why business actually grew from $60 million on Friday to $64 million on Saturday, a pattern that doesn't usually happen. "The weekend grew in part because of social media," Hollis said. As successful as pre-sales were, there were still plenty of last-minute sales at theater box office windows on Saturday because social media chatter from Friday viewers "drew more walk-up business" the next day, Hollis said.

    Loser: Sequel fatigue

    That's been the excuse all year for the failure of various high-profile franchise films. But audiences clearly aren't tired of "Star Wars," as is apparent from the fact that "Last Jedi" opened just 11 percent off from the record-setting debut of "Force Awakens" two Decembers ago and well ahead of the $156 million debut of spin-off "Rogue One" last December. No wonder Hollis isn't worried about the release of the second spin-off "Solo: A Star Wars Story" just five months from now. Disney's own Marvel Cinematic Universe series has proved that the market can absorb more than one installment per year of these mega-franchise movies. As he puts it, "'Star Wars' is everywhere. It's such a deep part of the culture. The appetite exists, and there's no worry about proximity."

    Winner: 20th Century Fox

    Or should we say Disney (again), which formally announced last week its intent to buy Fox? The studio that distributed all six of the pre-Disney "Star Wars" films countered "Last Jedi" this weekend with the cartoon "Ferdinand," aiming for an audience of very young children who are too young for "Star Wars." It's a strategy that's worked for Fox in the past with the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" movies, and it worked as expected this weekend, with "Ferdinand" debuting with a solid $13.3 million, according to estimates. Will Disney continue to program against itself and play both sides of the fence if the Fox merger goes through? "It's too soon to tell," Hollis said.

    Loser: Every other studio

    Nobody else dared debut a new film in wide release this weekend, and who could blame them? Most holdover films saw steep declines this weekend; hopes that "Last Jedi" would draw people to the multiplex who would then go see other films if they couldn't get "Star Wars" tickets proved unfounded.

    You do have to give Warner Bros. credit for nearly tying Disney in market share for the year. Between the two of them, these studios raked in 40 percent of all ticket proceeds this year, thanks both to Warners franchise hits like "Wonder Woman" and one-off successes like "Dunkirk." Even so, other Warners movies that should have fared better have not. It's got to sting that "Justice League," the studio's big tentpole movie for the year, has earned less in five weeks than "Last Jedi" has grabbed in three days.

    Winner: A few Oscar hopefuls

    "The Shape Of Water," which topped the Golden Globe nominations last week with seven mentions, enjoyed a modest expansion this weekend, from 41 theaters to 158, and was rewarded with an estimated take of $1.7 million, or $11,000 per screen. That's a hefty average, but it's on a par with the per-theater takes this weekend of "Darkest Hour" ($10,119 per screen), "Call Me By Your Name" ($16,398 average), and "I, Tonya" ($35,238 per venue). Aside from "Last Jedi" ($51,996 per screen), no movie did a better job than these of filling theaters. True, none of them, except "Shape of Water," is currently playing on more than 100 screens, but these averages bode well for when these films expand into nationwide release in the coming weeks.

    Loser: The rest of the awards-seekers

    The season's other critical favorites, including "The Disaster Artist," "Lady Bird," "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," and "The Florida Project," all seem to have peaked and saw drastic declines this weekend, even before most of them had had a chance to be seen by nationwide audiences. Most saw drops of about 40 percent this weekend, but "Disaster Artist," which added 170 theaters to last week's tally of 840, dropped a heavy 59 percent. The three-week old comedy still made an estimated $2.6 million, good for eighth place and a total to date of $12.9 million. But a movie that makes fun of another movie ("The Room") for being a cult failure apparently has a natural ceiling, and "Disaster Artist" seems to have hit that ceiling.

    Winner: Premium formats

    Some 30 percent of "Last Jedi" sales came from theaters that made viewers cough up extra to rent 3D glasses. That's a fairly high number, but it reflects Disney's success in convincing viewers that "Last Jedi" was the kind of movie that needed to be seen in a theater, in the most immersive experience possible. Indeed, the movie did well from all premium formats, generating 11 percent of its sales from giant IMAX screens and another 14 percent from other premium large format screens. So, not only did a near-record number of moviegoers decide that they needed to see "Last Jedi" on a larger screen than they had in their living rooms, but one in four of those viewers decided they needed to see it on an even bigger screen than the standard wall at the multiplex.

    Loser: 2017

    For all of "Last Jedi's" success, including making this the biggest box office weekend of the year, it wasn't enough to counter the months-long slump that plagued the multiplex throughout the summer and fall. The total box office remains 3 percent behind this time last year, and it's not likely that the year's receipts will catch up to 2016's in the two weeks of 2017 that remain. Rey may be able to use the Force to lift giant boulders, but not even she has the strength to lift enough couch potatoes off their sofas to make up for all the doldrums of 2017.

  25. Until 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Opens, 'The Disaster Artist' is a Box Office Success Story

    Here's what box office experts are talking about this weekend: How big will "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" be? Will it top $200 million when it opens next weekend? How much will other movies playing next door at the multiplex benefit from Jedi'''s drawing power? Will 'Jedi' be enough to turn around a dismal 2017 and help it catch up with or surpass last year's total box office?

    Here's what they're not talking about: this weekend's new movies.

    In part, that's because there was only one new wide release, old timer action comedy "Just Getting Started." The Morgan Freeman-Tommy Lee Jones-Rene Russo movie barely got started with critics or audiences, earning an abysmal 9 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes and debuting in tenth place with just $3.2 million.

    Mostly, however, it's because 'Jedi' looms so large. Since the Thanksgiving release of Pixar's "Coco" -- still topping the chart in its third weekend, with an estimated $18.3 million, and a total of $135.5 million to date -- the studios have held off on their big year-end movies, hoping to ride the Skywalker family's coattails to success. Audiences seem to be waiting as well, holding onto their most of their cash until 'Jedi' opens and spending just an estimated $81.4 million at the multiplex this weekend, marking the fourth lowest-grossing weekend of 2017 so far.

    Still, there was plenty going on at the box office among Oscar-hopeful films, taking advantage of the vacuum and drawing grown-up audiences to promising limited-release movies. Most notable was actor-director James Franco's "The Disaster Artist," which is playing on fewer than 900 screens but still cracked the top five at the box office this weekend. After debuting on 19 screens a week ago, Franco's acclaimed comedy about cult-fave filmmaker Tommy Wiseau expanded to 840 theaters on Friday and earned an estimated $6.4 million and fourth place on the chart. At $7,661 per venue, "Disaster" claimed the highest per-screen average of any movie in wide or almost-wide release this weekend.

    Also cleaning up in limited release were several other awards-seeking films. "I, Tonya," which is earning raves for Margot Robbie as disgraced Olympic skater Tonya Harding, opened on just four screens but averaged $61,401 on each of them. "Lady Bird," which has a perfect 100 percent score at Rotten Tomatoes, expanded to 1,557 screens this weekend (up from 1,194 last week) and grossed another estimated $3.5 million, good for ninth place. Frances McDormand's "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" enjoyed a similar expansion, up 190 venues to 1,620, and was rewarded with an estimated $2.9 million and the No. 11 slot on the chart. Guillermo del Toro's "The Shape of Water," which premiered on two screens last week, expanded to 41 and earned an estimated $1.1 million, for a terrific $26,829 per-screen average.

    "Darkest Hour," which is generating awards buzz for Gary Oldman's portrayal of Winston Churchill, jumped from four screens to 53 and earned an estimated $777,000, or a strong $14,660 per screen. "Call Me By Your Name," with its romance between Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, is still playing in just nine theaters, but it averaged an impressive $32,345 at each of them, according to estimates. And Woody Allen's period drama "Wonder Wheel" expanded in its second week from five screens to 47, but that move yielded only an estimated $156,000, for a paltry per-screen average of $3,315.

    All these movies are poised to expand nationwide over the next several weeks. Awards buzz, which starts with Monday's Golden Globe nominations, is likely to make most of these modestly-budgeted films profitable by the time the Oscars are handed out three months from now.

    A special shout-out should go to A24, the relatively young independent distributor behind several current awards candidates, including "Disaster Artist," "Lady Bird," and "The Florida Project" (as well as potential dark horse "The Killing of a Sacred Deer"). A24 shocked the world last year by winning a Best Picture Oscar for "Moonlight." At $27.9 million, "Moonlight" remains the biggest domestic hit in A24's five-year history, but "Disaster Artist" (at $8.0 million to date) and "Lady Bird" ($22.3 million so far) are on track to surpass it. You have to give A24 credit for clever marketing, including getting the stars of both movies ("Lady Bird"'s Saorsie Ronan and "Disaster"'s Franco) booked as "Saturday Night Live" hosts on consecutive weeks, and especially for drumming up viral interest in "Disaster," a movie about the making of a film (Wiseau's "The Room") that barely played in theaters in 2003 but whose Ed Wood-like levels of entertaining ineptitude earned Wiseau a fervent cult of puzzled-but-amazed fans.

    Of course, all these movies will get upstaged during the final weeks of 2017 once 'Jedi' opens on December 15 and likely earns more in its first three days than all the movies currently playing have earned over the past two weekends. If 'Jedi' opens anywhere near the $248 million that "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" scored in its record-setting debut two years ago, then it will likely become the top-earning release of the year and go a long way toward helping a stumbling 2017 catch up with 2016's total earnings. Currently, 2017 is about 4 percent, or $420 million, behind the grosses earned at this point in 2016. "Jedi" may not be enough to close the gap (remember, at this point last year, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," which became 2016's top-grossing film, had yet to be released). Still, the annual-gross race may come down to the wire, and even if "Lady Bird" or "Disaster Artist" makes $50 million, that'll be a rounding error when it comes to calculating and comparing the total earnings of the past two years.

    Still, this weekend's results suggests that several of this year's modestly-budgeted awards contenders are likely to become profitable box office successes on their own terms. And as "Disaster Artist" proves, a movie doesn't have to be a blockbuster -- or even profitable, or competently made -- to generate lasting fame, earn fans, and be talked about for years to come.

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