Welcome, boys and girls, to the beginning of the holiday season. It's a time of great cheer and prosperity at the box office, though 2017 will continue to fight to bad movie problems right up to the very end. It doesn't really matter if you release your movie at Christmastime if you put out a product that is utter garbage. But more on that soon. The good news is that there are plenty of fantastic movies in theaters, which means that we have some fun things to discuss.
The 12 Days of Christmas: Friday Box Office Analysis
By Kim Hollis
December 23, 2017
Let's start with the holiday behemoth that will be known as Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Many of you will likely remember that Star Wars: The Force Awakens took advantage of the holiday season to become the highest domestic grosser of the year - and all-time. I'd expect similar behavior for The Last Jedi, though it's obviously not going to pass The Force Awakens for the top spot domestically. Still, it's going to continue to perform really well.
Yesterday, The Last Jedi earned $24.7 million, which is down a not-too-surprising 76% from its first Friday, particularly because that opening day included Thursday night previews. $45 million worth, in fact. That means that its real decline was about 59%, which is still lofty and may show a bit of reaction to the fact that some fans are displeased with the film. Nonetheless, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is headed toward a three-day weekend of about $64.7 million (keep in mind that Christmas Eve is a REALLY bad day for box office) and a four-day holiday take of $76.7 million (also keep in mind that Christmas Day is a REALLY good day for box office). By the end of day on Christmas, it will be sitting with close to $375 million and a week's worth of box office bounty to inflate its overall total.
Our second place film yesterday was Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which actually opened on Wednesday. It's the beneficiary of good reviews, the presence of The Rock and Kevin Hart, and an A- Cinemascore, all which should give it the Night at the Museum treatment this holiday season. In fact, Night at the Museum had the same calendar configuration and almost identical first Friday, so Jumanji's trajectory is pretty darned easy to predict. It should earn $31.1 million in three days and $44 million through Christmas Day, which will give it a six-day total of $58 million. Not a bad start at all for a $90 million budgeted film.
Pitch Perfect 3 is up next, and it's likely suffering from a bit of fall back due to the terrible quality of the second film (and the middling reviews of this one). Audiences liked it well enough, and it's still going to be a popular, compromise sort of choice in the coming days. The Anna Kendrick film earned $10.6 million yesterday, including $2.3 million from Thursday night previews. Look for a weekend total of $28.6, with a four-day take of $38.7.
The all-singing fun continues with the Hugh Jackman/Zac Efron/Zendaya musical The Greatest Showman, which has gone all out in terms of marketing over these last couple of weeks, including an appearance in the middle of last weekend's A Christmas Story Live (although maybe that was regrettable). Musicals are always popular this time of year, but The Greatest Showman has pretty crummy reviews to contend with. Still, an A- Cinemascore means that audiences liked it well enough. Let's call it $9 million for the three-day portion of the holiday and $12.3 million for four days. It was another Wednesday opener, so it will be sitting with about $17 million going into the rest of the holiday bonanza period.
Alexander Payne's Downsizing is not well-liked with audiences, registering a C Cinemascore. Critics are pretty well divided on it, too. Since it's not likely to get much awards attention other than perhaps a Supporting Actress nod, it's probably all downhill from here. A Friday debut of $2.1 million will translate to $6.3 million for three days and $8.5 for four. Paramount will be happy to collect all the bonus money it can here, because the film had a nearly $70 million budget.
With an expansion to 806 venues, Darkest Hour caught some people's attention with a $1.4 million Friday. Considering that this a biopic on Winston Churchill, that number is pretty solid, and should continue to build as Gary Oldman's performance is expected to be a big contender for this year's Best Actor Academy Award. The three-days should be worth $4.4 and four days will bring in $6.4 million. Once Academy nominations hit, it should roll along pretty nicely, too.
No one wanted to see Father Figures, probably because they saw the commercials. Look, I love Owen Wilson more than probably anyone, but I'll never see this film. At least he has Wonder, right? Anyway, people just seem to be done with these kind of comedies, and $1.4 million yesterday is a pretty good sign that it should never have been made in the first place. I suppose it could wind up with about the same totals as Darkest Hour, but I'll give it demerits for being awful and take it down to $4.2 million in three and $6.2 million in four. There are other, better comedy options available.
Finally, Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water, probably a leading contender for Best Picture this year, expanded to 726 locations yesterday and tallied $1.2 million. Through Sunday, it should earn $3.3 million and $4.5 million through Christmas. We'll certainly have more to come on this one.
Be sure to return tomorrow for the wrap of the weekend, brought to you by Tim Briody. We'll also have All the Money in the World starting on Monday with 2,000+ venues, as well as Molly's Game on nearly 275. Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread will also get started on just four screens.