We finish 2017 with some clear winners and losers as we wrap up the annual 12 Days of Box Office.
By Tim Briody
December 31, 2017
The top film of the weekend is, of course, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, with an estimated $52.4 million for the weekend, giving it $517.1 million after 17 days in theaters. By the time you read this on Sunday, it will have passed Beauty and the Beast as the #1 film of 2017, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. That’s three straight years now the #1 movie of the year has been a Star Wars film, and all three released in December (and the two main story movies did it within the calendar year). Next year, the Han Solo movie gets a Memorial Day release. I still think they should have just gone ahead and released all of them in December, so we’ll see if Star Wars can go for the four-peat next year.
The Last Jedi did drop 27% from last weekend, but that’s acceptable considering the larger numbers and amount of box office it had already taken in. Even The Force Awakens dropped 40% on the weekend in what’s a very friendly frame for holdovers. Those criticizing the decisions made by Rian Johnson in The Last Jedi will point to this weekend drop and claim that the difference in box office is the reason why, but those who follow box office know better. The Force Awakens was an event. The Last Jedi, while still great in my opinion, felt ever so slightly less special. It happens to virtually every sequel. As I’ve stated before, we knew The Last Jedi was not going to duplicate the performance of The Force Awakens, but it’s still going to cross $600 million some time in January. Oh, and it’s already over $1 billion worldwide. Anyone who didn’t like The Last Jedi and claims the Star Wars brand is damaged is wearing the crazy pants.
In a much closer second place than anticipated, and the clear biggest winner among the holiday releases, is Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, earning $50.5 million on the weekend, up 49% from last weekend. It now has a massive $169.8 million in the bank after two weekends. All but three films in the top ten saw increases from last weekend, when Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday and most kids were still in school until Friday. For some reason, Sony has been coy with the daily earnings, but the Jumanji reboot is a huge hit and another win for both The Rock and Kevin Hart. Jumanji is headed to the $200 million mark by the end of next weekend, the 12th 2017 film to do that.
Third goes to Pitch Perfect 3, and it’s actually one of the losers among the Christmas releases, with a weekend of $17.7 million, down 11% from its opening weekend, which is a major cause for concern. After two weekends, it has earned $64.2 million. That doesn’t seem bad, but consider Pitch Perfect 2 opened to $69.2 million in 2015 and it’s actually yet to match the $65 million total gross of the first film (which was a sleeper hit and caught on huge on DVD/Netflix), though it will do that on New Year’s Day. With a Christmas release, Universal clearly had high hopes for the return of the Barden Bellas, but an underwhelming opening weekend is made worse by a decline over New Year’s weekend, which generally only happens if you’re Star Wars. Pitch Perfect 2 earned $183.7 million, but Pitch Perfect 3 isn’t getting to $100 million.
On the other hand, in fourth place we have a textbook example of how The 12 Days of Box Office can help a film’s fortunes. Hugh Jackman’s The Greatest Showman earned $15.2 million on the weekend, up a remarkable 73% from last weekend’s $8.8 million. The musical based on the life of P.T. Barnum did not really excite critics (only 55% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes), but the family-friendly film was the largest beneficiary of people having more time to see films during the week and the weekend, as it’s now earned $48.7 million in two weekends. That’s a good recovery for what seemed like a disappointing opening weekend.
John Cena’s Ferdinand is also rescued by the holiday box office money train, to a small extent, as it adds $11.6 million, up a solid 59% from last weekend, and now has $53.9 million in the bank. I’m sure Fox was hoping for a much better performance than this as the most recently released animated film in theaters, but Jumanji proved to be the top choice of families during the holiday week. After a decent New Year’s Day, Ferdinand will begin making its way out of theaters, with about $70 million by the time it’s finished.
Coco takes sixth on the last weekend of 2017, with $6.5 million, up 22% from last weekend, and $178.9 million since opening over Thanksgiving. As we stated in its first couple weekends, making it to Christmas was key to Coco’s fortunes. It’s lagging well behind last year’s Moana, which had $210 million by this same point, but we always knew it would. What the holidays helped Coco do was no longer be the second-lowest grossing Pixar film, after the $123 million earning The Good Dinosaur. It has since passed Cars 3’s $152.9 million and A Bug’s Life’s $162.7 million and should have just enough steam left in it to pass the next films, Cars 2’s $191.4 million (not to mention the original Toy Story’s $191.7 million).
Christmas Day release All the Money in the World lands in seventh, with $5.4 million and $12.6 million since its release. I’m actually wondering how much the controversy of replacing Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer at the literal last moment helped or hurt the film’s fortunes. The curiosity of the casting change (and Golden Globe nominations possibly) seemed to work in its favor, but All the Money in the World was never going to be a world beater. The “serious” films tend to not be the ones that succeed over Christmas, anyway.
Darkest Hour takes eighth as the film that will get Gary Oldman his second Oscar nomination (and he’s still the favorite to finally win it) earns $5.2 million on the weekend, up 36% from last weekend after adding 137 additional screens. It’s got $17.9 million in the bank so far, as between Darkest Hour and Dunkirk, the awards season takes a World War II heavy slant.
Ninth and tenth go to two of the big flops of the holiday season, social commentary Downsizing and rejected comedy Father Figures. Downsizing drops 7% from last weekend with $4.6 million and $17 million after two weekends, as it’s seemingly too high concept for audiences. Father Figures, while up 16% from last weekend to $3.7 million, has still only earned $12.7 million since its release, as audiences chose, well, literally anything else over picking the Owen Wilson/Ed Helms flop.
Box Office Prophets thanks you for reading and following along with us in 2017, and we promise that we will continue to bring the best box office analysis on the web in 2018. To all our readers, have a happy and safe New Year