Friday Box Office Analysis

By Kim Hollis

December 16, 2017


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At last! The movie we've been waiting for has arrived. The only tragedy is that something as delightful as Coco will be knocked from the top rung. But rejoice! Rejoice! Star Wars: The Last Jedi has come to smite all our enemies.

I'll go ahead and state from the outset that The Last Jedi has not matched or exceeded the box office of The Force Awakens. However, that outcome was never likely. It's the second film in a series of three, and we often see an opening weekend drop-off for the middle film in a trilogy. Additionally, The Force Awakens had years upon years on pent up fanboyism that was in no way satisfied by the George Lucas prequels. With Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill returning for the first time in decades to the franchise, there was SO much reason to rush out and see The Force Awakens. Now, the presence of Fisher and Hamill is a little tougher to market in the aftermath of Fisher's death. It required a delicate touch, and Disney chose to employ that method rather than gaudily tell potential audience members, "See her in her final film!"

So, what that means is that Star Wars: The Last Jedi got started yesterday with $104.8 million. That number includes $45 million from its Thursday night preview, which means that its true Friday number was right around $60 million. If you're comparing, the Friday number is about $15 million behind that of The Force Awakens. It's still the second best Friday ever, so it's not like The Last Jedi has anything to be ashamed of. If it follows the trajectory of its predecessor, a weekend of $218.4 million is in order. That will STILL be the second biggest opening ever, and only the fourth film to cross the $200 million mark. It's safe to say that Disney's having a great week, what with the Star Wars release and the purchase of Fox.


Of course, that maybe leads to the slightest bit of bad news, since Ferdinand is in fact a 20th Century Fox production. The animated film featuring John Cena (ugh) never had much of a chance in the face of the monolith that is Star Wars. That film crosses every single demographic, including age, race, and gender. Families were always going to be headed to The Last Jedi, which means that Ferdinand was only ever going to appeal to parents of younger children - too young for Star Wars.

With a Friday total of $3.6 million, Ferdinand didn't actually finish that far ahead of reigning animated champ Coco. Even if we give it the benefit of the doubt for a really strong Saturday and Sunday, it's still only going to make $14.4 million. Considering the $111 million budget, that's pretty rough, though Ferdinand does have the benefit of the next couple weeks of the Christmas season to benefit it. For that reason, it may come out all right in the end.

Be sure to come back tomorrow, when Tim Briody will discuss Star Wars: The Last Jedi in more depth, as well as the performance of the rest of the top ten films.

Projected Estimates for the Top Ten (Three-Day)
Estimated Gross
1 Star Wars: The Last Jedi 218.4
2 Ferdinand 14.4
3 Coco 10.8
4 Wonder 5.5
5 Justice League 4.8
6 Daddy's Home 2 3.6
7 Thor: Ragnarok 3.1
8 The Disaster Artist 2.6
9 Murder on the Orient Express 2.5
10 Lady Bird 2.3



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