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‘Coco’ to Easily Top Box Office as ‘Justice League’ Battles ‘Wonder’ for Second Place

Disney-Pixar’s “Coco” will easily win the first December weekend in the $23 million range in its second frame at 3,987 North American locations, early estimates showed Friday.

The third weekend of Warner Bros.-DC Entertainment’s “Justice League” and the second session of Lionsgate’s “Wonder” are on a tight battle for second with about $15 million each. The fifth weekend of Disney-Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” will finish fourth with about $10 million, followed by the fourth weekend of Paramount’s “Daddy’s Home 2” with about $8 million and the fourth weekend of Fox’s “Murder on the Orient Express” with about $7 million.

The major studios are relying on holdover business this weekend and next before the Dec. 15 launch of Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” There are also a trio of platform releases as Amazon opens Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel” in five locations; A24’s “The Disaster Artist,” starring and directed by James Franco, launches in 19 sites; and Fox Searchlight’s Guillermo del Toro fantasy “The Shape of Water” is opening at two sites. Fox Searchlight’s “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri” expands to 1,430 venues from 614.

It’s more of the same on Dec. 8, when Neon launches Margot Robbie’s “I, Tonya” in another limited release while Broad Green is debuting the action-comedy “Just Getting Started,” starring Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones, nationwide.

Coco” has been leading in weekday grosses and has topped $80 million in its first eight days after winning the Thanksgiving holiday. It should wind up the coming weekend with around $107 million in its first 12 days.

Coco” posted the fourth-best Thanksgiving holiday opening ever, trailing three other Disney titles — “Frozen” with $93 million in 2013, “Moana” with $82 million in 2017, and “Toy Story 3” with $80 million in 2010.

Audiences surveyed by comScore’s PostTrak gave “Coco” strong ratings with 66% calling it “excellent,” and another 23% rating it “very good.” “Coco,” directed by Lee Unkrich and co-directed by Adrian Molina, is based on the traditions surrounding the Day of the Dead holiday in Mexico and centers on a 12-year-old boy who dreams of becoming a musician. The studio has not released a price for the movie. Disney-Pixar titles are usually budgeted in the $175 million to $200 million range.

Justice League” has finished its first two weeks with $180.8 million domestically. The movie teams up the DC characters in the same manner as Disney-Marvel’s superheroes, is already the 11th highest-grossing of titles released in 2017 and has opened with a B+ CinemaScore. It’s been the lowest performer among the DC Extended Universe. “Wonder Woman” grossed $233.8 million in its first two weeks in June and “Suicide Squad” took in $241.5 million in its first two weeks in August 2016.

Gal Gadot stars as Wonder Woman along with Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as the Flash, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg as the superheroes team up to save the world. Warner Bros. has not disclosed the production cost, which is believed to be as much as $300 million.

Lionsgate’s family drama “Wonder” has continued to show impressive traction with a 13-day total of more than $74 million. The film, which stars Jacob Tremblay as a fifth grader with a facial deformity, has a modest $20 million budget.

“Thor: Ragnarok” has topped $281 million domestically in four weeks and is the sixth highest domestic grosser of 2017. The third Thor movie was the key factor in November grosses rising 4.9%  to $997.4 million as of Nov. 29, according to comScore.

But total domestic box office for 2017 remains down 4.3% at $9.74 billion as of Nov. 29. The final number for the year will fall at least 2% behind last year’s record-setting $11.4 billion, even if “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is a blockbuster, according to comScore projections.

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