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2017 Box Office Headed for 2% Decline Despite ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

The final number for the 2017 North American box office haul will decline by at least 2% from last year’s record-setting $11.38 billion — even with “Star Wars: The Last Jedibeing a blockbuster.

As of Dec. 19, the domestic total for the year was $10.35 billion, or 3.1% behind the same time frame a year ago. So the final 12 days of the year would have to generate slightly more than $1 billion to match last year’s total — a highly improbable scenario, according to box office tracker comScore.

“I think the final number for 2017 will come in between $11.1 billion and $11.2 billion,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, told Variety.

That would mean that the final earnings will finish in the same range as 2015’s $11.14 billion — the second-highest year on record. It will be only the third time that the industry has made it to $11 billion. Grosses hit $10.8 billion in 2012 and $10.9 billion in 2013, then slid to $10.4 billion in 2014.

Moviegoing in 2017 was hampered by a slow summer season — the first in more than a decade to fall short of $4 billion — and a disappointing October. Gains in September, when “It” smashed records, and November plus the stellar performance by “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (with $261.1 million in its first five days) have kept prospects alive for a year above $11 billion.

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The final 12 days of the year are one of the heaviest moviegoing periods in North America. The last dozen days of 2016 totaled $703.3 million, led by “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” taking in $208 million. In 2015, the final 12 days totaled $814.1 million as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” dominated with $464 million.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” will probably fall between those two movies with around $300 million for the last 12 days of 2012. The tentpole, which took in $278.8 million in its first six days, won’t have to go it alone. Sony’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”  is off to a solid start with $7.2 million on its opening day at 3,765 North American sites on Wednesday. The first numbers point to a six-day gross between $45 million and $55 million range for the six-day period that runs through Christmas Day.

Fox’s Hugh Jackman musical-drama “The Greatest Showman” showed a first-day number Wednesday of $2.5 million at 3,005 locations — which would probably leave “Showman” with a six-day total of about $20 million, in line with recent forecasts.

Tracking for Universal’s comedy “Pitch Perfect 3,” which opens on Dec. 22, has been projected for a four-day opening in the $27 million to $29 million range at 3,400 North American theaters. Paramount is launching “Downsizing” on Dec. 22 at about 2,600 North American locations with box office expectations in the $10 million to $12 million range during the Friday-Monday period. Warner Bros. is also releasing “Father Figures” on Dec. 22 at about 2,800 venues as part of its output deal with Alcon with forecasts for the Friday-Monday period of about $10 million.

Sony will launch the year’s final wide release on Christmas Day with “All the Money in the World” at about 2,000 sites. Director Ridley Scott managed to revamp the thriller in six weeks, completely cutting Kevin Spacey from the film following sexual harassment and assault allegations against the actor. Christopher Plummer replaced Spacey in the role of J. Paul Getty and has already been nominated for a Golden Globe.

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