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‘Jumanji’ Ruling MLK Weekend Box Office Over ‘The Post,’ ‘Paddington 2,’ ‘Proud Mary’

Sony’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is outdistancing a quartet of challengers and should win the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend with about $28 million at the North American box office, early estimates showed Friday.

Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” appears to be leading the rest of the pack with around $21 million for the four days, according to Friday’s first forecasts, followed by the openings of “Paddington 2” with $18 million and Taraji P. Henson’s “Proud Mary” battling “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” for fourth place with about $16 million each. Liam Neeson’s “The Commuter” was arriving with about $12 million, fighting for sixth with the fourth weekend of Hugh Jackman’s “The Greatest Showman” and the second weekend of “Insidious: The Last Key.”

Should “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” make it to $30 million this weekend, it would be only the 11th title to exceed that mark during the MLK weekend, according to comScore. Warner Bros.’ “American Sniper” set the record in 2015 with $107 million, followed by “Avatar” with $54 million in 2010 and Universal’s “Ride Along” with a $48.6 million launch in 2014.

“Jumanji,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, has been a pleasant surprise for Sony since its Dec. 20 launch with $254 million domestically in 22 days. It also crossed $300 million internationally with $12 million on its first day in China.

Fox is expanding “The Post” to 2,819 sites on Friday after the awards contender brought in $4.3 million from 36 locations in two weeks. Forecasts have been in the $18 million to $20 million range for the four days. Tom Hanks stars as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee with Meryl Streep as publisher Katharine Graham.

The National Board of Review named it the best film of 2017, but it was spurned this week for awards nominations by members of the Directors Guild and Writers Guild. “The Post” has an 87% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

“The Post” took in $775,000 at 2,375 North American venues on Thursday night, edging “The Commuter,” which grossed $700,000 at 2,000 sites. Family comedy “Paddington 2” launched with $325,000 in previews.

“Paddington 2” is getting the widest release among the newcomers, with Warner Bros. booking 3,702 venues with forecasts in the $15 million to $18 million range. The studio acquired North American rights in November from the Weinstein Company in the wake of the sexual abuse allegations against disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein. “Paddington 2,” in which Ben Whishaw voices the accident-prone bear, has already earned $125 million internationally and has received plenty of plaudits with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Sony is opening “Proud Mary” at about 2,200 locations on Friday without previews through its Screen Gems label amid forecasts in the $13 million to $16 million range. The film was also not screened for critics. Henson plays a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston, whose life is turned around when she meets a young boy when a professional hit goes wrong. “Proud Mary” also stars Billy Brown, Jahi Di’Allo Winston, and Danny Glover.

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has grossed $580 million domestically in its first four weeks and currently ranks as the sixth-highest domestic grosser of all time. It could pass 2012’s “The Avengers” for fifth at $623 million by the end of its run. “The Last Jedi” is also surpassing “The Fate of the Furious” at $1.236 billion for the 11th spot on the worldwide grosses list.

Lionsgate is expanding the action-thriller “The Commuter” to 2,892 North American theaters on Friday. Neeson portrays a train passenger who becomes entwined in a murder conspiracy after meeting a mysterious woman. “The Commuter” has a 53% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. Forecasts place “The Commuter” in the $13 million range for the four days.

“The Commuter” also kicks off a long-term partnership between Lionsgate and StudioCanal that will continue with “Early Man” and “Shaun the Sheep Movie 2.”

Fox’s “The Greatest Showman” has taken in nearly $83 million domestically in its first 23 days. The studio is holding sing-along shows with the soundtrack lyrics on the screen at 300 locations starting Friday.

Overall year-to-date domestic grosses reached $350.6 million on Jan. 10, down 2.4% from 2017 when “Hidden Figures” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” were leading the box office.

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