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‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ to Outpace ‘Jumanji’ With $22 Million Weekend

Fox’s “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” is heading for $22 million at 3,768 North American locations, dethroning three-time champ “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” early estimates showed Friday.

The sixth weekend of “Jumanji” will likely finish at around $14 million at 3,553 sites, giving it a stunning $335 million domestically after 40 days — topping Sony’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” for 49th place on the all-time list.

Five films are battling for third place in the $8 million to $10 million range: Fox’s sixth weekends of the sturdy musical “The Greatest Showman” and Steven Spielberg’s “The Post,” Warner Bros. second frame of Afghan war drama “12 Strong,” STXfilms’ second weekend of “Den of Theives” and Entertainment Studios expanded Christian Bale drama “Hostiles.”

The Maze Runner franchise has been a reliable performer for Fox since 2014 when it opened the original “Maze Runner” with $32.5 million on its way to grossing $102 million in U.S. receipts. The 2015 follow-up, “The Scorch Trials,” opened with $30 million and tallied $82 million in domestic box office.

Dylan O’Brien stars as the lead in the finale of the dystopian trilogy, which saw its opening delayed for a year after he sustained injuries on the set two years ago. Kaya Scodelario and Thomas Brodie-Sangster also star. Wes Ball directed all three films.

Sony’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” was overshadowed during its first two weeks by Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which has gone past $606 million domestically. The action-comedy has consistently over-performed forecasts during its run and is unique in having finished in second for two weekends, then notching box office victories in its third, fourth and fifth weekends. The Dwyane Johnson-Kevin Hart vehicle has also led the international box office for four weekends and amassed $450 million overseas.

“Jumanji” has kept the domestic box office healthy so far in 2018 with $779.8 million as of Jan. 25 — down 1.3% from the same point last year, according to comScore.

Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures is expanding “Hostiles,” starring Bale and Rosamund Pike, to about 2,815 locations from 49. The historical drama, which opened on Dec. 22, has grossed $1.8 million so far. “Hostiles” took in $370,000 from 1,893 sites in Thursday night shows in new locations.

The weekend will show the impact of Tuesday’s Academy Awards nominations announcement. Fox’s “The Post,” which received a best picture nod along with Meryl Streep’s 21st Oscar nod, led moviegoing on the two following days with $1.2 million each day at 2,851 venues, lifting its five-week total to $48.5 million.

Hugh Jackman’s “The Greatest Showman” has shown remarkable staying power, declining only 15% this weekend to wind up with around $125 million by the end of the weekend.

“12 Strong,” starring Chris Hemsworth in a story of U.S. soldiers fighting the Taliban in the aftermath of 9/11, will probably decline by about 45% and wind up with a 10-day total of $31 million. It’s playing at 3,018 locations.

Heist thriller “Den of Theives,” which is screening at 2,432 sites, stars Gerard Butler, 50 Cent, Pablo Schreiber, and O’Shea Jackson Jr. The film took in $20 million in its first week.

Fox Searchlight’s “The Shape of Water,” which led with 13 Oscar nominations, is adding nearly 1,000 sites this weekend and will play at 1,840. The fantasy drama has grossed $31.5 million in two months.

Universal’s “Get Out” and Warner Bros. “Dunkirk” are returning to theaters this weekend after taking best picture nods. “Get Out” grossed $175 million domestically before leaving multiplexes in July and “Dunkirk” took in $188 million between July and November.

“With the nine best picture nominees having generated a combined $575 million in North America and the nominations bounce in full effect, the blockbuster reign of ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’ will be challenged by ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ that topped comScore’s social media chart this week with over 800,000 conversations to date,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, said.

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