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‘Jumanji’ Dominates MLK Weekend, ‘The Post’ Leads Newcomers

Sony’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is dominating the North American box office to easily win the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend with about $33.4 million at 3,849 sites, estimates showed Sunday.

Fox’s “The Post” is leading the rest of the pack handily and topped forecasts with $22.2 million at 2,819 locations for Friday-Monday after expanding from 36 sites. The opening of Lionsgate’s  Liam Neeson’s thriller “The Commuter” also topped expectations in third place with $16 million at 2,892 venues.

The fifth weekend of Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” with $14.7 million at 3,090 sites is fourth and Fox’s fourth weekend of “The Greatest Showman” with $14.5 million at 2,938 screens takes fifth place at the holiday box office.

Warner. Bros.’ launch of family comedy “Paddington 2” was battling for sixth place with Universal’s second weekend of “Insidious: The Last Chapter” with about $14.1 million each. Sony’s launch of action-thriller “Proud Mary” came in eighth with $12 million at 2,125 sites followed by Universal’s fourth weekend of “Pitch Perfect” with $6.7 million at 2,505 sites and Focus Features’ eighth weekend of  “Darkest Hour” with $5.7 million at 1,693 venues.

Overall business was solid rather than spectacular with a four-day total in the $190 million range, according to comScore. “Jumanj: Welcome to the Jungle,” which will finish the holiday with nearly $290 million in 29 days, now ranks as the eighth highest grosser released in 2017.

“‘Jumanji’  has in essence hit the reset button and is now behaving more like a film in its second weekend rather than its fourth,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore. “In the wake of a startling late run ascension to the number one spot, ‘Jumanji’ continues to energize the early 2018 box office marketplace while this weekend taking on a host of wide release newcomers.”

Disney noted Sunday that “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” had reached a worldwide total of $1.264 billion, topping Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” ($1.263 billion) and Universal’s “The Fate of the Furious” ($1.236 billion) to become the top global release of 2017 and the tenth-highest global release of all time.

“Jumanji,” starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, provided the most substantive challenge to “The Last Jedi” after opening Dec. 20. It’s the most successful title for Sony since “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which pulled in $337 million domestically during the summer.

The Post,” starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep in a story about the 1971 publication of the Pentagon Papers, attracted an older audience with 66% over 35. It received an A Cinemascore with ComScore’s PostTrak audience survey showing solid response with 63% rating the drama a “definite recommend” — indicating strong playability in coming weeks, according to Chris Aronson, president of domestic distribution.

“We see a real opportunity for attracting young people who are politically aware due to the timeliness of the subject matter,” he added.

The Post” took in $4.3 million in two weeks of limited release, so its domestic total has hit $26.7 million. The National Board of Review named “The Post” the best film of 2017 with Hanks and Streep winning the acting awards and the Producers Guild nominated it as one of its top 11 films but it was denied nominations last week from the Directors Guild and Writers Guild. “The Post” has an 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Commuter,” starring Neeson as a businessman drawn into a criminal conspiracy on his train ride home. The film finished Friday with around $4.6 million, and has received a B CinemaScore.and a 55% Rotten Tomatoes rating. The film kicks off a long-term partnership between Lionsgate and StudioCanal that will continue with “Early Man” and “Shaun the Sheep Movie 2.”

Paddington 2” was coming in slightly under expectations. Warner Bros. acquired the North American rights for the  the sequel film, starring the popular British children’s literary character, from the Weinstein Company in November after the sexual harassment allegations against former head Harvey Weinstein left the production company and distributor a toxic name.

“Paddington 2,” in which Ben Whishaw voices the accident-prone bear, has already earned $125 million internationally and has garnered a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Proud Mary,” starring Taraji P. Henson, opened at the lower end of expectations for Sony’s Screen Gems. The film, which carries a modest $14 million budget, was marketed toward Henson’s fan base. She portrays a hit woman working for an organized crime family in Boston, whose life is completely turned around when she meets a young boy whose path she crosses when a professional hit goes bad. Critics were unimpressed and gave “Proud Mary” a 23% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

 

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