Logging the Yule numbers
The Christmas box office frame is usually a busy one, and this year is following (Santa) suit. Numerous new releases were delivered with varying degrees of care, with hopes that ticket buyers soon would be there. Some titles created a clatter, some did not really matter.
The totals this week are a bit of a moving target as estimates will run four days with Christmas on Monday, and some titles had early debuts on Wednesday. Most titles will be giving their totals for the four days of Christmas. Here are the stocking stuffing films.
1. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – $102.5Million
While there has been a lot of negativity on the internet from the hardcore fan base this sequel has been continuing to do strong business. The weekday figures have been delivering an impressive double-digit return, and while not sucking up all the business a 4-day run like this is a sign of strength, as it performs about as expected. It is trailing behind “Force Awakens” at the same point, but is out drawing “Rogue One” from last year. In the face of so many new releases, and other limited run titles expanding this weekend as well, this is a strong show of force (SWIDT).
2. JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE – $44.3m 4-day; 60.8m 6-day
Sony Studios has been trying to get this property a sequel, or rebooted, for well over a decade. It appears they finally hit upon a winning formula as this is a robust return in the face of a gargantuan Star Wars effort. The family-based counter-programming was the right call as kids do not see multiple viewings as much as teens or the fan boys. This will benefit with schools being out in the coming weeks for a solid long run.
3. PITCH PERFECT 3 – $35.5m
This was a perfect bout of counter-programming. Women are the lowest percentage of the Star Wars buyers, and this was a female-friendly sequel; over three quarters of those going to this title were women. While operating well below the first sequel this was considered the hoped-for result, and has to be looked at as a success. The targeted demographic however may be a challenge to maintain momentum past the holiday.
4. THE GREATEST SHOWMAN – $12.1m 4-day; $16.7m 6-day
Fox had hoped to have this musical as an awards season darling, in the mold of last year’s “La La Land”. While it has netted a few Golden Globes nods it is not generating the same level of serious heat off of the trophy run. Critics have been mixed on this release, and the audience has been divided among choices in a very crowded field. This would draw older females primarily, but parents were going to “Jumanji”, and “PP3” served as another female musical selection. Ultimately if the nominations solidify it could see a longer run and more success as a result.
5. COCO – $9.8m
Performing nicely for Disney/Pixar this curious decision to feature the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday has found global traction as well. This week will see the film crossing $500million in global revenue.
6. FERDINAND – $9.0m
While holding nicely below a -50% for week #2 that is against a very soft open last week versus “Jedi”, when no film fared well. This will be a whimper for the Blue Sky studios, whose future is very much in limbo. The studio behind the “Ice Age” and “Rio” films was the primary animation supplier for 21st Century Fox. The takeover by Disney will call that into question now.
7. DOWNSIZING – $7.1m
The studio Paramount was trying to have this regarded as a serious dramatic awards effort, but the reactions have been mixed, at best. Alexander Payne is a serious director, but this fantasy about adults choosing to miniaturize themselves for the sake of the environment has been a miss. Critics have it at a tepid 50% acceptance, and the audiences are scorching it; the CinemaScore is a “C”, and younger viewers graded it even lower. Failing to crack $10million on a holiday is dismal for a production costing $70million.
8. DARKEST HOUR – $6.1m
The Winston Churchill biopic has been getting a good reception, and Gary Oldman is assured of many upcoming nominations for the lead role. This expanded into over 700 theaters and it drew the fourth highest screen average for the week. This bodes for a lengthy run throughout the upcoming awards season.
9. THE SHAPE OF WATER – $5.0m
Another limited release expanding, this one into under 600 more screens, it has been a remarkably received effort. Months of advanced word from the festivals was followed by a slew of Golden Globes nominations for this extension from the Hellboy franchise.
10. FATHER FIGURES – $4.78m
A long-delayed comedy it suffered by getting released in a climate that has been resistant to R-rated comedies. This is a disastrous effort when you consider it drew less than “Shape of Water” while appearing on more than four times as many screens.