Box Office Report: 'Jumanji' Opens Strong But Holiday Openers No Match for 'Last Jedi'

Box Office Report: 'Jumanji' Opens Strong But Holiday Openers No Match for 'Last Jedi'

Dec 26, 2017

Jumanji: Welcome to the JungleHere's your estimated 4-day box office returns (new releases bolded):

1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi - $100.0 million ($397.2 million total)

2. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle - $52.1 million ($68.7 million total)

3. Pitch Perfect 3 - $25.6 million ($25.6 million total)

4. The Greatest Showman - $14.0 million ($18.5 million total)

5. Ferdinand - $9.6 million ($29.1 million total)

6. Coco - $7.3 million ($163.5 million total)

7. Downsizing - $7.2 million ($7.2 million total)

8. Darkest Hour - $5.4 million ($8.2 million total)

9. Father Figures - $4.9 million ($4.9 million total)

10. The Shape of Water - $4.3 million ($8.8 million total)

 

The Big Stories

It was a battle of the sequels over the Christmas box office this weekend and, as expected, one film bested them all. Star Wars: The Last Jedi made $112.7 million over the 4-day weekend compared to the roughly $97 million consumed by its two biggest challengers, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Pitch Perfect 3; both of which had very respectable openings and are headed towards success. The holiday box office may appear like it’s about to wrap up hoping to reach $11 billion for a third straight year. But for individual films, their journey is just getting warmed up.

 

Welcome to the Jungle, Pitches!

Joe Johnston’s Jumanji with Robin Williams was a modest success when it opened on December 15, 1995. We say modest now, when in fact it was just one of ten films all of that year to clear $100 million at the box office; 100.4 million to be precise, still good enough to be the seventh highest-grossing domestic film of the year. That total in 2017 would rank 27th. But inflation and the pairing of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart may be the gift that keeps on giving.

In five days, Jumanji Deux has already surpassed the Baywatch debacle from this summer and by next weekend will have passed the original film. National Treasure: Book of Secrets made $65.4 million in its first five days. while Jumanji was at $53 million through Christmas Eve.

Live-action December openers over $30 million with a Rotten Tomatoes score between 70-79% (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is at 77%) have averaged a 3.78 multiple, which would put the film far shy of hitting a $200 millon domestic gross. But also consider that the original Night at the Museum had $55.7 million in five days and went on to gross over $250 million. International sales (currently at $49.5 million) should help put the $90 million film into profit for Sony as it hopes Jumanji becomes the 12th film of the year to reach the $200 million milestone.

Universal’s Pitch Perfect 3 does not have nearly the financial hurdle of Jumanji to clear a profit. The $45 million production pulled in $25.6 million through Christmas. This is still a stark contrast to the second film in the series, which capitalized on the slow discovery of the original and opened to $28 million on its first DAY and over $69 million over the weekend. (The original film made $65 million in its entire run.) Looking at films that can boast Christmas Eve (where many theaters close early) and Christmas as a factor in their opening weekend (films that open on Friday), we come upon the following:

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel ($48.8 million / $219.6 million), Meet the Fockers ($46.1 / $279.2), Little Fockers ($30.8 / $148.4), Night at the Museum ($30.4 / $250.8), Cast Away ($28.8 / $233.6), Pitch Perfect 3 ($25.6 / ???), True Grit ($24.8 / $171.2), Any Given Sunday ($13.5 / $75.5), Why Him? ($11.0 / $60.3), The Family Man ($10.5 / $75.7)

That’s a very respectable place to be, even for a film with a 29% approval at Rotten Tomatoes. I would not bank on Pitch Perfect 3 to hit the $200 million milestone. But $100 million is very much in play. Throw in a couple international bucks (the second film made $103 million overseas) and Universal can declare this entire franchise a success and get out while the gettin’s good.

 

Tales of the Top Ten

Let’s get back to Star Wars, shall we? Has the perceived fan backlash caused any disturbance in the force or are they just a group of Kylo Ren wannabes with petulant 'what about me?' attitudes that we are happy to not have on our team? Time will tell, but here is what we do know. The Last Jedi has just fallen behind the pace of Jurassic World, which achieved the $400 million milestone in ten days. It will take day 12 for Episode VIII. Although day 10 was Christmas Eve and, for context, it is important to recognize what an off day that is for the movies and just how well The Last Jedi still did on that day. Since 2002, here are the top ten best single Christmas Eve grosses:

The Force Awakens ($27.3 / Day 7), Rogue One ($15.3 / Day 9), The Last Jedi ($14.6 / Day 10), Avatar ($11.1 / Day 7), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ($9.0 / Day 5), Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel ($7.9 / Day 2), Sing ($7.91 / Day 4), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers ($7.7 / Day 7), The Lord of the Rings : The Return of the King ($7.5 / Day 8), Meet the Fockers ($7.1 / Day 3), National Treasure: Book of Secrets ($7.0).

On Christmas Day, The Force Awakens took in $49.3 million while Rogue One nabbed $25.8 million last year. The Last Jedi made an estimated $32.1 million, the second best Christmas gross ever. At the moment, overall, it may look like The Last Jedi is headed to indeed be The Empire Strikes Back of this current trilogy (in all manners that it applies). Let’s see if it has reached $500 million by Day 17 next Sunday.

Also opening this week was Fox’s The Greatest Showman, which has racked up $18.5 million since Wednesday. Despite splitting on-the-record critics evenly at 50% at Rotten Tomatoes, this has potential to be the film that older audiences begin spreading the word about. That makes it unlike Warner Bros.’ Father Figures, which could only muster up $4.9 million in its first four days; a sad end to a really topsy-turvy year for the studio.

Still better than Paramount, which saw audiences intrigued enough to give Alexander Payne’s $68 million-budgeted Downsizing $7.2 million, but do not expect word of mouth to be very encouraging. Lionsgate’s Wonder will be passing both Now You See Me and Fahrenheit 9/11 this week to become the second highest-grossing non-franchise (i.e. Hunger Games, Twilight, Divergent) in the studio’s history behind just La La Land.

On the limited theatrical front, Focus added 722 theaters for Darkest Hour and it grossed more this weekend than Father Figures for a total of $8.2 million to date. Fox Searchlight added 568 theaters for The Shape of Water and it grossed $4.3 million for $8.8 million total. Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World opened to $2.6 million on Christmas Day.

Finally, Steven Spieberg’s The Post found its way into nine theaters this weekend and it grossed $526,011 through Sunday and $830,000 through Monday. Lincoln opened to $944,308 in 11 theaters back in 2012. The Post opens wide on January 5 and hopes by then Star Wars will have dropped low enough for it to snag the top spot from it.


If you want to listen to Erik Childress’ Holiday Box Office Prediction Show, you can download the podcast.

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on WGN Radio with Nick Digilio as well as on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[Box office figures via Box Office Mojo.]

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