Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weekend Box Office: Gentle talking bull embarks on noble suicide mission against Star Wars

Photo: Disney

Before getting to the galaxy-shaking box-office results everyone saw coming from several lightyears away, let’s hear it for the counterprogramming that almost could. Ferdinand, a new animated movie based on the beloved children’s book, opened wide this weekend against a certain eighth chapter in a certain popular sci-fi saga. It got creamed, of course—there’s a reason no other major studio sent a movie into wide release on what’s now firmly established, annually, as Star Wars weekend. And, sure, $13 million isn’t a great start for a movie that reportedly cost more than $100 million before advertising costs; it is, in fact, the worst start for the Blue Sky animation house, whose last Ice Age (part five or eight or 14, who can remember?) managed a good $8 million more in its initial three days. Still, one has to admire Fox’s moxie for not just giving the weekend to Disney—even if Ferdinand’s very modest earnings, possibly inflated by folks forced to see the talking-bull movie when the Star Wars movie was sold out, technically belong to Disney now anyway.

But enough about Ferdinand and its noble, Rogue One-style suicide mission to second place. Surprising absolutely no one, even those who somehow dislike the damn thing, The Last Jedi scored the second highest opening weekend of all time, behind only its immediate predecessor, The Force Awakens. The $220 million it made between Thursday and Sunday is a little shy of Force’s record-high debut in 2015, but significantly better than the $155 million Rogue One managed almost exactly a year ago. At this rate, Last Jedi will almost certainly become the highest grossing movie of 2017. But just how much it can expect to make here in the States depends on how seriously anyone should be taking the mixed notices it’s been receiving from opening-weekend audiences, at least those who take the time to rate the film on Rotten Tomatoes. Not that Disney is sweating it. Last Jedi’s giant debut officially pushed the studio over $2 billion in domestic returns for the year—a benchmark they’ve crossed three years in a row now, and which only Warner Bros. can also lay claim to in 2017.


There’s not much else to report on this final non-holiday weekend of the year. Another Disney film, Coco, held strong in third place, presumably eating into even the small tally Ferdinand managed, while Wonder ($5.4 million) continued to warm hearts in fourth place and the DCEU under-performer Justice League ($4.1 million) closed in on $219 million in fifth place. We’ll check back in after New Year’s to report on how The Last Jedi, that new Jumanji movie, and everything else did over the holidays. Bless its bravery, but don’t bet on a big Ferdinand comeback.

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.


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