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Weekend Box Office: You’re in the jungle, Last Jedi. You’re gonna die!

Photo: Sony

Three weeks have elapsed since The A.V. Club checked in on the U.S. box office. “It’s just going to be Star Wars anyway,” we smugly told ourselves, curled up before an open fire, sipping eggnog/champagne, secure in our faith that, when it comes to selling out theaters for weeks on end, Jedi mind tricks still do the trick. And, well, it was Star Wars that topped the charts over both the pre-Christmas and pre-New Year’s weekends, continuing the trend of December-into-January dominance started by The Force Awakens and continued by Rogue One a year ago. But it wasn’t just The Last Jedi that made piles of cash over the holidays. Another sequel to a special-effects-heavy hit has emerged to challenge the mighty space opera—and on this second weekend of 2018, to send it screaming from its perch, like a force-endowed farmboy nosediving off a catwalk to reject the influence of his basso-voiced, black-clad father.

Welcome To The Jungle, the Jumanji sequel no one knew they wanted until The Rock and Kevin Hart agreed to star in it, rose to first place this weekend, its third in release. The $55 million it opened to over Christmas promised a hit. But the film (the second in this unexpected franchise, though the mostly forgotten Zathura kind of counts, too, doesn’t it?) pulled a Titanic and did even better in weekend two, adding $66 million over New Year’s, presumably as folks who had already seen The Last Jedi (once or more times) decided to give a shot to a high-concept comedy also playing in a theater near them. For a while there, Jumanji was climbing the list of highest-grossing movies never to reach first place at the box-office. Now that it’s briefly usurped Star Wars (something that almost happened last weekend, to be honest), it’s just a common huge hit: $244 million in the States, more than twice that globally. (Surely, the comedy’s success contributed to the dismal returns of Father Figures, which has made only $16 million over the same time period—a far cry from what, say, Daddy’s Home managed as Force Awakens counterprogramming.)


The Last Jedi actually slipped to third place in its fourth weekend, getting edged out not only by Jumanji but also the latest product off the Blumhouse assembly line, Insidious: The Last Key, whose bad reviews (and not-great B- CinemaScore) didn’t prevent it from scoring a surprisingly solid $29-million debut. But lest one assume that scandalized, frustrated fans have done much real damage to the returns of the blockbuster sequel they want stricken from the canon, The Last Jedi is still, quite safely, a massive smash. It became the biggest hit of 2017 on New Year’s Eve, and now sits at $572 million, still about $50 million shy of catching The Avengers and breaking the domestic top-five of all time, but c’mon. And while, yes, The Last Jedi did take a steep fall in its second weekend, it’s only by absurdly inflated Star Wars standards that this thing could be considered less than a very big financial success.

Besides Jumanji, the other surprise success of the season may be fourth-place finisher The Greatest Showman; the Hugh Jackman musical has made $75 million in three weeks, which is only about $10 million less than what fifth-place finisher Pitch Perfect 3 has made over the same timeframe. (Admittedly, the Bellas are underperforming: Ads proclaiming this the “Last Call” for the series could actually be honest, given that part three is currently trailing part two by about $100 million.) Meanwhile, Molly Game’s made $7 million in its first weekend of wide release, while I, Tonya added 242 screens and about $2 million to its total. As for per screen average, the big winners were The Post ($47,222 per screen), which goes wide this Friday, and one of The A.V. Club’s favorite movies of 2017, Phantom Thread ($40, 833 per screen).

For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.

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