The Last Jedi came in anything but last place, as the new Star Wars installment opened with a confirmed $220.0 million weekend.
The force was stronger with the sequel, which captured the 2nd-highest opening weekend of all time behind only 2015 predecessor The Force Awakens, which it began 11.2 percent behind.
Adjusted for ticket price inflation, it was the 4th-highest opening ever, behind The Force Awakens, 2012’s The Avengers, and 2015’s Jurassic World.
The film beat most pre-release expectations, which generally projected an opening around $200 million.
Jedi earned more in its opening weekend than this season’s other supposedly-biggest blockbuster Justice League has in total so far, after five weekends of release.
Disney retakes the yearly lead
With this terrific weekend, Disney also once again becomes the highest-grossing Hollywood studio of the year domestically. Their grosses this year stand at $2.07 billion, a bit ahead of Warner Bros. with $2.01 billion.
Disney had led throughout the summer, but Warner Bros. took the lead in September on the strength of hits such as It. Now Disney once more takes the yearly lead during the second half of December — just under the buzzer.
The year-to-date box office now stands at -3.0 percent compared to last year. While that’s behind, it’s an uptick from the low point of -6.3 percent in early September, and it’s also the closest the YTD has come to equalling 2016 since early August.
Overseas, the film launched with the 9th-highest overseas opening ever with $230.8 million — and that’s without the benefit of China, where the film won’t open until January 5. It started 17.8 percent behind the overseas opening for Force Awakens.
Put it all together, and you get the 5th-highest global opening of all time at $450.8 million. It only trailed behind The Fate of the Furious, The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Again, keep in mind that’s without China.
How will Jedi perform from here on out? The original earned a 3.77 multiplier, a ratio of total gross to opening weekend that reflects positive word-of-mouth versus front-loaded hype.
If Jedi can match that, it would earn $831 million. However, audience reception was much more divided than for The Force Awakens, earning a 56 percent audience approval score from Rotten Tomatoes compared to 88 percent for its predecessor.
How did this happen?
What factors allowed Jedi to beat most pre-release expectations?
“So much credit goes to [director] Rian [Johnson] and the LucasFilm team. They’ve done something that’s so hard to do: deliver an experience that’s totally SW, yet in a way that’s totally unexpected and fresh,” Disney’s President of Distribution Dave Hollis said in an exclusive interview with Boxoffice.
“It’s got people talking, there’s a buzz with takes debating one scene versus another. That’s why our projections kept getting bigger from Thursday to today.”
How will it perform moving forward?
“There are so many things to be encouraged by early on. The Amount of walk-up business we’ve seen through the weekend. The Amount of matinee family business,” Hollis said.
“I’m really encouraged by the calendar configuration this year, with Christmas and New Year’s Day both falling on a Monday, which expands the weekend, so really set up for some massively grossing days for the next month or so. Many people will want to come back two or three times.”
See our Sunday update for fuller numbers and analysis, plus the full table of weekend actuals at bottom.
— by Boxoffice staff writer Jesse Rifkin
The Force was definitely with Star Wars: The Last Jedi this weekend. The Rian Johnson-directed sequel took in an estimated $220 million in its opening frame including Thursday night previews, an enormous haul second only to The Force Awakens‘ $247.9 million opening two years ago. Like that film, The Last Jedi was boosted by a warm reception from both critics and audiences, finishing with a 93% “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an “A” CinemaScore.
Overseas, The Last Jedi debuted to a whopping $230 million excluding China, bringing its global haul to an estimated $450 million. In 2015, The Force Awakens brought in $281 million overseas and a global total of $529 million in its first weekend, though pent-up demand was obviously a factor in lifting that film to then-record heights.
This is a gargantuan debut by any measure and makes Star Wars the first franchise in history to have two installments finish north of the $200 million mark in their opening weekends. It also represents a huge increase over the opening of last December’s Star Wars: A Rogue One Story, which debuted to $155 million domestically (and $290.5 million worldwide) on its way to a final domestic gross of $532.1 million.
Given that it finished at the higher end of expectations, it appears word-of-mouth for The Last Jedi has been solid (despite a vocal contingent of disappointed fans who may or may not be responsible for the film’s surprisingly-low 56% Flixster audience rating). That’s an encouraging indicator for its long-term playability, though the coming weeks will obviously provide a better picture on whether it can even come close to The Force Awakens‘ massive $936 million domestic total.
Finishing quietly at No. 2 is the animated comedy Ferdinand, which stumbled a bit with just $13.3 million in its opening weekend. While the Blue Sky/Fox Animation co-production did reasonably well with critics and finished with an “A” CinemaScore, it was no match for The Last Jedi‘s four-quadrant appeal.
Ferdinand‘s debut number is about on par with 2015’s Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, another Fox family offering that opened to $14.2 million two years ago against The Force Awakens. Luckily, that title demonstrated good legs through the holidays and ended its run with $85.8 million domestically. If this one follows a similar trajectory to The Road Chip in the coming weeks, it should finish in comparable territory and hopefully make up some ground overseas.
Part of Ferdinand‘s modest performance this weekend could have been due to the staying power of Disney-Pixar’s similarly family-friendly Coco, which fell to No. 3 from its three-weekend perch at the top of the chart with an estimated $10 million. That represents a drop of only 45% from last weekend, despite The Last Jedi‘s overwhelming presence in the marketplace. The animated hit now boasts a running total of $150.8 million after four weeks, with more left in the tank as students across the country go on holiday break.
In fourth place, Lionsgate’s Wonder added to its impressive haul with another $5.4 million after five weeks. That gives the family weeper a grand total of $109.2 million so far, making it one of the biggest hits of the holiday season and a successful feat of counter programming against heavies like Justice League and Coco.
Speaking of Justice League, the Warner Bros. superhero title fell to No. 5 with $4.1 million, finishing beneath Wonder on the weekend chart for the first time. This is despite the fact that the DCEU tentpole grossed a whopping $66 million more than the latter when the two opened against each other in mid-November. Its total now stands at $219.4 million.
Sixth place went to Daddy’s Home 2, which took in another $3.8 million this weekend, bringing it ever closer to the coveted $100 million mark with a grand total of $96.5 million. While the Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg followup qualifies as a modest success against its reported $69 million budget, it should finish with far less than the first film’s $150.3 million total when all is said and done. In seventh, Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok added another $3 million, giving it a total of $306.4 million after seven weeks of play.
In eighth place, A24’s The Disaster Artist added over 200 theaters but dropped 58% from last weekend, grossing $2.6 million for a total of $12.9 million thus far. In ninth, Fox’s hit mystery-thriller Murder on the Orient Express took in another $2.4 million for a total of $97.2 million, while A24’s acclaimed comedy-drama Lady Bird grossed $2.1 million in tenth place for a very good $25.9 million total after five weeks.
The Last Jedi‘s $450 million global debut is the fifth-highest of all time, behind only The Fate of The Furious (including China), Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World (including China) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Excluding films that opened in China, it sits comfortably in the No. 3 slot. For a more detailed analysis of the film’s global numbers, see Daniel Loria’s in-depth roundup.
Fox Searchlight’s The Shape of Water added another 117 locations and grossed $1.7 million on 158 screens, good for a per-theater average of $11,000. The Guillermo Del Toro-directed Cold War fantasy has been included on many year-end Top 10 lists and racked up seven Golden Globe nominations last week, giving it the kind of buzz it needs to succeed in the prestige-heavy holiday season. It now has $3.6 million after three weeks of release.
Call Me By Your Name expanded to 30 theaters and grossed $491,933, giving it a fantastic per-theater average of $16,398 and a total of $2 million after four weeks in limited release. One of the most acclaimed films of the year, the Sony Classics title picked up three Golden Globe nominations last week and is set to expand further as awards season picks up steam.
Winston Churchill biopic Darkest Hour expanded to 84 locations and grossed an estimated $900,000, giving it a very good per-theater average of $10,714. The prestige pic’s total now stands at $2.3 million.
Neon’s I, Tonya starring Golden Globe nominee Margot Robbie added one theater this weekend and took in $176,189 in five locations, good for a per-theater average of $35,238.
Amazon Studios’ Wonder Wheel took a big tumble in its expansion to 536 screens, grossing just $472,000 for a poor $881 per-screen average. It now has $851,469 and seems destined for a brief theatrical life.
— by Boxoffice staff writer Chris Eggertsen
Weekend Actuals (Domestic)
FRI, DEC. 15 – SUN, DEC. 17
|1||Star Wars: The Last Jedi||$220,009,584||—||4,232||—||$51,987||$220,009,584||1||Disney|
|5||Justice League||$4,309,225||-55%||2,702||-806||$1,595||$219,595,572||5||Warner Bros.|
|6||Daddy’s Home 2||$3,812,824||-36%||2,493||-770||$1,529||$96,592,806||6||Paramount|
|8||The Disaster Artist||$2,717,237||-57%||1,010||170||$2,690||$13,012,367||3||New Line / A24|
|9||Murder on the Orient Express (2017)||$2,527,507||-51%||1,923||-1166||$1,314||$97,310,249||6||Fox|
|10||The Star||$1,730,696||-53%||1,936||-1040||$894||$35,330,916||5||Sony / Columbia|
|11||A Bad Moms Christmas||$1,011,180||-61%||1,038||-1086||$974||$70,753,119||7||STX Entertainment|
|12||Just Getting Started||$1,008,113||-69%||1,840||-306||$548||$5,493,590||2||Broad Green|
|2||The Shape of Water||$1,710,811||50%||158||117||$10,828||$3,593,375||3||Fox Searchlight|
|3||Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri||$1,587,087||-45%||944||-676||$1,681||$21,336,065||10||Fox Searchlight|
|5||Roman J. Israel, Esq.||$140,232||-84%||238||-1215||$589||$11,728,979||5||Sony Pictures|
|8||Blade Runner 2049||$74,827||-72%||121||-267||$618||$91,460,081||11||Warner Bros.|
|9||The Mountain Between Us||$38,802||-84%||112||-423||$346||$30,327,627||11||20th Century Fox|
|10||Despicable Me 3||$38,285||-23%||109||-34||$351||$264,597,815||25||Universal|
|11||The Foreigner||$21,507||-65%||130||0||$165||$34,329,815||10||STX Entertainment|
|1||Darkest Hour||$847,525||14%||84||31||$10,090||$2,338,373||4||Focus Features|
|2||Call Me by Your Name||$486,415||70%||30||21||$16,214||$1,999,893||4||Sony Pictures Classics|
|3||Youth||$338,604||—||30||—||$11,287||$338,604||1||China Lion Film|
|5||Loving Vincent||$79,540||-48%||82||-63||$970||$5,969,959||13||Good Deed Entertainment|
|6||The Thousand Faces of Dunjia||$57,837||—||27||—||$2,142||$57,837||1||Well Go USA Entertainment|
|7||The Florida Project||$55,563||-38%||66||-35||$842||$5,131,300||11||A24|
|8||My Friend Dahmer||$42,406||-67%||40||-70||$1,060||$1,248,693||7||FilmRise|
|9||The Square||$33,507||-39%||41||-16||$817||$1,119,282||8||Magnolia Pictures|
|11||Kingsman: The Golden Circle||$25,877||-45%||92||-44||$281||$100,180,164||13||Fox|
|12||The Swindlers||$21,995||-49%||9||-10||$2,444||$222,360||3||Well Go USA Entertainment|
|13||The Other Side Of Hope||$21,586||-32%||11||9||$1,962||$97,109||3||Janus Films|
|14||Victoria & Abdul||$21,400||-53%||56||-48||$382||$22,179,115||13||Focus Features|
|15||Only The Brave||$18,955||-58%||60||-40||$316||$18,062,909||9||Sony Pictures|
|16||Tom of Finland||$17,310||-40%||8||-4||$2,164||$293,946||10||Kino Lorber|
|18||Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story||$13,571||-26%||8||6||$1,696||$108,807||4||Zeitgeist|
|20||The Killing of a Sacred Deer||$11,855||-46%||23||-18||$515||$2,273,299||9||A24|
|21||Last Flag Flying||$9,607||-80%||18||-67||$534||$960,320||7||Lionsgate|
|22||Let There Be Light||$9,280||-67%||32||-64||$290||$7,197,303||8||Atlas|
|23||Novitiate||$8,912||-62%||16||-74||$557||$556,547||8||Sony Pictures Classics|
|24||Human Flow||$7,597||51%||9||1||$844||$520,609||10||Amazon Studios|
|27||Birdboy: The Forgotten Children||$5,849||—||4||—||$1,462||$5,849||1||GKIDS|
|29||The Ballad of Lefty Brown||$5,559||—||2||—||$2,780||$5,559||1||A24|
|30||Quest (2017)||$4,628||-30%||3||1||$1,543||$26,786||3||First Run Features|
|31||Goodbye Christopher Robin||$4,332||-41%||15||-4||$289||$1,732,264||10||Fox Searchlight|
|32||Battle of the Sexes||$4,135||-51%||12||-8||$345||$12,634,281||13||Fox Searchlight|
|33||Rebels On Pointe||$3,524||625%||3||2||$1,175||$15,088||5||Icarus Films|
|34||Aida’s Secrets||$2,796||-23%||3||-2||$932||$91,257||9||Music Box Films|
|35||BPM (Beats Per Minute)||$1,590||-31%||1||-3||$1,590||$89,842||9||The Orchard|
|36||Naples ’44||$1,476||-73%||1||-1||$1,476||$24,620||3||First Run Features|
|37||The Divine Order||$1,401||-46%||4||-1||$350||$46,021||8||Kino Lorber / Zeitgeist Films|
|38||Brotherhood of Blades 2||$833||-69%||1||0||$833||$13,773||3||Well Go USA Entertainment|
|42||The Paris Opera||$437||203%||2||1||$219||$50,765||9||Film Movement|
|43||Painted Woman||$408||-88%||1||-3||$408||$10,298||6||Amor Media|
|45||Bad Lucky Goat||$157||—||1||—||$157||$4,253||10||Film Movement|
|46||Tragedy Girls||$144||-64%||2||-1||$72||$61,899||9||Gunpowder & Sky|
|47||Chavela||$92||-92%||1||-1||$92||$142,359||11||Music Box Films|
Studio Weekend Estimates (Domestic)
FRI, DEC. 15 – SUN, DEC. 17
|1||Star Wars: The Last Jedi||$220,047,000||—||4,232||—||$51,996||$220,047,000||1||Disney|
|5||Justice League||$4,170,000||-57%||2,702||-806||$1,543||$219,456,347||5||Warner Bros.|
|6||Daddy’s Home 2||$3,800,000||-36%||2,493||-770||$1,524||$96,579,982||6||Paramount|
|8||The Disaster Artist||$2,636,908||-59%||1,010||170||$2,611||$12,932,038||3||New Line / A24|
|9||Murder on the Orient Express (2017)||$2,470,000||-52%||1,923||-1166||$1,284||$97,252,742||6||Fox|
|10||The Star||$1,775,000||-52%||1,936||-1040||$917||$35,375,220||5||Sony / Columbia|
|11||Just Getting Started||$978,923||-69%||1,840||-306||$532||$5,464,400||2||Broad Green|
|2||The Shape of Water||$1,738,000||52%||158||117||$11,000||$3,620,564||3||Fox Searchlight|
|3||Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri||$1,625,000||-43%||944||-676||$1,721||$21,373,978||10||Fox Searchlight|
|5||The Man Who Invented Christmas||$263,819||-63%||319||-401||$827||$5,007,156||4||Bleecker Street|
|6||Roman J. Israel, Esq.||$140,000||-84%||238||-1215||$588||$11,728,747||5||Sony Pictures|
|1||Darkest Hour||$850,000||15%||84||31||$10,119||$2,340,848||4||Focus Features|
|2||Call Me by Your Name||$491,933||72%||30||21||$16,398||$2,005,411||4||Sony Pictures Classics|
|3||Youth||$260,000||—||30||—||$8,667||$260,000||1||China Lion Film|
|5||Loving Vincent||$79,626||-48%||82||-63||$971||$5,970,045||13||Good Deed Entertainment|
|6||The Florida Project||$57,552||-36%||66||-35||$872||$5,133,289||11||A24|
|7||My Friend Dahmer||$40,000||-69%||40||-70||$1,000||$1,246,287||7||FilmRise|
|11||Faces Places||$11,613||-57%||9||-7||$1,290||$566,116||11||Cohen Media Group|
|13||Last Flag Flying||$8,700||-82%||18||-67||$483||$959,413||7||Lionsgate|
|14||The Ballad of Lefty Brown||$6,115||—||2||—||$3,058||$6,115||1||A24|
|15||Birdboy: The Forgotten Children||$5,684||—||4||—||$1,421||$5,684||1||GKIDS|
|16||BPM (Beats Per Minute)||$1,442||-37%||1||-3||$1,442||$89,694||9||The Orchard|
|17||Painted Woman||$276||-92%||1||-3||$276||$10,166||6||Amor Media|
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