Weekend Forecast: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ & ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ Set to Dominate Christmas Weekend

For the first time since 2006, Christmas Day will land on a Monday this year. As such, this weekend’s forecast below represents how films are tracking for the four-day weekend.

As part of the busy frame, a handful of new releases will enter the end-of-year market in an attempt to counter-program the juggernaut that is Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Despite what will be a deflated three-day weekend (due to Christmas Eve landing on Sunday), that film still stands at a shot at posting one of the top five best second weekends of all-time — it needs to surpass Avengers: Age of Ultron‘s $77.75 million three-day sophomore frame in order to do so. This year’s Beauty and the Beast remake scored $90.4 million for the fourth best, which could also be in reach thanks to Last Jedi‘s generally positive word of mouth among the majority of casual audiences.

This weekend’s outlook:

PROS:

  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is well-poised for a holiday breakout thanks to strong interest from a variety of audiences, the brand name boosting nostalgia and generational appeal, and the combined star power of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black. Reviews from critics stand at a very encouraging 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing, while the action/adventure/comedy nature of the film recalls the massive appeal of 2006’s Night at the Museum when it similarly released around Christmas.
  • The Greatest Showman has waged a strong marketing campaign in recent weeks with awareness reaching strong levels for a musical. Hugh Jackman and the ensemble cast’s appeal are no doubt driving the bulk of interest as the feel-good nature of the movie is perfectly timed with a holiday release.
  • Pitch Perfect 3 will reunite young female fans of the franchise as the trilogy comes to a close. This should be a strong performer among female crowds not as interested in the latest Star Wars or Jumanji film, although those two certainly can claim their fair share of that audience.
  • Downsizing is shooting for adult crowds with Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig — along with writer/director Alexander Payne — hoping to attract the 30+ crowd with a satirical comedy/drama heading into the heart of award season.
  • Father Figures enters the fray as the lone adult-driven comedy available for audiences going into the new year, which could give it a modest advantage in an otherwise challenging marketplace.

CONS:

  • Jumanji‘s only significant disadvantage at this stage is the direct competition with Star Wars. Otherwise, interest has only marinated in a noticeable way since the series revival’s Amazon Prime screenings earned an impressive $2 million earlier this month.
  • The Greatest Showman doesn’t have the same built-in brand appeal as the likes of Les Miserables, but it doesn’t necessarily need to. The 46 percent Rotten Tomatoes score is also a minor concern, although the genre is a bit less sensitive to reviews than others.
  • Pitch Perfect 3 hasn’t demonstrated the pre-release buzz levels of its predecessor, although it was never expected to. Again, the overlapping competition with young female moviegoers interested in Star Wars and/or Jumanji will play into what should be diminished returns relative to Pitch Perfect 2. At 37 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, early critical reactions are also a concern.
  • Downsizing‘s mixed critical reaction (59 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) has dampened some of the initial award season buzz that was presumed to end up as one of the film’s biggest drivers in a crowded market. Social media buzz has been lukewarm.
  • Father Figures has the unfortunate disadvantage of catering mainly to adult male crowds, which is part of Star Wars‘ bread and butter. It has no available reviews at this time, further solidifying our conservative forecasts.

Other Notes:

  • The Post debuts in limited release at 9 locations this weekend. While a top ten finish isn’t likely, it could be one of the weekend’s biggest stories as buzz, relevance, and the Spielberg/Streep/Hanks trifecta drive strong interest.
  • Darkest Hour expands to approximately 700+ locations on Friday.
  • The Shape of Water is expected to expand again this weekend, but no theater count has been confirmed by the studio. With enough theaters, it could top $4 million over the four-day frame and have a shot at the top ten.
  • All the Money in the World debuts on Christmas Day, meaning it will only have one day of grosses to factor into the weekend. With expectations for an opening day around $2 million, it’s excluded it from the top ten forecast below.

The 4-Day Weekend Forecast:

Title Distributor 4-Day Weekend Domestic Total through Monday, December 25 % Change
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Disney / Lucasfilm $115,000,000 $423,300,000 -48%
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Sony / Columbia $39,000,000 $61,500,000 NEW
Pitch Perfect 3 Universal $34,000,000 $34,000,000 NEW
The Greatest Showman Fox $14,000,000 $22,000,000 NEW
Downsizing Paramount $12,000,000 $12,000,000 NEW
Ferdinand Fox $10,700,000 $31,200,000 -20%
Coco Disney / Pixar $7,500,000 $163,800,000 -24%
Father Figures Warner Bros. $7,300,000 $7,300,000 NEW
Wonder Lionsgate $4,600,000 $117,000,000 -12%
Darkest Hour Focus Features $4,200,000 $7,100,000 +395%

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