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‘Jumanji’ Rules Again, as the Box Office Just Can’t Shake Off 2017

January is usually ruled by the prior year's releases, but after "12 Strong" and "Den of Thieves," it's time for 2018 to step up.

“12 Strong”

"12 Strong"

As “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” (Sony) plunders its way to a potential $400 million domestic gross (and not that far under $1 billion worldwide), it took the #1 spot for its third time. Despite the lack of breakout performers, grosses were close to totals last year.

"Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle"

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”

Still, any reversal from the early uptick might be a warning sign. Final 2017 statistics on ticket sales came in, with the six percent fall in total audience making it the lowest attendance since at least 1993, and per capita the lowest draw among the public in even more decades.

“Den of Thieves”

STX Entertainment

All three new releases in the top 10 — “12 Strong” (Warner Bros.), “Den of Thieves” (STX) and “Forever My Girl” (Roadside Attractions) — are independent productions utilizing distributors through service deals. It’s not uncommon (technically, that was the case with “Blade Runner 2049” and Warners), but none are big-ticket items for their distributors. Still, their performances still might suggest a weaker start to the year.

“12 Strong,” an Afghanistan war story (with a Danish director and Australian leading man Chris Hemsworth telling its gung-ho U.S. forces military tale) fills a common January release slot. Going back to “Black Hawk Down” in 2002, titles like “Zero Dark 30,” “American Sniper,” and “Lone Survivor” thrived on this mid-January date.

This time around was more like “13 Hours,” Michael Bay’s Benghazi film, which opened slightly better in 2016 (and was considered something of a disappointment). “12 Strong” can brag about its A Cinemascore and 21 percent second-day increase and could manage a decent multiple, particularly without a lot to compete with over the next two weeks.

“Den of Thieves,” a Los Angeles-set bank robbery thriller with Gerald Butler, had a credible showing, with its urban setting and multi-racial cast adding to its appeal.

“Forever My Girl”

Roadside Attractions

The two films had older-male appeal, so they may have cut into each other. The third more limited film, the young romance novel adaptation “Forever My Girl” managed $4.7 million, not bad for 1,111 theaters. It had a 24 percent Saturday jump, excellent for a younger-female appeal film, which tend to thrive on Fridays.

Still, it’s the holdovers that held up the grosses. “Jumanji” only dropped 29 percent in its fifth weekend; “The Greatest Showman,” only 12 percent. “Paddington 2” fell 25 percent its second weekend.

Part of this is normal: the weaker the new films, the strong the older ones. This year, their appeal almost made up for the huge drop in totals for new releases. But before long, the 2017 titles will run out of steam. It’s time for 2018 to step up.


The Top Ten

1. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Sony) Week 5; Last weekend #1

$20,400,000 (-29%) in 3,704 theaters (-145); PTA (per theater average): $5,410; Cumulative: $316,985,000

2. 12 Strong (Warner Bros.) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 55; Est.  budget: $30 million

$16,500,00 in 3,002 theaters; PTA: $5,496; Cumulative: $16,500,000

3. Den of Thieves (STX) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 50; Est.  budget: $30 million

$15,320,000 in 2,432 theaters; PTA: $6,299; Cumulative: $15,320,000

4. The Post (20th Century Fox) Week 5; Last weekend #2

$12,150,000 (-37%) in 2,851 theaters (+32); PTA: $4,262; Cumulative: $45,191,000

5. The Greatest Showman (20th Century Fox) Week 5; Last weekend #4

$11,000,000 (-12%) in 2,823 theaters (-115); PTA: $3,897; Cumulative: $113,481,000

6. Paddington 2 (Warner Bros.) Week 2; Last weekend #7

$8,240,000 (-25%) in 3,702 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,226; Cumulative: $25,041,000

7. The Commuter (Lionsgate) Week 2;  Last weekend #3

$6,685,000 (-51%) in 2,892 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,312; Cumulative: $25,709,000

8. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Disney) Week 6; Last weekend #6

$6,566,000 (-45%) in 2,456 theaters (-634); PTA: $2,673; Cumulative: $604,284,000

9. Insidious: The Last Key (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #5

$5,945,000 (-52%) in 2,456 theaters (-604); PTA: $2,335; Cumulative: $58,728,000

10. Forever My Girl (Roadside Attractions) NEW – Cinemascore: (none) ; Metacritic: 36; Est.  budget: $4 million

$4,703,000 in 1,115 theaters; PTA: $4,218; Cumulative: $4,703,000

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