Box Office Wrap Up: Jumanji, Insidious Key to Strong Start.
January 2018 is off to an encouraging beginning with Jumanji and Insidious providing big numbers.
After biding its time in second place for nearly a month, Jumanji finally passes Star Wars: The Last Jedi as the top earning domestic film. The unexpected staying power of the Dwayne Johnson action comedy has it still adding theaters to its roster. As Star Wars mania begins to fade, many of the smaller releases that are gearing up for awards season are also expanding their audiences. This is shaking up the composition of the top ten, especially since only one new wide release surfaced this week: Insidious – The Last Key. Fortunately for Universal, that one new film had the second biggest opening in the franchise’s history.
This Week in Box Office History.
Looking back at the last decade, the first weekend of January is a bit of hodge-podge. About half of the #1 films are big blockbuster holdovers from the holiday season like Star Wars, Avatar, The Hobbit and similar films. The rest of the list is split pretty evenly between comedies and horror movies. That makes sense seeing as our top three films this week are a Star Wars movie, an action comedy, and a horror flick.
The box office took in 163 million dollars, the third best year in the last decade. It’s down about 15% from last week when Star Wars was still packing in the New Year’s holiday crowd, but its up 19% over last year when the big draw was the surprise financial and critical hit Hidden Figures.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has hung tough in second place ever since its debut and has managed to cultivate a strong word of mouth following. The film added 36 million dollars in its third week, dropping only 28% in ticket sales and adding more screens in the process. There’s apparently still room for this comedy, which pairs The Rock and Kevin Hart for a second time, to grow.
Second place went to the newcomer, Insidious: The Last Key. The opening take of 29 million is the second best debut for the four-film franchise. The second installment took in 40 million, but the third installment faltered with a 22 million dollar opening. All four films have been financial successes, owing to the very modest budgets they boast. It should continue to do well as there are no other horror films on the horizon until February.
Star Wars rammed its ship into the fleet to the tune of 23 million dollars, good enough for third place. After four weeks, the film has taken in 570 million dollars at home, about 300 million dollars less than The Force Awakens at the same point. The drop off of 55% in ticket sales is probably not a great sign for theater owners who Disney strong-armed into running the film for an extended period in premium positions. I’d be interested to see if they have the brass mouse-ears to try this strategy for the beleaguered Han Solo movie this summer.
National expansions of Oscar hopefuls filled up many of the remaining spots. Molly’s Game, Darkest Hour, and All the Money in the World found their way into the bottom half of the list. Other films gearing up for big pushes like The Shape of Water, The Post, Call Me By Your Name, and I Tonya all just barely missed the top ten while still adding screens. The Post, in particular, is looking to make a big splash this coming week, so expect to see more on that film soon.