Box Office Wrap Up: Maze Runner Outruns Competition.
It seems the (death) cure for Jumanji’s dominance was the final movie in the Maze Runner series.
This week was a breath of fresh air for variety in the top ten. Since the new year, the same movies had been trading spots in the top ten, with Jumanji sitting pretty on the top of the totem pole. With the bump from the Oscar nominations and two new films, the box office shook things up and gave us a new look for the new year.
This Week in Box Office History.
The overall box office earnings were down slightly compared to last year, about 7%, but this was again due to the very strong showing Split made in the early 2017 totals. The box office was actually up this week by a percent compared to last week with the strong performance of Maze Runner: The Death Cure, Hostiles, and a dark-horse entrant in the form of another period epic out of India, Padmaavat.
Despite having reasonable parity week to week, the overall figures for January are down quite a bit from recent years. Unless the final few days can pour it on, we’ll be looking at the second weakest January totals in a decade. One reason for this may be the lack of a break-out hit like Split, Ride Along, or Kung Fu Panda. Another reason may be that Hollywood appears to be tightening it’s belt: we saw that 2017 had noticeably fewer releases when compare to recent years, and January 2018 has nearly 20 fewer new releases to offer than 2017 did in the same time frame.
Top Three Films.
The top spot went to Maze Runner: The Death Cure. This is the third and final film in the Maze Runner trilogy, and it was unable to top the other two films in earnings despite unseating Jumanji for first place. The franchise has generally seen a drop off between entries, and The Death Cure had the additional baggage of a near-tragedy causing the film to release a year late. It will be crucial for the series to maintain a decent earning level as this final installment is the most costly film in the series, coming in at 62 million dollars.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle returned to the second spot after a 3 week stint in first place. It’s continued strong showing has elevated it to the 5th biggest film of 2017, despite most of its earnings coming in 2018!
Third place went to the Christian Bale led western, Hostiles. This film which expanded to wide release status over the weekend, took in 10 million dollars against a 40 million dollar budget. It will likely need to generate some additional critical buzz if it hopes to compete against the slew of Oscar nominated films that are returning to wide release status.
While most of the Oscar nominated films wound up in the top twenty, only two found their way into the top ten. The Post continues to make decent money, adding 8 million dollars to the war chest and landing at the 5th spot. The Shape of Water surfaced back into the top ten for the first time since December, adding 1000 theaters on the strength of its multiple nominations. It made 5 million dollars and settled in at the 8th spot.
The biggest surprise for the top ten snuck into the 10th spot. Padmaavat, a period piece based on an epic poem from the 15th century, made 4 million dollars. While that’s not Baahubali money, it is a strong early showing for India’s expanding global film market. I predicted that we would see more foreign movies crack the top 100 US films in 2018, so I’m glad to see that India is getting its foot in the door early.