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'The Last Jedi' tops US$100m for second week in holiday bonanza

The Last Jedi.jpg
The latest Star Wars movie once again led the box office, topping US$100 million in revenues for the second weekend in a row.

[LOS ANGELES] The latest Star Wars movie once again led the box office, topping US$100 million in revenues for the second weekend in a row. But five new releases over the Christmas holidays gave more-earthbound fans plenty of alternatives, including a remake of Jumanji, a Matt Damon fantasy-comedy, and a picture about circus showman P T Barnum.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Walt Disney's space adventure, tallied US$100.7 million in North American ticket sales, according to estimates Monday from researcher ComScore. After opening Wednesday, Sony's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, collected Friday-to-Monday revenue of US$50.4 million, beating estimates.

The weekends around Christmas are among the busiest for theaters. Exhibitors count on filling a lot of seats, even if a couple of the new movies were dubbed turkeys by critics.

Revenues for The Last Jedi dropped 54 per cent from the previous weekend, a typical decline for major blockbusters and a rebound from a larger decline through Sunday.

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Some of the earlier drop was due to Christmas Eve, a usually weak day, falling on a Sunday, said Gitesh Pandya of Box Office Guru. And a good part of the decline "is due to the fan base coming out upfront already," to see the film in its first few days.

Jumanji was one of the better-reviewed new movies in wide release. Starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan, the film came in second over the weekend.

The movie is a remake of the 1995 Robin Williams fantasy with a twist. In the original, Williams's character is freed from a board game where he's been trapped for years. In this version, four teenagers discover an old video game and are pulled into its jungle setting.

The new Jumanji got a 78 per cent favourable rating at RottenTomatoes.com, which consolidates critics' reviews. BoxOfficePro.com predicted sales of US$39 million through Christmas Day.

Pitch Perfect 3, a sequel from Comcast's Universal Pictures starring Anna Kendrick, opened with long weekend sales of US$25.6 million to place third, trailing estimates.

In the new movie, the singing Bellas reunite for a last competition. RottenTomatoes gave a low 27 per cent rating to the film, which was expected to produce extended weekend sales of US$34 million through Christmas Day.

The Greatest Showman, from 21st Century Fox, features Australian actor Hugh Jackman as circus ringmaster and businessman P T Barnum. The film, which opened Wednesday, generated sales of US$14 million, matching BoxOfficePro's four-day estimate. Critics were split, giving the picture a 51 per cent favorable rating.

Ferninand, Fox's version of the story of the gentle bull, brought in US$9.7 million over the four-day period after opening last week. The animated film features the voices of Kate McKinnon along with John Cena as the title character.

In its fifth weekend, Walt Disney's Coco totalled US$7.4 million during the four-day period. The animated film from the studio's Pixar unit centres on Mexico's Day of the Dead.

Downsizing opened with four-day weekend sales of US$7.3 million for Viacom's Paramount Pictures. Damon stars as an occupational therapist who joins a community of people who have shrunk themselves to save the planet and make their buying power go further. The film, from the director of The Descendants and Sideways, garnered a 52 per cent positive rating from critics.

In its fifth weekend, Focus Features's Darkest Hour starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, totalled US$5.4 milion during the four-day period.

Father Figures, distributed by Time Warner's Warner Bros, opened with four-day weekend sales of US$4.9 million, compared with a forecast of up to US$7.3 million. The film stars Owen Wilson and Ed Helms as fraternal twins on a road trip to find their real father. The movie garnered a low 24 per cent positive rating at RottenTomatoes.

The Shape of Water, a potential awards contender from director Guillermo del Toro, expanded to more theaters this weekend and posted sales of US$4.3 million through Monday. The film has a 94 per cent positive rating with critics.

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