The Christmas-weekend box office had a bit of everything — Oscar hopefuls, franchise sequels, another Matt Damon movie, Star Wars — for those who ventured to the theater for a family outing or a much-needed escape from relentless relatives peddling eggnog. (It is bad, despite what my colleagues may tell you.) With so many movies trying to make a splash this weekend, the box office was bound to have both big winners and a few flops.
The Last Jedi topped the field for the second weekend in a row, raking in an estimated $68 million. Though this would be a big haul for most movies, it represented a not-so-nice 69 percent drop-off from The Last Jedi’s opening weekend. The movie’s detractors would say the seemingly divisive response to the film is to blame for the dip, but it’s just as likely that the sheer volume of movies hitting theaters before New Year’s Day spread the wealth. All told, The Last Jedi has made over $750 million worldwide and has yet to open in the world’s second-biggest market, China. A failure, this is not.
Amongst the newcomers, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was the big winner, making an estimated $68 million by the end of Christmas after opening Wednesday. The reboot, which features Kevin Hart, future president Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan, could be the start of a new franchise for Sony. Perhaps later installments could explain why the new world of Jumanji has almost nothing to do with the original Jumanji, but hey: At least there’s pound cake.
Meanwhile, Pitch Perfect 3 wasn’t a complete a-ca-failure, but it didn’t make a huge dent in its debut weekend, earning a little over $25 million since opening Friday. The movie could serve as the final installment in a trilogy — though star Anna Kendrick is game for more Pitch Perfect sequels, which are basically excuses for her to hang out with friends and get paid for it — and was reviled by critics (29 percent “rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes) though a hit among moviegoers (receiving an A-minus grade on CinemaScore). It performed slightly better than The Greatest Showman, which scored a perfect A on CinemaScore, but made less than $20 million domestically since opening Wednesday. Considering the film that triumphantly declared itself “the greatest show” had an $84 million budget, this is a flop for 20th Century Fox. Condolences to Hugh Jackman and his passion project.
At least The Greatest Showman didn’t fare as bad as Downsizing. The sci-fi project from Alexander Payne — about a scientific breakthrough that allows people to live like kings, only shrunk down to the size of Pepperidge Farm Chessmen — was a total disappointment, earning less than $8 million over the four-day weekend on a $68 million budget. It’s another failure this year for Matt Damon, who couldn’t make a domestic impact with Suburbicon or The Great Wall, either. The worst weekend, however, was reserved for Warner Bros.’s new R-rated comedy, Father Figures. Starring Owen Wilson and Ed Helms, the film made less than $5 million over the weekend amid abysmal reviews. (Before I saw another film in theaters this month, a trailer for Father Figures played and a guy sitting a row behind me moaned, “This looks like horse shit.” That just about sums up both Father Figures and the entire New York moviegoing experience.)
In a limited, nine-theater opening, Steven Spielberg’s The Post had a strong showing, with an $830,000, four-day debut. Starring Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, and an all-star cast of supporting actors — including America’s sweetheart, Carrie Coon — the Pentagon Papers drama has a timely political message, and it certainly helps that the movie itself is very good. And just when you think there’s too many movies hitting theaters, Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World — now starring Christopher Plummer instead of Kevin Spacey — is playing nationwide, while Aaron Sorkin’s Molly’s Game and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread begin their limited runs.
If all you want for the week of Christmas is to spend your days inside a theater, you’re in luck. Hopefully Santa left every movie buff a MoviePass subscription under the tree.