LOS ANGELES – Demonstrating the continued drawing power of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” fended off a pair of male-skewing, action-oriented newcomers – “12 Strong” and “Den of Thieves” – to top the box office for a third straight week.
On a relatively quiet weekend in what is generally considered a kind of post-holiday box-office doldrums, the family-friendly “Jumanji” pulled in $20 million, boosted by the lack of competition from any other major tentpoles. With a cumulative domestic haul of nearly $317 million, the film surpassed the 2012 James Bond film “Skyfall” to become Sony Pictures’ fifth highest-grossing movie of all time.
Highlighting the box-office potency of what the film industry broadly considers flyover country, “12 Strong” – the real-life story of a U.S. special forces team sent to Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11, based on the best-selling book “Horse Soldiers” – came in second with $16.5 million, topping expectations of around $15 million.
The Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. release, which stars Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Pena and Trevante Rhodes, resonated particularly with older moviegoers, with nearly 80 percent of the audience over the age of 25. Though reviews were decidedly mixed, the film received an A CinemaScore from moviegoers.
“We really hit a patriotic chord,” said Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros. “Everywhere there’s a military market – in the South, the West, the Midwest – you just see those areas bubble to the top. And when you get outside of the military markets, they’re strong too. We definitely can play for a long time.”
Coming in third – and also skewing toward an older, male audience – STXfilms’ action-thriller “Den of Thieves” earned $15.3 million, a surprisingly robust showing for the critically lambasted, Gerard Butler-starring movie about a group of cops trying to stop a bank heist.
In its second weekend in wide release, director Steven Spielberg’s Pentagon Papers drama “The Post” landed in fourth place, pulling in $12.2 million. With the combined appeal of stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks – and against the backdrop of the Trump administration’s ongoing war against the mainstream press – 20th Century Fox is hoping the film, which has earned more than $45 million to date, will hold strongly in the coming weeks.
Rounding out the top five with $11 million in grosses, Hugh Jackman’s P.T. Barnum musical “The Greatest Showman” continued to show surprisingly strong legs. Since its rather underwhelming opening over the holidays, the film has gone on to gross more than $113 million domestically and over $231 million worldwide.
The weekend’s other newcomer, Roadside Attractions and Liddell Entertainment’s modestly budgeted, country-music-inflected romance “Forever My Girl,” debuted in 10th place with a better-than-expected $4.7 million.
As Oscar season gathers steam, a handful of contenders expanded into wider release over the weekend to try to capitalize on the buzz of awards nominations in what continues to be an unusually wide open and unpredictable race.
In its fourth weekend of release, director Paul Thomas Anderson’s romantic period drama “Phantom Thread” expanded to nearly 900 theaters nationwide, pulling in $3.4 million.
Skating into nearly 800 theaters, the Tonya Harding dramedy “I, Tonya” took in $3 million, while the high-stakes-poker drama “Molly’s Game” earned $1.7 million and the critically acclaimed coming-of-age film “Call Me By Your Name” pulled in $1.5 million.
Meanwhile, the juggernaut that is “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” continued to roll on. Bringing in $6.5 million in its sixth weekend in release, the film became the sixth movie ever to cross the $600 million mark at the domestic box office and has now earned a massive $1.3 billion globally.
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