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Seven weeks later, ‘Jumanji’ is No. 1 at box office

Feb. 4, 2018 Updated Sun., Feb. 4, 2018 at 7:10 p.m.

This file image released by Sony Pictures shows Kevin Hart, from left, Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan and Jack Black in "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle." (Frank Masi / Associated Press)
This file image released by Sony Pictures shows Kevin Hart, from left, Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan and Jack Black in "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle." (Frank Masi / Associated Press)
By Jake Coyle Associated Press

NEW YORK – The heir to “Titanic” is … “Jumanji: Welcome the Jungle”?

For the first time since James Cameron’s disaster epic, a December release has topped the weekend box office in February. Seven weeks after first opening in theaters, Sony Pictures’ “Jumanji” again took the top spot at the North American box office with an estimated $11 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday.

On a sluggish Super Bowl weekend, that was good enough to surpass last week’s No. 1 film, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure.” The third installment in the YA trilogy slid 58 percent in its second week with $10.2 million in ticket sales.

It’s the fourth weekend out of seven in which the “Jumanji” reboot, starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, has led all films domestically. It has carved an unlikely path on route to its record-setting run. Met with little initial fanfare, “Jumanji” played second fiddle for its first two weeks of release to “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

But riding good word of mouth and relatively little family-film competition, “Jumanji” has become one of Sony’s biggest hits ever, ranking behind only its “Spider-Man” films. It has now grossed $352.6 million in the U.S. and Canada.

The Helen Mirren-led haunted-house horror film “Winchester” was the sole new wide release on a weekend that Hollywood typically cedes to football. The poorly reviewed Lionsgate release opened with $9.3 million.

Total ticket sales were $92 million, according to comScore, a sum that falls behind recent Super Bowl weekends – always among the quietest movie weekends of the year – but above the lowest grossing ever.

Hollywood will instead be largely focused on the trailers debuting during Sunday’s NFL broadcast. About a dozen films will hope to capitalize on the largest U.S. broadcast of the year with high-priced commercial spots intended to raise the awareness of upcoming spring releases and some of the summer’s biggest would-be blockbusters.

Disney hasn’t announced plans, but “Star Wars” fans are hoping to see a spot for the Han Solo spinoff. More likely on tap are ads for “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” Jennifer Lawrence’s “Red Sparrow,” Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and another potential hit for Dwayne Johnson: “Skyscraper.”

And for the first time, Fox Searchlight had films playing in 4,000 or more theaters, thanks to its Oscar favorites “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” which took the top honor at the Directors Guild Awards on Saturday, boosted its theater count from 1,854 to 2,341. The leading Oscar nominee with 13 nods, “The Shape of Water” still slid 21 percent with $4.3 million.

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