Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Drink to 'The Last Jedi' and 'Jumanji' atop the box office for Boxing Day 2017

I checked one prediction and made another at the end of Vox explains how 'The Star Wars Holiday Special' contributed to Star Wars Legends.
I'm not done with Star Wars this week.  After I post the Broken Peach Christmas songs I promised just before Halloween, I plan on posting a follow-up to 'The Last Jedi' is a force at the box office.  One of my predictions, that it will pass "Thor: Ragnarok" to hit sixth, has already happened.  It could easily pass both "It" and "Spider-Man: Homecoming" by Tuesday.  As I wrote last year about "Rogue One" being a force at the box office, "I wasn't optimistic enough about the movie's performance at the box office!"
Once again, reality exceeded my expectations, as Box Office Mojo lists "The Last Jedi" in third with $397,271,356 in North American box office receipts as the movie not only passed "It" and "Spider-Man: Homecoming," but also "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," something I didn't expect until the end of the week.

I may have been surprised, but Wochit Entertainment putting Business Insider's words to pictures wasn't, as both predicted 'The Last Jedi' To Become 3rd Highest Grossing Movie of 2017 on Christmas Eve.

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" is set to become the 3rd highest-grossing movie of the year by Christmas. According to BoxOfficePro, the movie will have earned $100.6 million in its second weekend in theaters by Monday. "The Last Jedi" is also nearing a $1 billion worldwide gross. With a total of $397 million domestically by Christmas day, it will pass Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2." and take its place behind "Beauty and the Beast" and "Wonder Woman."
As for the other speculative fiction movies in theaters, Forbes has the news in Box Office: 'Last Jedi,' 'Jumanji' And 'Pitch Perfect 3' Rule Christmas Weekend.
The big newbie news, and the rest of this post is just for new releases, was Columbia and Sony's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The $90 million-budgeted sequel to the popular 1995 Robin Williams fantasy parlayed strong reviews and a kid-friendly cast (Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan) and a strong inversion of the original film's premise (this time, our heroes go into the game, a video game no less) into a whopping $67m Wed-Mon debut weekend (a dynamite 9.3x six-day multiplier), including $36m over the Fri-Sun launch. It should have over/under $70m by tonight, thanks to $1.9m worth of sneak preview grosses.
I'm sure "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" will be nominated for at least one Saturn Award.  The only uncertainty I have is which category, Action or Fantasy; I hope it's fantasy, as it would improve the category and have a better chance of winning.  Besides, it's a better fit with the genre.

That was the successful new speculative fiction release.  Follow over the jump for the flop.
Paramount/Viacom Inc.’s Downsizing debuted on Friday in wide release, trying its best to be the adult movie of choice amid a crowd of kid-friendly crowdpleasers. But that’s a tough place to be when A) a lot of adults are seeing the kid stuff, B) the reviews aren’t exactly off-the-charts and C) there is a lot of high-quality adult-skewing fare in some level of wide release. As such, with mixed reviews, brutal competition and most of the publicity concerning Matt Damon’s foot-in-mouth commentary about Hollywood’s legacy of sexual harassment, the Alexander Payne comedy earned just $4.9 million over the Fri-Sun weekend.

That sets the movie up for a miserable $7.4 million Fri-Mon debut weekend. Barring a possible Oscar nomination for Hong Chau, there is little reason to expect this $68m-budgeted fantasy, which for the record I liked just fine, to stay in theaters beyond the MLK holiday. This is another critical blow to both Paramount and Matt Damon (following The Great Wall and Suburbicon) and a poor end to another miserable year for the Viacom-owned studio. For their sake, I really hope that Mission: Impossible 6 is at least as good as Rogue Nation or Ghost Protocol
That's too bad about "Downsizing."  It might sneak into the Best Science Fiction Film category at the Saturn Awards because this year's crop of science fiction films is big but mostly mediocre, as I noted in 'The Shape of Water' leads speculative fiction at the 2018 Critics' Choice Movie Awards.  I have more hopes that Hong Chau might earn a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Saturn Awards, but that ceremony honors entertainment, not art.

By the way, that mention of "The Great Wall" being disappointing is one of the reasons why I want "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" nominated in fantasy.  The Matt Damon action fantasy is a lot like the mediocre science fiction films of this year and deserves The Rock and a bunch of CGI animals to stampede over it.

Two other speculative films beat "Downsizing" at the weekend box office, both of them animated, as Variety reported.
“Downsizing” finished in seventh place behind Fox’s second weekend of “Ferdinand” with $9.7 million at 3,630 sites and Disney-Pixar’s fifth weekend of “Coco” with $7.4 million at 2,111 locations. “Coco,” which led the North American box office for three weekends before “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” opened, has totaled $163.5 million in 34 days.
That means "Downsizing" was the fifth best speculative fiction film this weekend (the top two non-genre films are "Pitch Perfect 3" and "The Greatest Showman" in third and fourth).  Too bad, as the New Yorker review noted the movie has aspirations beyond comedy.
Paul and his new friend travel to Norway, where the movie began, and join a utopian adventure—a village of the downsized, whose inhabitants aim to establish a subterranean home, where they will, over generations, sit out the ecological death and renaissance of Earth. We’ve come a long way from Omaha. This is touching and unorthodox stuff; Payne has not struck an apocalyptic note before, and Paul’s transformation from a mousy dullard to a visionary who plays bongo drums at sunset, beside a fjord, is one that maybe only Damon could handle.
While I've seen this before, most recently in "Wayward Pines," it's exactly the kind of movie that fits with this blog's theme.

There was one other speculative fiction film in the top ten, as Variety reported.
Fox Searchlight’s expanded run of Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” followed in 10th with $4.3 million at 726 locations. The fantasy drama, nominated for a leading seven Golden Globes, has totaled $8.9 million in four weeks of limited release.
That means speculative fiction has six spots in this weekend's top ten.  It's another good year for genre film overall.

Finally, "The Last Jedi" is within easy striking distance of "Wonder Woman" and could pass it by this Friday to become the second highest grossing movie of 2017.  It will eventually pass "Beauty and the Beast" to earn about $600 million in domestic box office and well over $1 billion worldwide, becoming the highest grossing film released this year, but that will happen well into January. Until then, I wish to toast the film's success with Star Wars Cocktails from WXYZ.

Bottoms up and may The Force continue to be with "The Last Jedi."

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