No surprise that studios steered clear of releasing anything major for Super Bowl 52 weekend aside from the very low reviewed “Winchester” starring Helen Mirren. This was an obvious attempt at bringing in females who might not be interested in football.
The studio didn’t notice the latest NFL pools showing that white men are leaving by droves while women have remained unchanged in their interest in watching hyped up men in those tight uniforms slamming into each other relentlessly.
The heir to “Titanic” is … “Jumanji: Welcome the Jungle”?
For the first time since James Cameron’s 1998 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. Though “The Death Cure” is behind the pace of the first two “Maze Runner” films, it’s made $142.9 million overseas, including an international-best $35.2 million this weekend.
But 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-CBS Films release, inspired by the true story of Sarah Winchester, a firearm heiress who, in the early 1900s, came to believe that people killed by the Winchester rifle were haunting her labyrinthine house. The film took in roughly $9.3 million, a bit more than analysts were expecting before release. Critics eviscerated the movie, which stars Helen Mirren, but ticket buyers gave it a B-minus grade in CinemaScore exit polls, a relatively good result for the horror genre.
CBS Films paid $3.5 million for the rights to “Winchester,” which was distributed by Lionsgate. Founded in 2007, CBS Films aims to release about four modestly priced movies a year. It focuses on counterprogramming. For instance, the last CBS Films effort, the action thriller “American Assassin,” arrived in September, a month when competitors mostly focus on more serious genres as students return to school. “American Assassin,” the lone CBS Films wide release in 2017, took in a soft $36.2 million. Ticket sales were likely hindered by “It,” which became an unexpected blockbuster for Warner Bros.
“Winchester” did not perform like a typical horror movie. Ticket sales increased from Friday to Saturday; horror movies often drop after opening day. Horror also tends to appeal primarily to teenage girls. But women over the age of 25 — the line that marks “older” ticket buyers in Hollywood’s view (yes, really) — made up 64 percent of the opening-weekend audience for “Winchester,” CBS Films said.
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.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final three-day domestic figures will be released Monday.
- “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” $11 million ($12.6 million international).
- “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” $10.2 million ($35.2 million international).
- “Winchester,” $9.3 million.
- “The Greatest Showman,” $7.8 million ($16.2 million international).
- “Hostiles,” $5.5 million.
- “The Post,” $5.2 million ($10.3 million international).
- “12 Strong,” $4.7 million ($2.9 million international).
- “Den of Thieves,” $4.7 million ($6.5 million international).
- “The Shape of Water,” $4.3 million ($4.4 million international).
- “Paddington 2,” $3.1 million ($2 million international).
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:
- “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” $35.2 million.
- “The Greatest Showman,” $16.2 million.
- “The Tuche 3,” $14.3 million.
- “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” $12.6 million.
- “Coco,” $11.6 million.
- “The Post,” $10.3 million.
- “Secret Superstar,” $10.5 million.
- “Till the End of the World,” $10 million.
- “The Commuter,” $8.9 million.
- “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” $8.1 million.