NEW YORK (AP) – The heir to “Titanic” is … “Jumanji: Welcome the Jungle”?
For the first time since James Cameron’s 1997 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, about the true-life tale of the 19th-century heiress Sarah Winchester, 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.
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.
1. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” $11 million.
2. “Maze Runner: The Death Cure,” $10.2 million.
3. “Winchester,” $9.3 million.
4. “The Greatest Showman,” $7.8 million.
5. “Hostiles,” $5.5 million.
6. “The Post,” $5.2 million.
7. “12 Strong,” $4.7 million.
8. “Den of Thieves,” $4.7 million.
9. “The Shape of Water,” $4.3 million.
10. “Paddington 2,” $3.1 million.
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