NEW YORK -- Meryl Streep, Liam Neeson, Taraji P. Henson and Paddington Bear and all rushed into movie theaters over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, but Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle still roared the loudest with an estimated $35.1 million in ticket sales, Friday through Tuesday.
Coming closest was Steven Spielberg's Pentagon Papers drama The Post, starring Streep as Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham and Tom Hanks as editor Ben Bradlee. Twentieth Century Fox is forecasting $18.6 million for the weekend and $23 million for the four-day holiday.
It's a solid result for The Post in its nationwide expansion following several weeks of limited release. Made for about $50 million and fast-tracked after the election of President Donald Trump, The Post is considered by many a timely commentary on the power of the press, and a rebuke of Trump from some of Hollywood's biggest names.
"It resonates with an older audience because they were around and remember this particular moment in time," said Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson. "But it really resonates with a younger audience and that's the segment of the audience that will continue to discover this movie and realize how timely it is."
In third place was The Greatest Showman. Hugh Jackman's portrayal of P.T. Barnum pocketed about $16 million in its fourth week of release. With strong word of mouth, the 20th Century Fox-distributed movie has taken in about $99 million.
Landing in fourth was the Neeson thriller The Commuter, a Lionsgate release in partnership with Studiocanal. The modest $16 million opening for the film -- Neeson's fourth with director Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop, Unknown, Run All Night) -- suggested some of the thrill of Neeson's action-movie period, kicked off 10 years ago with the $145 million hit Taken, may be waning.
The children's book adaptation sequel Paddington 2 opened with $15 million. The film, originally to be distributed in North America over the Christmas holiday by The Weinstein Co., was sold to Warner Bros. after any association with the disgraced Weinstein Co. co-chairman Harvey Weinstein was deemed toxic for the film.
The juggled rollout of the movie -- plus the breakout success of Jumanji as the go-to family film -- may have hurt Paddington 2. Despite rave reviews, it did about half the $19 million debut of its 2015 predecessor.
The R-rated Proud Mary, starring Henson as a hit woman, followed close behind with $11.7 million. Though some accused Sony's Screen Gems of burying the film (it didn't screen for critics), the movie drew poor reviews and even criticism from John Fogerty, who accused the film of exploiting the title to his Creedence Clearwater Revival classic.
The plethora of releases, along with a host of awards contenders in limited release (led by Darkest Hour, with $5.4 million following Gary Oldman's Golden Globe win for best actor) pushed the weekend box office to about $190 million for the four-day holiday frame, according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. Albeit shy of the 2015 record MLK weekend when Clint Eastwood's American Sniper opened, it's a strong start for Hollywood's 2018 after an up-and-down 2017.
Most surprising, though, is that the holiday season holdover powering the January box office isn't Star Wars: Episode VIII -- The Last Jedi but Jumanji. The reboot, starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black, has now been the no. 1 film two weeks running after spending its initial two weeks of release trailing The Last Jedi.
Don't weep for The Last Jedi. The Disney release at No. 6, which added $14.6 million in its fifth weekend, has grossed about $595 million in U.S. and Canadian theaters, ranking it as the sixth highest grossing film of all time domestically. This weekend, it passed Disney's own Beauty and the Beast to make it the top global release of 2017 with $1.264 billion worldwide.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Tuesday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Tuesday by comScore:
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Columbia, $35,176,695, 3,849 locations, $7,301 average, $291,312,604, 4 Weeks.
The Post, 20th Century Fox, $23,055,654, 2,819 locations, $6,868 average, $27,544,891, 4 Weeks.
The Greatest Showman, 20th Century Fox, $16,177,587, 2,938 locations, $4,244 average, $98,931,455, 4 Weeks.
The Commuter, Lionsgate, $15,795,899, 2,892 locations, $4,738 average, $15,795,899, 1 Week.
Paddington 2, Warner Bros., $15,003,359, 3,702 locations, $2,972 average, $15,003,359, 1 Week.
Star Wars: Episode VIII -- The Last Jedi, Disney, $14,627,721, 3,090 locations, $3,836 average, $594,902,305, 5 Weeks.
Insidious: The Last Key, Universal, $14,353,765, 3,150 locations, $3,943 average, $50,594,905, 2 Weeks.
Proud Mary, Columbia, $11,701,440, 2,125 locations, $4,687 average, $11,701,440, 1 Week.
Pitch Perfect 3, Universal, $7,326,950, 2,505 locations, $2,393 average, $96,326,175, 4 Weeks.
Darkest Hour, Focus Features, $5,415,720, 1,693 locations, $2,636 average, $36,631,272, 8 Weeks.
Ferdinand, 20th Century Fox, $4,863,022, 2,154 locations, $1,638 average, $76,891,116, 5 Weeks.
Coco, Disney, $4,618,538, 1,362 locations, $2,446 average, $198,161,978, 8 Weeks.
Molly's Game, STX Entertainment, $4,618,479, 1,708 locations, $2,267 average, $21,447,576, 3 Weeks.
I, Tonya, Neon Rated, $4,068,388, 517 locations, $6,504 average, $10,767,207, 6 Weeks.
The Shape of Water, Fox Searchlight, $3,450,402, 723 locations, $3,921 average, $27,172,294, 7 Weeks.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Fox Searchlight, $3,075,421, 1,022 locations, $2,464 average, $29,283,880, 10 Weeks.
Lady Bird, A24, $2,157,666, 652 locations, $2,712 average, $37,373,875, 11 Weeks.
Wonder, Lionsgate, $1,627,928, 970 locations, $1,248 average, $129,016,502, 9 Weeks.
All the Money in the World, Columbia, $1,484,807, 1,408 locations, $869 average, $23,310,867, 3 Weeks.
Phantom Thread, Focus Features, $1,391,276, 62 locations, $18,513 average, $2,473,054, 3 Weeks.
MovieStyle on 01/19/2018
Print Headline: Jumanji keeping The Post at bay