Box Office: “The Last Jedi” will become the year’s biggest hit by New Year’s Eve

jedi14The “biggest movie hit of 2017, as of this typing, is not “Wonder Woman,” the film phenomenon of the early summer, but a film that opened in March. “Wonder Woman” owned the summer, taking over $412 million, rewarding Warner Brothers for sticking with that DC comics universe, in spite of everything. “Dunkirk” rode the Christopher Nolan brand to $188 million at the end of the summer, giving Warners that season, at least, even if it was the weakest summer for movie ticket sales in ages.

No, the year’s biggest hit is attributable to a famous George Lucas quote, “Figure out what 12 year old girls want” and make your movie accordingly. “Beauty and the Beast,” Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” a live-action (sorta) remake of a blockbuster animated musical from the ’90s. “Beast” earned $504 million at the domestic box office.

But by the time we all sleep off New Year’s Eve, “The Last Jedi” will have surpassed it.  I

The latest Disney/Lucasfilm blockbuster will top the $1 billion mark, worldwide, by year’s end as well.

It has turned the punters out on weekdays as well since Christmas, but it had a steep second weekend fall-off, and that could happen again this weekend, even though there’s no new competition to challenge its “#1 at the box office” status until deep into January.

Box Office Mojo wa bullish on “Jedi” and didn’t foresee that 67% plunge last weekend, and they’re expecting a $57 million four midday weekend this frame. “Jedi” did $220 on opening weekend, $68 last weekend ($99 when you throw in Xmas day). So let’s just figure $57 is a benchmark and wait to see if it falls off more than that.

Last weekend’s three-day projections started near $90, dropped and dropped as Sat. and Sunday figures came in until it sat at $68. It was supposed to do $112-120 over four days, and “only” managed $99. So “backlash” or not, we’ll see.

Mojo is similarly generous with “Jumanji” projections, figuring another $39 million is headed its way over four days. The critically derided “Pitch Perfect 3” may clear $20, which means this “last” chapter for the Bellas may not be last at all.

“The Greatest Showman,” a Golden Globe contender, could add another $10; “Darkest Hour” and “The Shape of Water,” potential Oscar contenders, will stick in the top ten.

Will a rare Alexander Payne bomb, “Downsizing,” fall straight out of the top ten? Will “Father Figures” follow it? Stay tuned.

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