Box Office: “12 Strong” and “Den of Thieves” open neck and neck…behind “Jumanji”

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New openings “12 Strong” — “Chickenhawk” producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s latest military outing, and “Den of Thieves,” a lower-budget cops vs robbers Gerard Butler thriller, are arriving in the $13-14 (“Thieves”) and $15 (“Strong”) range on their first weekends at the box office.

“Forever My Girl” cracked the top ten, smart counter programming by Roadside, weak picture. 

It’s the last weekend before Oscar nominations are announced, and the last of what appear to be this year’s major contenders, “Phantom Thread,” has opened wide enough to crack the top ten, not popular enough ($3.5 million or so) to crack that top ten.

“The Greatest Showman,” which got a little notice from the Golden Globes, has dashed past $113 million. Not sure it’s an Oscar contender, but sticking around like that should have merited voting attention. Maybe Hugh Jackman? Some day, they’re going to have to give him a special Oscar if they don’t nominate him for “Logan” or “Showman.” The musical’s at least as good as a few of the other supposed contenders, the most over-rated among them, anyway.

The delightful “Paddington 2” is holding audience share, but didn’t open wide enough to make it a hit.

But the real story continues to be “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” If there had been no “Last Jedi,” which made a boatload of cash in two weeks, Universal’s board game action comedy reboot (video game, now) would be the phenomenon of the winter. It’s still holding audience (another $20 million this weekend), still on top of the box office even as “Jedi” fades into the sunset.

Holding onto your audience share, weekend to weekend, is the mark of a movie that’s connecting with people. “Jedi” opened huge, fell of a cliff, and week to week since, has had steep drop offs. “Jumanji” loses about 20% of last weekend’s take every new weekend. It’s made over $300 million doing that. “Jedi” opened a week before it and has dropped low in the top ten, out of it next weekend, Valentine’s Day at the latest.

“Proud Mary” opened poorly and plunged its second weekend. Out of the top ten. Not sure if all this Screen Gems “They didn’t support Taraji’s movie!” bashing is called for. They knew it was a dog. It wasn’t so much released as “allowed to escape.”

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