Sam Mendes’ World War I epic 1917, as we predicted conquered the box office battlefield with a stellar $36.5 million weekend, one of the best nationwide starts ever for the month of January and well ahead of projections.
The victory was fueled by the movie’s top Golden Globe wins on Jan. 5 for best motion picture for a drama and best director, along with word of mouth generated by the film’s limited run in select theaters. (Including those grosses, its domestic tally through Sunday stands at $39.2 million). Overseas, 1917 also marched to strong numbers on the eve of Monday’s Oscar nominations, earning $19.9 million from its first 30 markets for an early foreign tally of $21.1 million and $60.4 million globally.
The U.K. led with a stellar $9.5 million, a bigger bow than that of such hits as The King’s Speech and Darkest Hour, not adjusted for inflation. Heading into the weekend, the Amblin and Universal release — filmed to appear as if it were unfolding in one continuous shot — had been expected to earn $20 million to $25 million, considering it is a period war pic with no A-list stars in the lead roles.
The film, which received an A- CinemaScore, drew an audience that was 60 percent male and skewed older (50 percent of ticket buyers were over the age of 35). 1917 cost Amblin a reported $90 million to produce before marketing; partners included New Republic Pictures and eOne. The Mendes effort wrested the box office crown from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker which finally fell to No. 2 in its fourth weekend with $15 million as it prepares to join the billion-dollar club globally. The Disney and Lucasfilm pic grossed another $24.2 million offshore for a worldwide cume of $989.6 million. Holiday holdover Jumanji: The Next Level followed with $14 million in its fifth outing for a domestic tally of $257.1 million and $414 million overseas, including $22.6 million for the weekend. The sequel’s worldwide total stands at $671.1 million.
Paramount’s Like a Boss had to settle for fourth place in its debut with $10 million. The first studio R-rated comedy of 2020 stars Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne and Salma Hayek and tells the tale of two best friends whose beauty company is targeted by a cosmetics titan. Like a Boss was lambasted by critics, but it fared somewhat better with audiences, who gave it a B CinemaScore.
Roughly 60 percent of ticket buyers were female, while 64 percent were age 18 to 34.
Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Universal Pictures
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