Sam Mendes’ World War I epic 1917 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. Little Women came in at No. 6 with another $7.7 million for a strong domestic total of $74 million.
The Sony pic has crossed the $100 million worldwide mark after finishing Sunday with an early foreign total of $33.2 million.
Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios
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