BO Report: ‘The Last Jedi‘ supercharges business

18 December, 2017 by Don Groves

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi.’

Australian cinemas are set to finish the year on a stratospheric note thanks to the dazzling debut of the second film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, to be followed this Thursday by Paddington 2 and the Boxing Day openers Coco, The Greatest Showman and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.


Whether that combination will be potent enough to elevate the calendar year BO takings close to the 2016 haul of $1.259 billion, an industry record, remains to be seen.

Through December 13 the top 20 titles’ aggregate grosses were down 4 per cent on the same period last year, according to the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA).

Last weekend the top 20 raked in $26.6 million, rocketing up by 223 per cent on the previous weekend, Numero reported.

Lucasfilm/Disney’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi captured $20.9 million at 324 locations, the industry’s second biggest opening ever, trailing Star Wars: The Force Awakens which rang up $27.2 million a year ago.

The previous edition made $38.5 million in its first week and peaked at $94 million, which was always going to be tough to beat.

Writer-director Rian Johnson’s space opera boasting an all-star cast including Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro conjured up an estimated $US220 million in the US (the second biggest of all time behind The Force Awakens) and $US230 million in the rest of the world, with China to come on January 5.

In the US some analysts expect The Last Jedi to reach $750 million, which would rank behind The Force Awakens ($936 million) and Avatar ($760.5 million) on the all-time pantheon.

Fox/Blue Sky Studios’ animated feature Ferdinand was a distant second in in Oz, drawing $1.7 million at 288 cinemas and $2.5 million with previews. Pro-rata that is slightly better than the US opening of $13.3 million but the film is positioned to cash in on the school holidays.

Stephen Chbosky’s Wonder was third, fetching $1.1 million in its third weekend at 303, down 35 per cent. The Lionsgate drama which stars Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson has bagged $8.2 million for Roadshow, achieving the sleeper status it has shown in the US where it’s earned $109.2 million.

Director Sean Anders’ Daddy’s Home 2 is similarly resilient, advancing to $10.6 million after scoring $912,000 in its fourth outing at 279 for Paramount, easing by 35 per cent. Oz is third biggest market outside the US behind the UK and Mexico for the slapstick comedy whose international total is $61 million.

The Warner Bros/DC superhero adventure Justice League reached $19.1 million, buoyed by a fifth weekend take of $400,000 at 257.  The worldwide haul stands at $634 million.

Fox’s Murder on the Orient Express remake chugged along to $14.9 million after pocketing $323,000 in its sixth weekend at 219.  The murder-mystery directed by Kenneth Branagh has grossed a moderate $97.2 million in the US and an impressive $200.7 million in the rest of the world.

Mirroring its wobbly legs in the US, Warner Bros/New Line’s The Disaster Artist tumbled by 57 per cent to $293,000 in its second frame at 200. The comedy-drama about the making of Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 cult film The Room, which stars James Franco, his brother Dave and Seth Rogen, has collected $1.5 million.

Disney’s blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok ascended to $34.5 million after making $248,000 in its eighth go-round at 184. The Marvel superhero adventure directed by Taika Waititi has amassed $841.7 million globally.

Sony’s The Star, an animated film based on the Jesus Nativity story, took $95,000 in its third weekend at 112, off 43 per cent, bringing its cume to a modest $821,000.

Magnum launched Chinese director Feng Xiaogang’s Youth, which follows a group of idealistic adolescents who take part in military cultural troupe in the 1970s, at 19 screens, generating a so-so $84,000.