Until Sunday Sony’s action comedy Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was already the fourth highest-grossing film that never reached number one, but that distinction ended when the faux board game-inspired sequel took the box office crown in its third weekend with an estimated $36 million, while the fourth film in the Insidious horror movie series debuted strongly with an estimated $29.3 million, ahead of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which earned $23.5 million in its fourth frame.  Overall 2018 got off to a good start at the box office with the total of the top 12 films was up a healthy 18.8% from the first weekend of 2017, when Hidden Figures went wide and topped the box office with $22.8 million.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle dropped just 28% in its third weekend as it added $36 million to bring its domestic gross to $244.4 million.   Welcome to the Jungle will soon roar past Night of the Museum ($250 million) and top the action/comedy genre with a domestic run that should extend well past $300 million and make it the top Sony release ever that didn’t feature a famous comic book wall-crawler.

Overseas Welcome to the Jungle continues to shine and has already earned $275 million for a current global total of $519 million.  The Jumanji sequel opens in China next week, though there is no guarantee that audiences in The Middle Kingdom will make the film a hit there (see The Last Jedi).

Made for just $10 million, Insidious: The Last Key is just the latest micro-budgeted horror film to make a splash on the first weekend of the year.  The Last Key, the fourth film in the Insidious series, delivered the franchise’s second biggest debut, $29.26 million, a seven million increase over Insidious 3. Females made up a slight majority of the crowd (51%), which was on the young side with just 41% over 25.   The only negative element in the debut of the fourth Insidious film was the audience’s “B-“ CinemaScore, the lowest grade in franchise history.

Opening in 33 overseas markets, The Last Key pulled in a remarkable $201 million debut.  2017 was a great year for horror films, with a number of big hits including Split, Get Out, Annabelle: Creation, and It, and 2018 has already produced a solid financial win for the genre with The Last Key.

With its current $572.5 million domestic total, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has already past Rogue One’s North American run ($558 million), but the film’s momentum has clearly slowed, and it looks like it will finish its run much closer to Rogue One than to The Force Awakens ($936.7 million domestic).  Much will probably be made of the $300 million gap between the grosses of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, but it will likely amount to the same sort of 30-32% drop experienced by The Empire Strikes Back after the extraordinary success of the first Star Wars film.

Overseas The Last Jedi opened poorly in China with $28.7 million, which is very close to Rogue One’s $30 million bow.  For whatever reason the Chinese have not embraced the Star Wars franchise, even The Force Awakens earned just $125 million there.  Still The Last Jedi has earned over $1.2 billion worldwide and will end its run as the 2017 global box office champ as well as the domestic winner.

With the number of Star Wars films that Disney is producing, outsized hits like The Force Awakens, which marked the return of the franchise, will be outliers, but by any box office standards The Last Jedi, which will end up earning around six times its cost, is a major hit.  The well-reviewed (and attended film) has been attacked by a vocal contingent of fans, but if The Last Jedi has truly damaged the franchise, we won’t know until the next Star Wars film, Solo is released (and even if that film struggles, there will be a debate about whether it is the quality of Solo or the “hangover” effect from The Last Jedi that is responsible).

Weekend Box Office (Studio Estimates): January 5-7, 2018


Weekend Gross



Total Gross



Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle







Insidious: The Last Key







Star Wars: The Last Jedi







The Greatest Showman







Pitch Perfect 3














Molly's Game







Darkest Hour














All the Money in the World






Fox’s musical The Greatest Showman, a musical biopic about P.T. Barnum, started slowly, but has developed strong legs.  It dropped just 11% in its third frame and has now made nearly $76 million here in North America and an equal amount overseas.  The $84 million production is not in the black yet, but there is no little doubt that it will get there.

Also successful, though less so than the predecessors in its franchise, is Pitch Perfect 3, which earned $10.2 million to bring its domestic total to almost $86 million.  While Pitch Perfect didn’t expand its audience much beyond its core following of younger females, the film was made for just $45 million, so it has been able to do just fine relying on an underserved demographic for support.

The newcomer to the bottom half of the top ten is Aaron Sorkin’s Molly’s Game, which stars Jessica Chastain.  Expanding to 1,608 theaters, Molly’s Game posted a solid $4,353 per-venue average, and the film has gotten some awards buzz, which could keep it hanging around the bottom half of the top ten for some weeks to come.

Slipping just outside the top ten was Guillermo Del Toro’s adult fairy tale The Shape of Water, which is still in just 804 theaters.  So far this Fox Searchlight release has earned $21.7 million.

Doing well in limited release was the Margot Robbie-starring Tanya Harding biopic, I, Tanya, which average over 10K per venue from 242 theaters, Stephen Spielberg’s saga of the Pentagon Papers, The Post, which averaged $47,222 from 36 theaters, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, which averaged $40,883 in six theaters.

Be sure to check back here next week as the 2018 movie season begins in earnest with the release of the Liam Neeson-starring thriller The Commuter in 2,600 theaters, along with the live-action/animated hybrid Paddington 2, the Taraji P. Henson-starring action/thriller Proud Mary, and the expansion of Steven Spielberg’s The Post, which goes nationwide.