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The Last Jedi is giving movie-theatre chains a new hope for 2018.
Walt Disney Co’s latest chapter in the Star Wars saga became the No. 1-grossing movie of the year after generating an estimated $52.4 million in US and Canadian sales over the weekend, according to estimates Sunday from researcher ComScore Inc. The film’s domestic total of $517.1 million for 2017 topped the $504 million tallied by the previous No. 1, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
The success of The Last Jedi, combined with a surprisingly strong run this month from Sony Corp’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, is an encouraging sign for Hollywood, which has been through a brutal year of big-budget bombs and competitive threats. The overall box office in the US, the world’s biggest movie market, finished the year down 2.3 per cent to $11.1 billion, but the latest hits prove it’s possible to lure viewers away from their Netflix accounts.
The Last Jedi has tallied $1.04 billion, Disney said. The movie had been expected to generate $79 million over the four-day weekend, including Monday, BoxOfficePro.com said.
But theatre chains are rooting for Disney’s competitors to put up a better fight than in 2017, when weak offerings, such as Warner Bros’ King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Paramount’s Baywatch, failed to capture the imagination and contributed to a slump in the shares of chains such as AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc and Cinemark Holdings Inc.
Sony has shown some moxie with Jumanji, a remake of the 1995 Robin Williams fantasy. In its second weekend in theaters, where The Last Jedi is playing on multiple screens in many locations, the action-comedy starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson generated $50.6 million, according to ComScore. After exceeding estimates in its first weekend, the movie was expected to make $60 million for the four-day holiday weekend ending Monday, according to BoxOfficePro.com.