I paid off my student loans early



Through the first two weeks of 2018, the box office shows no signs of slowing down after a very busy and lucrative holiday season. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle leads Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, adding yet another $36 million to its coffers in its fourth weekend. The Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart pairing has now earned nearly $300 million, and it has quietly moved into eighth place among all 2017 box office titles. It should eventually overtake Thor: Ragnarok with a shot at toppling It and Spider-Man: Homecoming. What’s even more impressive is how consistent it has been at the box office. It earned $36 million in its first weekend, and for the three-day frame here, it earned $27 million in its fourth weekend, playing more like a sleeper hit than a major Hollywood blockbuster. It’ll be interesting to see how much longer this one can go. There’s not exactly a lot of family fare standing in its way in the upcoming weeks.

Second place this weekend goes to Steven Spielberg’s The Post, which expanded from its limited run into wide release and racked up an impressive $22 million for the four-day weekend bringing its overall total to $26 million. Awards season buzz, its ‘A’ Cinemascore, and our current political climate should also keep The Post humming for at least a few weeks, as moviegoers turn out to see two of Hollywood’s most celebrated stars in Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.

Beyond The Post, Liam Neeson continues to put up decent numbers. The Commuter, which is basically another variation of Taken set on a commuter train, earned $15.8 million for the four-day weekend. That puts it on track to equal its budget ($30 million domestically), add to it with worldwide grosses, and eventually make a profit with broadcast rights because TNT and TBS are exactly where a movie like The Commuter plays best.

Slots four through six all went to holdovers. The Greatest Showman continues to quietly put up consistently healthy numbers, adding another $15 million to bring its overall total to nearly $100 million. For the four-day weekend, Star Wars: The Last Jedi added $14.7 million as it continues to take advantage of repeat viewers. It’s earned nearly $600 million domestic now and over $1.2 billion worldwide. Insidious: The Last Key, meanwhile, added another $14.5 million and after ten days, the $10 million film has already earned $50 million.

If there’s on sour note in this week’s box office, it is the performance of Paddington 2, which really is one of the sweetest, loveliest family films since … the original Paddington. It’s been a huge hit in the UK, where Hugh Grant even earned a BAFTA nomination for his role in the film, but here in the states, it debuts with a middling $14.2 million, short of rosier expectations for the film. With little competition in the coming weeks and strong word of mouth, I hope that the Paddington sequel can successfully build on that number. It deserves to be seen by everyone.

Screen Gems

There were a lot of suggestions this last week that Screen Gems was burying its Taraji P. Henson film, Proud Mary, and that’s probably true, but not for reasons that many assumed. Turns out, it’s not a very good movie, but I think it speaks to the power of Henson that it still earned $11 million despite next-to-no promotion and terrible reviews (23 percent on Rotten Tomatoes).

Finally, Pitch Perfect 3 and The Darkest Hour round out the top ten, earning $6.5 million ($95 million cumulative) and $5.7 million ($37 million), respectively.

Next weekend’s releases are more typical of what we might expect from January. Chris Hemsworth’s 12 Strong opens on 2900 screens, but Hemsworth hasn’t proven able to open a movie on his own outside of the Marvel Universe. His last January release, Blackhat in 2015, only earned $8 million at the box office despite having Michael Mann as director. Meanwhile, Gerard Butler and 50 Cent star in Den of Thieves and Roadside Attractions releases Forever My Girl, which looks like a movie adapted from a country song.

(Via Deadline / Box Office Mojo)

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