'Jumanji' returns to No. 1 at box office after seven weeks

 / Updated  / Source: Associated Press

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NEW YORK — The heir to "Titanic" is ... "Jumanji: Welcome the Jungle"?

For the first time since James Cameron's 1998 disaster epic, a December release has topped the weekend box office in February. Seven weeks after first opening in theaters, Sony Pictures' "Jumanji: Welcome the Jungle" again took the top spot at the North American box office, with an estimated $11 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday.

On a sluggish Super Bowl weekend, that was good enough to surpass last week's No. 1 film, "Maze Runner: The Death Cure." The third installment in the young adult trilogy slid by 58 percent in its second week, with $10.2 million in ticket sales. Although "The Death Cure" is behind the pace of the first two "Maze Runner" films, it has made $142.9 million overseas, including an international-best $35.2 million over the weekend.

But it was the fourth weekend out of seven in which the "Jumanji" reboot, starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, led all films domestically. It has carved an unlikely path en route to its record-setting run. Met with little initial fanfare, "Jumanji" played second fiddle for its first two weeks of release to "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."

Image: 'Jumanji' Beijing promotion
Fans wait for a red carpet event promoting 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' in Beijing on Jan. 4.Jason Lee / Reuters file

But riding good word of mouth and relatively little family-film competition, "Jumanji" has become one of Sony's biggest hits ever, ranking behind only its "Spider-Man" films. It has now grossed $352.6 million in the United States and Canada.

"Winchester," the Helen Mirren-led haunted-house horror film, was the sole new wide release on a weekend that Hollywood typically cedes to football. The poorly reviewed Lionsgate-CBS Films release, about the true-life tale of the 19th-century heiress Sarah Winchester, opened with $9.3 million.

Total ticket sales were $92 million, according to comScore, a sum that falls behind recent Super Bowl weekends — always among the quietest movie weekends of the year — but above the lowest grossing ever.

Hollywood was instead largely focused on the trailers debuting during Sunday's NFL broadcast. About a dozen films hoped to capitalize on the largest U.S. broadcast of the year with high-priced commercial spots intended to raise the awareness of coming spring releases and some of the summer's biggest would-be blockbusters.

For the first time, Fox Searchlight had films playing in 4,000 or more theaters, thanks to its Oscar favorites "The Shape of Water" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri." Guillermo del Toro's "The Shape of Water," which took the top honor at the Directors Guild Awards on Saturday, boosted its theater count from 1,854 to 2,341. The leading Oscar nominee with 13 nods, "The Shape of Water" still slid by 21 percent, with $4.3 million.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final three-day domestic figures will be released Monday.

  1. "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," $11 million ($12.6 million international).
  2. "Maze Runner: The Death Cure," $10.2 million ($35.2 million international).
  3. "Winchester," $9.3 million.
  4. "The Greatest Showman," $7.8 million ($16.2 million international).
  5. "Hostiles," $5.5 million.
  6. "The Post," $5.2 million ($10.3 million international).
  7. "12 Strong," $4.7 million ($2.9 million international).
  8. "Den of Thieves," $4.7 million ($6.5 million international).
  9. "The Shape of Water," $4.3 million ($4.4 million international).
  10. "Paddington 2," $3.1 million ($2 million international).

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