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'Jumanji' tops 'The Post,' 'The Commuter' at the box office

/ Source: Associated Press

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NEW YORK — Meryl Streep, Liam Neeson, Taraji P. Henson and Paddington Bear all rushed into movie theaters over the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, but "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" still roared the loudest, with an estimated $27 million in ticket sales Friday to Sunday.

"Jumanji" easily remained the No. 1 film in North America despite an onslaught of new challengers, according to studio estimates Sunday. The Sony Pictures release is now approaching $300 million domestically and, after grossing $40 million in China this weekend, a worldwide total of $667 million.

Coming closest was Steven Spielberg's Pentagon Papers drama "The Post," starring Streep as Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham and Tom Hanks as editor Ben Bradlee. Twentieth Century Fox is forecasting $18.6 million for the weekend and $22.2 million for the four-day holiday.

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

It's a solid result for "The Post" in its nationwide expansion after several weeks of limited release. Made for about $50 million and fast-tracked after the election of President Donald Trump, "The Post" is considered by many a timely commentary on the power of the press and a rebuke of Trump from some of Hollywood's biggest names.

"It resonates with an older audience because they were around and remember this particular moment in time," Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson said. "But it really resonates with a younger audience, and that's the segment of the audience that will continue to discover this movie and realize how timely it is."

Fox will hope the strong box office results help resuscitate the film's Oscar momentum. The movie went home empty-handed at last weekend's Golden Globes and wasn't nominated by the BAFTA Awards. Oscar nominations voting ended Friday.

Related: Who won at the Golden Globes? A list of all the winners

Landing in third was Neeson's thriller "The Commuter," a Lionsgate release in partnership with StudioCanal. The modest $13.5 million opening for the film — Neeson's fourth with director Jaume Collet-Serra ("Non-Stop," "Unknown," "Run All Night") — suggested that some of the thrill of Neeson's action-movie period, which kicked off 10 years ago with the $145 million hit "Taken," may be waning.

The star's last three films — "Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House," "Silence" and "Monster Calls" — have disappointed at the box office.

The children's book adaptation sequel "Paddington 2" opened with $10.6 million. The film, originally to be distributed in North America over the Christmas holiday by The Weinstein Co., was sold to Warner Bros. after any association with the disgraced Weinstein Co. co-chairman Harvey Weinstein was deemed toxic.

The juggled rollout of the movie — as well as the breakout success of "Jumanji" as the go-to family film — may have hurt "Paddington 2." Despite rave reviews, it did about half the $19 million debut of its 2015 predecessor. It's done better overseas, where it has grossed $139.8 million.

The R-rated "Proud Mary," starring Henson as a hit woman, followed close behind, with $10 million. Although some accused Sony's Screen Gems of burying the film (it wasn't screened for critics), the movie drew poor reviews and even criticism from John Fogerty, who accused the film of exploiting the title to his Creedence Clearwater Revival classic.

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 four-day domestic figures will be released Tuesday.

  1. "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," $27 million ($81 million international)
  2. "The Post," $18.6 million ($1.7 million international)
  3. "The Commuter," $13.5 million ($6.3 million international)
  4. "Insidious: The Last Key," $12.1 million ($17.7 million international)
  5. "The Greatest Showman," $11.8 million ($15.2 million international)
  6. "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," $11.3 million ($19 million international)
  7. "Paddington 2," $10.6 million ($1.9 million international)
  8. "Proud Mary," $10 million.
  9. "Pitch Perfect 3," $5.7 million ($8.3 million international)
  10. "Darkest Hour," $4.5 million ($10.6 million international)

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