'1917' Expands with Excellent $36.5 Million Weekend

Universal's 1917 made the most of strong word of mouth and two Golden Globe wins, topping the weekend box office with ease as it expanded nationwide following two weeks in limited release. Meanwhile, Paramount's Like a Boss fell a bit shy of its pre-weekend expectations and Fox's Underwater drowned. WB's expansion of Just Mercy, however, was able to deliver a top five finish as it also went nationwide following its limited release over the December holidays.

With an estimated $36.5 million, Universal's release of Sam Mendes's 1917 topped the weekend box office with ease as it expanded into 3,434 locations after playing in just 11 theaters over the previous two weeks. As recently as last week tracking for the film had it opening around $25 million, but following a pair of Golden Globe wins last Sunday and strong word of mouth, the film shattered those expectations and don't be surprised if it gains even more heat following tomorrow morning's Oscar nominations. Internationally, the film debuted in 30 Amblin and Universal international markets with nearly $20 million, pushing the worldwide cume over $60 million.

1917 earned an "A" CinemaScore following it's limited release and wide audiences felt similarly, awarding it an "A-". This weekend's crowds were 60% male while 80% of the weekend audiences as aged 25 or older.

Second place goes to Disney's release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which dropped another -57% with an estimated $15 million, bringing the film's domestic cume to $478.2 million as it enters its fourth week in release. Internationally, the film added another $24.2 million, bringing the overseas cume to $511.4 million for a global tally reaching $989.6 million as it pushes toward becoming the seventh 2019 release from Disney to top $1 billion globally.

Sony's Jumanji: The Next Level finished in third with an estimated 14 million, dipping -47% as it enters its fifth weekend in release, pushing the film's domestic cume to $256.8 million. Internationally, Jumanji lifted its international cume to $414 million after taking in $22.6 million this weekend 65 markets, bolstering the film's worldwide total to $671 million.

In a tie for fourth with an estimated $10 million is Paramount's wide release of Like a Boss and WB's expansion of Just Mercy. Beginning with Like a Boss, the R-rated comedy starring Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne and Salma Hayek was expected to debut in the low double digit millions and fell just a bit shy of those expectations. Reviews for the film heading into the weekend were poor, scoring just 21% at RottenTomatoes, but the CinemaScore for the film wasn't too bad, receiving a "B" from opening day crowds. Like a Boss played to an audience that was 56% female with 65% of the overall crowd coming in aged 25 or older.

Warner Bros.
As for Just Mercy, after debuting in just four theaters on Christmas Day and playing in those same four locations for the past two weeks, the film expanded into 2,375 locations this weekend and audiences liked what they saw, giving the film an "A+" CinemaScore, complimenting the 82% critical rating at RottenTomatoes. The film's audience was 60% female with 85% of the overall audience coming in aged 25 or older, both figures just a fraction below exits following the film's limited release. The film should continue to play well over the coming weeks given the lack of serious competition in the drama category.

Finishing outside the top five is Fox's new release Underwater. The PG-13 thriller fell short of studio expectations, delivering an estimated $7 million for the weekend while earning a "C" CinemaScore from opening day crowds. The film's opening weekend audience was split, 50/50 male and female with 64% of the overall audience coming in aged 25 or older.

Internationally, Underwater opened in 21 markets including France, Brazil and Mexico from which it brought in an estimated $7.1 million. The film's top overseas market was Indonesia with $1.5 million followed by France with a $1 million debut. Next weekend the film opens in Philippines and Thailand followed by late January openings in Russia, Australia, Italy and Spain with openings in the UK (Feb 7), Korea (Apr 9) and Japan (May 15) to follow.

It also deserves mentioning once again that Lionsgate's Knives Out had the smallest drop among wide release holdovers for the fourth straight weekend. Dipping just -36%, the film from Rian Johnson brought in an estimated $5.7 million for a domestic cume that now tops $139 million. It also added another $5.5 million internationally for a global cume that now stands at $265.4 million with a late January release in Japan still to come.

Next weekend's wide releases include Sony's Bad Boys for Life in approximately 3,700 locations while Universal will bring Dolittle to over 3,900 theaters. As for Dolittle, it got a jump start on its domestic release opening in four overseas markets this weekend with over $8 million, including a $6.78 million debut in Korea and another $1.1 million in Ukraine. The film will add another 42 markets next weekend along with its domestic launch.

You can check out all of this weekend's estimated results right here and we'll be updating our charts with weekend actuals on Monday afternoon.

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