Saturday, April 20, 2024

Box Office: “Star Wars” Blockbuster $220 Mil Weekend Still Falls Short of “Force Awakens” As Series Reaches “End”


“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is a huge hit, with a $220 million weekend (including $45 million from Thursday night).

That’s a massive take for Disney, but remember: “”The Force Awakens” took in $247 million two years ago. That’s a difference of $27 million. That’s a lot of money since no movie on the box list this weekend made that much by a long shot.

With this movie, “Star Wars” reaches a chapter ending. Of a long chapter. J.J. Abrams will have to really pull a Porg out of his hat to make Episode 9 special since the original “Star Wars” now consists just of C-3PO and R2D2. And by 9, they’ll be reminiscing in a nursing home.

It should be noted that “Jedi” fell off every day over the weekend in steep decline after the first Thurs-Fri rush: FRI – $104.8M (incl $45M THU pre-shows) SAT – $64M (-39%) SUN – $51.3M. That’s not a good omen at all.

Indeed, there were a couple of real disappointments at a lower level this weekend. Fox’s animated “Ferdinand” did just $13 million. It cost around $115 million. Even if holiday traffic picks up, that doesn’t bode well for Fox Animation in light of the Disney merger. I’m sure there’s going to a big kerfuffle over what Disney Animation does with the Fox animators. It won’t be pretty.

Then, James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist” became an actual disaster over night. This odd cult comedy dropped 59% after a very impressive debut last weekend. Not even Franco’s hosting of “SNL” helped bring in business. In fact, that might have hurt things. “The Disaster Artist” evidently soaked up its audience right away.

Maybe you’re like me. I never heard of Tommy Wiseau or his bad movie “The Room” before “The Disaster Artist” was unveiled. The whole thing seemed like an inside joke among stoners. Franco is a good director who continues to choose strange material. “The Disaster Artist” is pretty much over.

For A24, this means they can get back to “Lady Bird,” a movie everyone should see and has that famous 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So far “Lady Bird” has underperformed. Maybe A24 will refocus their efforts.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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