‘Jumanji’ beats ‘The Post’ at box office

By Randall Roberts - Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES (McClatchy) — A comedic adventure flick about being teleported into a video game outplayed a political drama over the four-day MLK weekend as “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” retained its top spot at the domestic box office. The Sony movie outpaced “The Post,” about The Washington Post’s 1971 decision to publish the Pentagon Papers.

In its fourth week of release, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” added an estimated $35.4 million, for a cumulative $291.6 million, according to numbers from measurement firm comScore. It’s on track to become one of Sony’s top five domestic releases of all time.

“The film shows the strong drawing power of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart in this reboot of the original ‘Jumanji’ that opened way back in December of 1995,” said comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

The Steven Spielberg-directed “Post,” which on Friday expanded from limited release into 2,819 screens, tallied an estimated $23.4 million, for a four-week total of $27.9 million. Starring Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, the 20th Century Fox picture earned an 88 percent positive score by review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, with 72 percent of filmgoers liking it.

The first-week success of Lionsgate’s “The Commuter,” which earned an estimated $16.4 million, suggests that moviegoers never tire of watching Liam Neeson in panic mode, this time on a runaway train while trying to untangle a plot. The Lions-gate-distributed film, which also stars Vera Farmiga, landed in third place.

In fourth was “The Greatest Showman.” Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of P.T. Barnum pocketed an estimated $15.6 million in its fourth week of release. With strong word of mouth, the 20th Century Fox-distributed movie has taken in $98.4 million.

The “Star Wars” franchise earned more bank — but who’s counting anymore? Disney’s accountants, for one, who watched “The Last Jedi” deposit an additional $15.3 million, for a total of $595.6 million.

“Paddington 2,” meanwhile, which landed a coveted Rotten Tomatoes “Certified Fresh” tag with a 100 percent average rating, bowed with modest numbers.

Opening on 3,702 screens, the sequel earned $15 million in its opening weekend. The film, which was taken over by Warner Bros. from the troubled Weinstein Co. in November, is hardly a disappointment, though. It’s already banked $125 million overseas.

By Randall Roberts

Los Angeles Times