There’s a disturbance in the theaters

The weekend was a foregone conclusion — the only real question lies in where will things end up historically. As it is holding up the downcast yearlong totals can use the infusion, as this December is already up over last year, and this weekend will register overall as the third largest take of all time.

The question rested on whether any other titles might benefit from the rising tide of ticket buyers, or would The Federation suck all the air out of theaters? Here’s the rundown on the sales force from the weekend.

1.  STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI – $220Million
“Just how huge???” was the running query. The challenge with a title like this was most of the projection metrics were heavily skewed, and few comparatives meant estimates ranged from $190-230million. As it stands this is totaling up near, but just shy of records held by “The Force Awakens”. This will be the second best opening weekend ever (TFA logged a $248m premier), the second highest Friday and fourth best Saturday ever.

That strong Saturday number was the big determination, as it indicates there is sustained interest, not just front-loaded fan fury. Almost all the audience scoring services are uniformly in the “A, Excellent, Recommend” range, YouTube spiked over 20million trailer views since the open, and social media trackers noted the film exploded in references. Look for another historically nestled return throughout the week, up through the Christmas holiday.

2.  FERDINAND – $13.3m
This was a disappointment as Fox hoped for some overflow family ticket buying, but the kids seemed to prefer the Porgs over an animated bull. While the Saturday pull was stronger, the Friday debut was a poor open, barely reaching $3 million.
A side note: The announcement of a new Disney/Fox merger means that this weekend would see that partnership drawing over 90% of the entire weekend box office.

3.  COCO – $10.0m
Another sign of trouble for the animated bull is how close this Pixar hit came, playing in its fourth weekend. The measuring stick has been last year’s “Moana”, and “Coco” is gradually creeping up, actually seeing just a $10 million difference at the same point in their run. This is helped by this title actually drawing better on weekday numbers.

4.  WONDER – $5.4m
This hit has shown some real staying power, and it is very notable that it is now drawing higher than a superhero epic that opened the same weekend.

5.  JUSTICE LEAGUE – $4.17m
The arrival of the Jedi force means this hero pic has essentially seen its fuel lines cut, and it dropped another 800 screens. After six weeks it takes in $220million and globally it is slowing down, with just over $400million in foreign sales. Decent figures, but this is not happy news for Warners as the studio is at least another $75-100 million away from breaking even on this expensive disappointment.

6.  DADDY’S HOME 2 – 3.8m
This one boggles, nearly beating the hero clan. While trending well below the original it has some staying power, with a respectable -36% hold, and should hit the $100 million mark soon.

7.  THOR RAGNORAK – $2.98m
Still lingering after a longer time in theaters than JL, this hit finally gave up a large number of screens to “Jedi”. It has beaten the DC ensemble in every category.

8.  THE DISASTER ARTIST – $2.63m
The surprise hit from last week was severely impacted by the “Star Wars” arrival, dropping 58%. However still a respectable total for this indie that is only on 1,000 screens. Likely to get some endurance if the awards nominations come in.

9.  MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS – $2.47m
By the time the announced sequel, “Murder On The Nile”, arrives it should be after the Disney merger is approved.

10.  LADY BIRD – $2.1m
This hyped awards-bait film won’t go away, creeping back up into the top-10 and drawing in over $25million, surprisingly.