The Great War upended Star Wars at the box office this weekend, with newly minted Best Picture contender 1917 planting its flag for a convincing win.
1917, which earlier today nabbed 10 Oscar nominations from the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, has been technically out for a while, playing in 11 theaters for the last couple of weeks. But it wasn’t until this weekend that most of America could see the thing, and see it America did. The film earned $36.5 million—sprinting past the $25 million that most prognosticators thought it would make. It probably didn’t hurt that 1917 was fresh off a Golden Globe win for best drama. Add the cash it earned during its limited run, plus the $21.2 million it earned overseas, and 1917’s total gross now stands at $60.4 million.
That’s barely change for the parking meter for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, of course. The ninth chapter in the Star Wars Skywalker saga dropped to second place and earned just $15.1 million, ending its three-weekend run at the top. But that brings its total domestic take to $478.2 million. That would make Skywalker the third highest-grossing movie released in 2019, trailing only Disney stablemates Avengers: Endgame ($858.4 million) and The Lion King ($543.6 million). And worldwide, it’s getting ever closer to the hallowed $1 billion mark. But while those numbers are still huge, some are already saying that Rise of Skywalker could be considered “the first $1 billion disappointment.”
Jumanji: The Next Level continues to tail Skywalker like a film noir private eye. It earned another $14 million to finish third.
Two movies are in a dead heat for fourth place, according to early estimates, and it shows how schizophrenic the movie industry can feel about $10 million. For Like a Boss—a salacious R-rated comedy fronted by Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne—$10 million was a grave disappointment brought about by withering reviews (it stands at 20% on Rotten Tomatoes right now) and an indifferent audience. But for Just Mercy, rolling wide after two weeks in limited release, $10 million looks pretty good. The awards-worthy drama (which was, alas, overlooked by the Oscars) parlayed praise both from critics (83% on Rotten Tomatoes) and from regular ol’ moviegoers (who gave it an A+, according to CinemaScore) to push itself into the top five.
That left another newcomer, Underwater … well, underwater. The Kristen Stewart-fronted sci-fi/horror film sank all the way down to seventh place, collecting just $7 million from Davy Jones’ Locker.
With Oscar noms out and with so many awards-season hopefuls still in theaters, expect to see some interesting movement at the box office over the next few weeks. Little Women, which finished sixth this weekend with $7.7 million, also garnered six Oscar nominations, including one for best picture. (The fact that Greta Gerwig didn’t collect a nom for her directing is already being called one of the Academy’s biggest slights.) It could well get a so-called Oscar bounce. Indeed, the top 25 is stuffed with contenders, including Best Picture hopefuls Ford v Ferrari (No. 16) and Jojo Rabbit (No. 21).
As Bette Davis was once said to have said in All About Eve (which, back in 1951, earned a then-record 15 Oscar nominations): Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.