World Box Office: Weak weekend overall positioned two studios on the forefront

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A weak weekend overall positioned two studios on the forefront.  On the international front, Sony harvested good results from its release strategy for Jumanji: The Next Level, which hit 18 overseas markets ahead of its domestic debut and amassed $54.8 million. In 2017, the first title of the rebooted franchise, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, rolled out day and date with the North American release, opening with a robust $49.5 million to a glowing $557.6 million from overseas markets, and a global $962.1 million total. Counting on Dwayne Johnson’s popularity in Asia, especially in China, the new rollout easily surpassed the mark right out of the gate, pointing to a possible bigger yield, countering possible challenges in Europe – France may be under a general strike next week, a serious blow for moviegoing audiences.

Disney had its own landmark, and a quite spectacular one: the Mouse House crossed an unheard-of record $ 10 billion at the worldwide box office, collected from all its titles – and that doesn’t include Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, scheduled to hit worldwide screens between December 18 and 20. A huge part of this loot comes from the unstoppable cold front of Golde Globe-nominated Frozen 2, which at this point has a cumulative take of $ 337.6 million domestically and  $582.1 million internationally. On a weak stretch of the year, Frozen 2, on its third week out, managed to get $34.7 million from North American (the US and Canada) theaters.

New entries fared poorly on the domestic front, with STX’s family-friendly Playmobil collecting a paltry $670,000. The studio’s plan was to ride the coattails of Frozen 2,  but the animated picture, based on the eponymous toys (voiced by Anya Taylor-Joy, Adam Lambert, and Daniel Radcliffe, among others) couldn’t quite make it. With a production budget of $40 million, STX and its international partners and co-financiers will have to do better overseas.

December is a good season for limited-release pictures, many of them positioned for awards. Golden Globe-nominated Portrait of a Lady on Fire did well in its ultra-limited run – two theaters in New York and Los Angeles each- amassed $ 67,105 over the weekend, with a per-screen average of $33,552, making it one of the best results for any French film in the U.S. in the last two decades. Amazon’s The Aeronauts, a late-19th century adventure piece starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones – reunited again after The Theory of Everything – yielded around $30k- $31k from 186 locations.

A series of global titles debuted this weekend in limited runs:  the thriller En Brazos De Un Asesino with an estimated $221,393 the Hindi-language war film Panipat, with $299,133 and the Chinese action pic The Whistleblower with $159,918.

Next weekend will bring Jumanji: The Next Level to North American theaters, with several titles positioned for awards following on its tail: Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell, the Safdie Brothers’Uncut Gems, starring Adam Sandler, Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life, and Benedict Andrews’ Seberg, starring Kristen Stewart as Nouvelle Vague star Jean Seberg. And of course, two weeks from now, all will come to a stop with the arrival of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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