'Star Wars' rides high as Disney celebrates another $6 billion year
LOS ANGELES, USA – The latest episode in the iconic Star Wars space saga finished the year on top of the domestic box office, data confirmed Tuesday, January 2 contributing to a second best-ever year for Disney.
The Last Jedi earned $66.8 million over the 4-day holiday weekend in North America, for a $531.5 million domestic total since its opening three weeks ago, said industry watcher Exhibitor Relations. (READ: 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' second-highest opening ever in North America)
Disney announced on Sunday that the movie had passed the $1 billion mark worldwide after just 3 weeks, and the latest figures cement its position as 2017's most successful film in North America ahead of another Disney property, Beauty and the Beast ($504 million).
The Last Jedi stars Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver and two members of the series' original cast, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and the late Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia.
Its domestic earnings come on top of an international take estimated at $534.8 million, Disney said in a statement Tuesday.
The entertainment giant – which owns live-action and animation divisions as well as Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars producer Lucasfilm – added that its $6.5 billion global total for 2017 had given the company its second biggest year ever and the third largest in history.
It is the second consecutive year Disney has surpassed the $6 billion mark.
"We couldn't be more grateful to all the movie fans around the world for their support," said Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn.
"This success is a tribute to the incomparable team at The Walt Disney Studios and The Walt Disney Company and to the amazing filmmakers and talent we're fortunate to have making these pictures with us."
While The Last Jedi ruled at home, Disney's Beauty and the Beast was the number one film globally in 2017, with a worldwide take of $1.3 billion.
Other Disney big-hitters included two Marvel movies – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ($863.6 million) and Thor: Ragnarok ($848.8 million) – and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which brought in $794.8 million.
Holiday viewership provided a boost not just for Jedi but for Sony's family adventure Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle which came in a shade behind on $66.3 million in North America.
In third was Pitch Perfect 3 from Universal, at $21.7 million for the 4 days. The cast, led by Anna Kendrick, follows the continuing adventures of glee singers the Bellas.
Next was The Greatest Showman, from Fox, at $20.9 million. The musical features Hugh Jackman as legendary circus impresario P.T. Barnum.
In 5th spot was the animated family feature Ferdinand, the story of a peaceful Spanish bull forced to take on the world's most famous bullfighter. The Fox film netted $14.9 million.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
- Coco ($10.1 million)
- Darkest Hour ($7 million)
- Downsizing ($6.25 million)
- All the Money in the World ($6.19 million)
- Father Figures ($5 million)