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1917 dethrones Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker to top US box office


Story by Jack Foley

SAM Mendes’ World War I epic 1917 has conquered the US box office over the weekend with a stellar $36.5 million.

The figure marks one of the best nationwide debuts ever for the month of January and came in well ahead of projections, doubtless boosted by the film’s Golden Globe wins for best motion picture for a drama and best director.

Overseas, 1917 also marched to strong numbers on the eve of Monday’s Oscar nominations, earning $19.9 million for an early foreign total of $21.1 million and $60.3 million globally.

The WWI movie follows two young soldiers on a do or die mission across No Man’s Land in order to try and save the lives of thousands of their countrymen. The cast is headed by George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman and also features British stalwarts such as Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Strong.

The over-performance of 1917 meant that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ended its reign at the top spot. The film fell to No. 2 in its fourth weekend with an estimated $15 million for a US total approaching $480 million.

While holiday holdover Jumanji: The Next Level followed in third place with an estimated $13.5 million in its fifth weekend for a US total of $255 million.

That meant that Paramount’s new release, Like A Boss, had to settle for fourth place in its debut weekend with a disappointing $10 million.

The first studio R-rated comedy of 2020 stars Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne and Salma Hayek and follows two best friends whose beauty company is targeted by a cosmetics titan. It didn’t fare well with critics, though, which may account for its poor start.

Another new release, the legal drama Just Mercy, could yet beat Like A Boss, given that its distributor Warner Bros is also reporting weekend sales of $10 million – it’s box office analysts who predict that Like a Boss will prevail when final numbers are released on Monday.

Just Mercy stars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx and follows a young lawyer as he takes on the case of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence.

Another new release suffered a terrible start. The $50 million sci-fi thriller Underwater, starring Kristen Stewart, debuted to an estimated $7 million, marking another disappointment for a 20th Century Fox title now under Disney.

The movie, about a group of stranded scientists who discover mysterious creatures at the bottom of the ocean, was mauled by critics and audiences alike, with a low exit score.

Underwater‘s soggy performance therefore marks the second high-profile miss in a row for Stewart following Charlie’s Angels. The film’s cast is rounded out by Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie and T.J. Miller.