Moviegoers said goodbye to the final days of 2017 and hello to 2018 in the company of porgs, with "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" leading the long holiday weekend and finishing as the No. 1 movie of the year.
The latest installment in Disney's intergalactic saga took in a better-than-expected $68.4 million Friday through Monday, according to estimates from measurement firm ComScore. The haul helped the film to ring in the new year in full force, swooping past "Beauty and the Beast" as the highest-grossing movie of 2017, raising "The Last Jedi" total for the U.S. and Canada to $533 million and pushing its global take to more than $1 billion.
The franchise's big showing has become a holiday tradition. Last year "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" was the top film of the final weekend of 2016, with $64.3 million. In 2015, Disney debuted "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in mid-December and recorded the biggest opening of all time, grossing $248 million. That film did boffo box office through the holidays, taking in $34.5 million on New Year's Day 2016.
Not quite able to jungle cruise past the cute porg critters of "The Last Jedi" — though it was close— was Sony's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," which finished second for the weekend with a four-day haul of $66.5 million. Starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, the reboot of the 1995 adventure film raised its domestic total to $185.8 million.
All that star power in the final box office days of 2017 wasn't enough to turn around what industry sources are projecting to be a drop in moviegoing. Studio executives are projecting that the number of tickets sold in 2017 will drop 4% to 1.26 billion — the lowest level since 1995 — as audiences consume more entertainment on small screens and through streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon.
Doing its part to help the cause, Universal's "Pitch Perfect 3" landed at No. 3 for the weekend. The latest installment of a cappella high jinks took in $21 million Friday through Monday. That brings the film's cumulative domestic gross to $67.5 million after its second weekend, which is already more than the first film took in during its entire run, but still a ways from the $184.2-million total of the sequel, "Pitch Perfect 2."
"The Greatest Showman," starring Hugh Jackman as visionary P.T. Barnum, held strong at No. 4, earning $20.8 million through the four-day weekend.
Rounding out the pack was Fox's animated release "Ferdinand," which earned $14.6 million through Monday for the fifth spot.
Other notable results include "All the Money in the World," the film that raced to meet its Christmas Day debut after replacing actor Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer. The Ridley Scott film took in $7.5 million Friday through Monday, bringing its domestic total to $14.7 million.
Fox's Pentagon Papers newspaper drama from Steven Speilberg, "The Post," played in nine theaters and notched an impressive per-screen average of $88,333 in its second weekend.
Paul Thomas Anderson's "Phantom Thread," which debuted on Christmas Day and stars Daniel Day-Lewis, is also pulling in a high average, estimated at $73,750 from Friday through Monday.
When final box office numbers are in, the top five for 2017 will be "The Last Jedi," followed by "Beauty and the Beast," "Wonder Woman," "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," and "Spider-Man: Homecoming."