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Box office: ‘Coco’ works its magic for 3rd straight week ahead of ‘Star Wars’

‘Coco’
Miguel, voiced by newcomer Anthony Gonzalez, dreams of becoming an accomplished musician in the animated movie “Coco.”
(Pixar)

In advance of the highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” opening Friday, this week’s box office remained virtually unchanged, with Disney’s “Coco” maintaining the top spot for the third weekend in a row.

Despite losing 239 locations, “Coco” raked in an estimated $18.3 million, a relatively small decline of 34%, for a cumulative gross of $135.5 million, according to figures from measurement firm ComScore.

Only three other films have maintained a box office hold for three consecutive weeks in 2017: “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” (which reigned over a sleepy August box office), “The Fate of the Furious” and “Split.”

ComScore’s senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian credits a slow marketplace for “Coco”’s longstanding reign.

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“For a movie like ‘Coco’ to remain No. 1 after three weeks shows that there hasn’t really been a big newcomer — until ‘The Last Jedi’ later this week,” he said. “There’s an incredible array of films that have really benefited from a fairly quiet marketplace over the past couple of weeks.”

Also unchanged, Warner Bros.’ “Justice League” came in second place again, earning $9.6 million, a 42% drop, for a cumulative gross of $212 million.

Now in its fourth week, the latest effort from DC Comics earned mixed reviews, with a B+ rating on CinemaScore and a 40% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. After coming in soft and failing to recoup the estimated $300 million it cost to make the film, Jon Berg, the Warner Bros. film executive in charge of production on the studio’s DC superhero films, is stepping down. The next live-action DC film on the Warner Bros. schedule is “Aquaman,” set for a December 2018 release.

Lionsgate’s “Wonder” maintained the No. 3 spot, surpassing $100 million and becoming the studio’s highest-grossing film since “La La Land.”

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The film brought in an additional $8.5 million in its fourth week, only a 30% decline, for a cumulative average of $100.3 million. Produced by Lionsgate, Participant Media, Walden Media and Mandeville Films for $20 million, the film stars Jacob Tremblay (“Room”) and Julia Roberts.

It’s been a good week for A24 with two films that have been generating Oscar buzz ranking among the top 10: “Lady Bird” maintained its hold despite dropping two spots to No. 9 after six weeks in theaters, and comedy “The Disaster Artist” rose to No. 4 after expanding nationally into 840 theaters from just 19.

Piggybacking on the success the studio’s best-picture win for “Moonlight” this year, A24 is one to watch in the upcoming award season deliberations, starting with the announcement of Golden Globe nominees Monday morning. The studio’s critically acclaimed “The Florida Project” is also generating awards buzz.

Now in its second week, “The Disaster Artist,” which chronicles the making of Tommy Wiseau’s cult classic “The Room,” earned $6.4 million, a 431% increase, for a cumulative $8 million in earnings.

The film’s success — paired with that of “Wonder,” “Lady Bird,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “The Shape of Water,” and “Call Me By Your Name” — disproves the notion that Oscar contenders generally don’t perform well at the box office. It also marks a particularly auspicious year for indie films, while several big-budget blockbusters have disappointed.

“I think that this is a terrific crop of specialized films, many of which have enjoyed great success as they expand into more and more theaters,” said Dergarabedian. “It’s an incredible time not only for the indie movies, but also to be a moviegoer interested in these more introspective, character-driven, smaller-budgeted films that are the bread and butter of the awards season.”

Rounding out the top five was Disney’s “Thor: Ragnarok,” now in its sixth week, which made $6.3 million this weekend, a 36% decline, for a cumulative $301 million in earnings. The film, which cost $180 million to make, also stars Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum and Tessa Thompson.

The only wide release to debut this week, Broad Green Pictures’ action comedy “Just Getting Started,” premiered at No. 10 and earned $3.2 million.

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The film, which reviewer Kimber Myers said “lacks precision in every aspect but its on-the-nose dialogue” earned bad reviews across the board with a C-rating on CinemaScore and a 9% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Directed by Ron Shelton (“Bill Durham”), it stars Tommy Lee Jones, Morgan Freeman, Rene Russo and George Wallace.

In limited release, Fox Searchlight’s Oscar-baiting “The Shape of Water,” now in its second weekend, added 39 theaters and brought in $1.1 million, an impressive per-screen average of $26,829, for a cumulative total of $1.3 million.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro, the film stars Sally Hawkins as a mute cleaning lady working in a high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. “The Shape of Water,” which earned a 95% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, took home the most L.A. honors at last weekend’s Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. Awards.

Sony Classics’ “Call Me By Your Name,” also in its third weekend, earned $291,101 across nine locations for a strong per-screen average of $32,345 and a cumulative gross of $1.4 million. Starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet and directed by Luca Guadagnino, the film was voted best picture at last weekend’s L.A. Film Critics Assn. Awards.

Neon and 30WEST opened the Margot Robbie-led “I, Tonya” in four theaters this weekend with $245,602 (a killer per-theater average of $61,400). The true story of American figure skater Tonya Harding, the film chronicles one of the biggest scandals in sports history and earned a 90% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In its third weekend, Focus Features’ “Darkest Hour” expanded into 53 theaters and added $777,000 to its earnings for a per-screen average of $14,664 and a cumulative gross of $1.2 million. The film stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill as he attempts to unite Britain in the fight against Nazi Germany as Hitler’s army rampages across Europe in 1940. John Hurt, Ben Mendelsohn, and Lily James also star.

Next week, Fox premieres animation “Ferdinand” and Disney debuts the highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Magnolia Pictures opens the comedy “Permanent” in limited release.

calendar@latimes.com

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