‘1917’ Wins the Weekend Box Office Battle with $36.5 Million as ‘Rise of Skywalker’ Slows

     January 12, 2020


Universal Pictures has officially earned bragging rights now that its World War I action flick 1917 has unseated Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in the second weekend in January. Directed by Sam Mendes, 1917 stars Dean-Charles Chapman and George McKay as two British soldiers tasked to get a message to across enemy lines to warn of an impending attack with no time to spare. In its first weekend in wide release, 1917 earned $36.5 million domestic, bringing its total here in the U.S. up to $39.2 million.


Image via Universal Pictures

1917 has technically been in domestic theaters since Christmas Day but that theater count? Just 11 total. This weekend, things are looking up as 1917 went into wide release and brought its theater count up to 3,434 with a per theater average of $10,629. This is Mendes’ first non-James Bond film since 2009’s Away We Go, which opened to just $130K. To be fair, Away We Go is significantly more different in its vibe and genre to both Bond pics as well as 1917, so it’s not really a fair fight. But, it’s nice to see Mendes thriving especially since 1917 is not reliant on the Bond buzz to get folks into theaters to see it.

Oscar buzz has been building here in the U.S. since 1917 was shown to critics and journalists in New York City and Los Angeles back in November 2019. Positive reactions have been showered on the film’s cinematographer, the beloved Roger Deakins, who worked with Mendes to give 1917 a one-shot effect which has helped the pulse-pounding, clock-watching aspect of the movie onto the big screen. Despite the film premiering so close to the 2020 Oscars (nominees will be announced on Monday, January 13), 1917 is poised to scoop up at least one nom for this year’s ceremony.


Image via Lucasfilm

In second place in Rise of Skywalker, which is so close to cracking $1 billion worldwide as we close out the weekend. The J.J. Abrams-directed picture brought in $15.1 million domestic from 4,279 locations with a per theater average of $3,519. The movie also earned $24.2 million internationally with 55 markets accounted for over the weekend. This weekend’s earnings take Rise of Skywalker‘s global total to $990 million, which means it could very well crack $1 billion by this time next week. Although it was never going to keep pace with the runaway success of the first Skywalker sequel trilogy installment, 2015’s Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force AwakensRise of Skywalker has stayed close to mirroring Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘s box office success. However, it remains to be seen whether the movie will be able to hit The Last Jedi‘s $1.3 billion global total by the time it leaves theaters.


Image via 20th Century Fox

Newcomers Like a Boss and Underwater were not met with the same level of success as 1917 this weekend despite landing in the number five and seven slots, respectively. Boisterous comedy Like a Boss, which stars Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne as beauty entrepreneurs who take an offer they should have definitely refused from a shady mogul played by Salma Hayek, brought in $10 million domestic. The movie ultimately averaged $3,249 per theater and snagged a B CinemaScore. Meanwhile, Underwater seems to be sinking like a stone with its opening weekend total of $7 million. This is the second movie Kristen Stewart has either led or co-starred in to open to a mere fraction of its budget (Underwater reportedly cost around $80+ million) following Charlie’s Angels $8 million domestic weekend opening and costing approximately $48 million. That’s not to say Stewart is box office kryptonite, per se, but it is an unfortunate turn for the actress as she seeks success leading big studio releases. The picture has been met with middling reviews and a C CinemaScore, averaging just $2,509 per theater from 2,791 locations total.

For the most part, previous releases including Jumanji: The Next LevelLittle WomenFrozen II, and Knives Out are holding steady. Number three’s The Next Level earned $14 million domestic, a 47% dip from last weekend. At number six is Little Women, adding $7.65 million to its domestic total which now sits at $74 million. The Sony Pictures release may get a fresh boost at the box office if it manages to snag any 2020 Oscar nominations on Monday, so keep an eye out on that front. Frozen II is chillin’ out in eighth place with $5.76 million while Knives Out is in ninth place $5.72 million domestic. Spies in Disguise rounds out the top 10 this weekend with $5.1 million domestic for the 20th Century Fox pic.

Can’t decide what you wanna see this weekend in theaters? Check out our reviews of 1917 and Underwater to help you pick.

Rank Title Weekend Total
1. 1917 $36,500,000 $39,221,279
2. Rise of Skywalker $15,059,000 $478,169,690
3. Jumanji: The Next Level $14,000,000 $257,124,981
4. Just Mercy $10,000,000 $10,435,988
5. Like a Boss $10,000,000 $10,000,000
6. Little Women $7,650,000 $74,031,009
7. Underwater $7,003,000 $7,003,000
8. Frozen II $5,761,000 $459,384,042
9. Knives Out $5,725,000 $139,621,744
10. Spies in Disguise $5,108,000 $54,616,429

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