LOS ANGELES • It took the Great War to finally take down Star Wars.
Director Sam Mendes' World War I story 1917 brought in US$36.5 million (S$49 million) in its first weekend of wide release, easily topping the box office and ending the three-week reign of Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, which brought in US$15 million, according to studio estimates on Sunday.
Universal's expansion strategy worked beautifully for 1917, as the film went from just 11 screens in its first two weeks to more than 3,400 on the weekend after it won Golden Globes for best director and best drama film, and just before yesterday's Academy Award nominations.
While the epic wartime feel of 1917, which was shot and edited to appear as though it was done in a single take, makes it a natural for major awards, its triumphs at the Golden Globes were a surprise over other dramas, including The Irishman and Marriage Story.
"I hope this means that people will turn up and see this on the big screen, the way it was intended," Mendes said at the Globes ceremony. Those hopes were not unfounded.
A good weekend was expected for the film, but it shot past those expectations.
With its previous two-week take, 1917 has now earned US$39.2 million in the United States and Canada and over US$60 million globally. That is of course dwarfed by Disney's total domestic take of US$478.2 million for Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, which is on the verge of reaching US$1 billion globally after four weeks.
Jumanji: The Next Level was in third place in its fifth week of release with earnings of US$14 million for Sony, and has totalled more than US$257 million domestically.
Sony has a smaller sort of hit in Little Women, which continues its strong run for a film of its kind, bringing in another US$7.65 million to put it in the sixth spot with a total of US$74 million after three weeks.
Like A Boss, Paramount's comedy starring Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne, finished in a fourth-place tie at US$10 million with Just Mercy.
Underwater, 20th Century Fox's deep-sea adventure starring Kristen Stewart, brought in a tepid US$7 million and finished below Little Women.