Maze Runner: The Death Cure is expected to top the domestic box office in its opening weekend, overtaking holdover hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. With big December releases like Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jumanji starting to fall off, the third and final Maze Runner installment arrives at a good opportunity to lead the way as it hits theaters.
Although the Wes Ball-directed Death Cure drew worse reviews than the original and arguably a worse reception than its predecessor, The Scorch Trials, the franchise based on the popular young-adult book series is showing it still has some commercial viability. Jumanji, meanwhile, rode strong reviews to three straight weeks at No. 1 after overtaking The Last Jedi. But now that's about to change.
As reported by Variety on Saturday, Maze Runner: The Death Cure is expected to win the domestic box office in its opening weekend with $22 million at 3,787 locations. Jumanji isn't too far behind, but takes second place with another $15 million at 3,553 locations. Rounding out the top-5 is a close battle between Hostiles and The Greatest Showman with about $9.5 million each, and Steven Spielberg's The Post (numbers unreleased).
Jumanji inches ever closer to the $800 million mark worldwide with another solid week. But it won't make enough to beat out The Death Cure, which concludes the trilogy adapted from James Dashner's series of dystopian sci-fi novels of the same names. Its victory in weekend No. 1 isn't much of a surprise, considering the franchise's loyal built-in fanbase. And the movie also indicated early success when it topped social media buzz just weeks ahead of its release.
Despite Jumanji's run at the top of the box office appearing to be over, the movie has had a heck of a run. The sequel already made over four times its $90 million budget in North America alone with $337 domestically, which moves it past Spider-Man: Homecoming's total. It's the highest-grossing movie in the careers of Jack Black and Kevin Hart, and it's way up there for Dwayne Johnson. It remains to be seen if The Death Cure can even approach that level, but it's certainly off to a decent start.
Nevertheless, Maze Runner: The Death Cure will be the lowest opening for the franchise after the first two movies opened at $32.5 million and $30 million, respectively. It has some work to do to turn a respectable profit off its $62 million budget. But it has plenty of time for that and, like the other two installments, will be a bigger hit overseas than in the U.S. It just won't likely reach what Jumanji has accomplished.
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