‘The Post’ Plots Solid Expansion, But ‘Jumanji’ Remains Atop The Heap

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‘Paddington 2,’ ‘Proud Mary’ and ‘The Commuter’ also debut.

As the Martin Luther King four-day holiday weekend got underway, Fox’s The Post appeared to attracting an estimated $6 million, including 775,000 from its Thursday night showings, as it expands nationwide.

The Steven Spielberg-directed drama recounts how Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) and editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) joined forces to defy the government and publish the Pentagon Papers. Since opening Dec. 22 in just a handful of theaters, the $50 million film, which opened Dec. 22, had collected $4.2 million in its limited release.. This weekend, the Amblin Entertainment and Participant Media pic moves into 2,819 theaters and appears on track to take in more than $22 million for the four days.

But that won’t be enough to dislodge Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle from the top spot. Directed by Jake Kasdan, the PG-13-rated adventure comedy stars Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan as the adult avatars of the magical game, based on Chris Van Allsburg’s 1981 children’s book and first played onscreen in the 1995 movie. Last weekend — its third — the pic demonstrated real staying power as it took in $37.2 million and, after pulling in around 5.5 million today, it now looks headed for a four-day gross of $27 million or more.

Sony’s Proud Mary, starring Taraji P. Henson as an assassin whose life is altered by a pivotal kill, looks to be taking quite a haul. Babak Najafi (London Has Fallen) directed the R-rated action pic, which is opening in 2,125 locations. Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Billy Brown, Danny Glover, Neal McDonough, Xander Berkeley and Margaret Avery are also featured in the Screen Gems movie. Its Friday haul is looking to be about $5 million, which could translate into a four-day figure of about $18 million.

Lionsgate’s The Commuter rode to $700,000 in Thursday preview screenings, and it looks to be taking in slightly less than $4 million for the full day Friday. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows), the PG-13-rated action movie stars Liam Neeson as a businessman who gets caught up in a frenzied criminal conspiracy when he meets a stranger (Vera Farmiga) on a train. The first entry in a new, long-term partnership between Lionsgate and StudioCanal, The Commuter opens in around 2,892 locations, including select Imax theaters, and appears headed to about $13 million for the four days.

Paddington 2 kicked off its opening weekend by earning $325,000 in Thursday previews and, including that Friday number, slightly more than $3 million on Friday. The family film from Warner Bros. — which bought North American distribution rights from the beleaguered Weinstein Co. and producer StudioCanal — again centers on the plucky Peruvian bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) as he and the Brown family team to unmask the thief. The animated/live-action sequel, based on Michael Bond’s children’s books series that launched in 1958, also stars Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson. Paul King again directs the movie, which could pull in around $17 million for the four days from 3,702 sites. Already out in the U.K., it has already collected $125.2 million abroad to date. The first Paddington grossed $25.5 million domestically in its debut weekend, and altogether collected $268 million during its theatrical run.

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