LOS ANGELES — To paraphrase Gandalf by way of J.R.R. Tolkien, early December is the box office’s deep breath before the plunge. New films are held back as Hollywood waits to capitalize on Christmas.
The major studios served up nothing for the second weekend in a row, allowing “Coco” to remain the top draw at North American theaters. But eight big movies are scheduled to arrive in wide release over an 11-day stretch that starts Friday, when “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” touches down.
Playing in 3,748 theaters, “Coco” (Disney-Pixar) took in an estimated $18.3 million, for a three-week total of $135.5 million, according to comScore, which compiles box office data. “Justice League” (Warner Bros.) collected about $9.6 million, for a four-week domestic total of $212.1 million — a not-very-superheroic sum that has Warner rethinking its management of DC Comics films yet again.
Third place went to the tear-jerker “Wonder” (Lionsgate), which nosed across the $100 million mark in North America by selling about $8.5 million in tickets in its fourth weekend. With backers that include Participant Media and Walden Media, “Wonder” has connected with audiences in part because of its #ChooseKind promotional campaign.
Failing to go anywhere was “Just Getting Started,” a poorly reviewed comedy released by the upstart film company Broad Green Pictures and starring Morgan Freeman, Rene Russo and Tommy Lee Jones. It cost about $22 million to make and arrived to an estimated $3.2 million in ticket sales at 2,161 locations.
Among low-budget Oscar hopefuls, “The Disaster Artist” (A24) had a very strong weekend, taking in $6.4 million in relatively limited release (840 theaters), for a two-week total of about $8 million. “The Disaster Artist,” a well-reviewed movie about a movie, stars James Franco, Dave Franco and Seth Rogen.