By LINDSEY BAHR
AP Film Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The animated family film “Coco” has topped the box office for a third time on a quiet, pre “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” weekend in theaters.
Disney estimated Sunday that “Coco” added $18.3 million, which would bring its domestic total to $135.5 million.
The weekend’s sole new wide release was the Morgan Freeman film “Just Getting Started,” which launched to a meager $3.2 million from 2,161 theaters and barely made the top 10. Most studios have chosen to avoid competing against “The Last Jedi,” which is expected to dominate theaters and moviegoer attention when it opens on Dec. 15.
Thus, most of the charts have looked quite similar for the past few weeks. Warner Bros. and DC’s “Justice League” took second place with $9.6 million and Lionsgate’s sleeper hit “Wonder,” which has now passed $100 million, placed third with $8.5 million. Warner Bros. also crossed the $2 billion benchmark domestically Saturday — the first studio to do so in 2017.
This quiet period before “Star Wars” has allowed some of the indie and prestige titles to thrive in limited releases and expansions, like James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist.” The film, about the making of one of the worst films of all time, “The Room,” expanded to 840 locations in its second weekend in theaters. It managed to bring in $6.4 million, landing it in fourth place.
Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age film “Lady Bird” also added 363 locations and placed 9th in its sixth weekend in theaters. With the $3.5 million from this weekend, “Lady Bird” has netted $22.3 million.
The Guillermo del Toro-directed romantic fantasy “The Shape of Water” expanded to 41 theaters in its second weekend and earned $1.1 million.
The Tonya Harding biopic “I, Tonya” launched in four locations in New York and Los Angeles and brought in a solid $245,602.
The Winston Churchill film “The Darkest Hour” and the summer romance film “Call Me By Your Name” also continue to thrive in more limited releases as well. “The Darkest Hour,” which stars Gary Oldman as Churchill, earned $777,000 from 53 locations, and “Call Me By Your Name,” with Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet, took in $291,101 from nine theaters.
“This is the best time to be a moviegoer if you’re an indie fan,” said comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “The last few weeks have enabled films like ‘The Shape of Water,’ ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ and now ‘I, Tonya’ to really find an audience.”
He added: “It’s great time for those films ahead of the box office death star that is ‘Star Wars.'”
The year is still down 4 percent from last year, though, which is a pit that even a juggernaut like “Star Wars” might struggle to fill. The cash influx from “The Last Jedi” will be significant, nonetheless, and if the precedent of “Rogue One” and “The Force Awakens” holds, it could range from $400 million to over $600 million of additional domestic revenue before the books close on 2017.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1.”Coco,” $18.3 million.
2.”Justice League,” $9.6 million.
3.”Wonder,” $8.5 million.
4.”The Disaster Artist,” $6.4 million.
5.”Thor: Ragnarok,” $6.3 million.
6.”Daddy’s Home 2,” $6 million.
7.”Murder on the Orient Express,” $5.1 million.
8.”The Star,” $3.7 million.
9.”Lady Bird,” $3.5 million.
10.”Just Getting Started,” $3.2 million.