Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson sat down with USA TODAY's Bryan Alexander and shared the inspiration behind his 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' character, Dr. Smolder Bravestone, and how his own teenage past helped him master the role. USA TODAY
NEW YORK – The heir to Titanic is ... Jumanji: Welcome the Jungle?
For the first time since James Cameron's disaster epic, a December release has topped the weekend box office in February. Seven weeks after opening in theaters, Jumanji again took the top spot at the box office with an estimated $11 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday.
On a sluggish Super Bowl weekend, that was good enough to surpass last week's No. 1 film, Maze Runner: The Death Cure. The third installment in the young-adult trilogy starring Dylan O'Brien slid 58% in its second week to $10.2 million in ticket sales.
It's the fourth weekend out of seven in which the Jumanji reboot, starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, has led all films. It has carved an unlikely path en route to its record-setting run. Met with little initial fanfare, Jumanji played second fiddle for its first two weeks of release to Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
But riding good word of mouth and relatively little family-film competition, Jumanji has become one of Sony Pictures' biggest hits ever, ranking behind only its Spider-Man films. It has now grossed $352.6 million in the U.S. and Canada.
The Helen Mirren-led haunted-house horror film Winchester was the sole new wide release on a weekend that Hollywood typically cedes to football. The poorly reviewed movie about the firearms heiress opened with $9.3 million and finished third.
Rounding out the top five: Hugh Jackman's surprisingly durable musical The Greatest Showman ($137.5 million to date), which finished fourth with $7.8 million, and Christian Bale's Western drama Hostiles, fifth with $5.5 million.
Total ticket sales were $92 million, according to comScore, a sum that falls behind recent Super Bowl weekends — always among the quietest movie weekends of the year — but above the lowest grossing ever.
Hollywood instead is largely focused on the trailers seen during Sunday's NFL broadcast. About a dozen films hope to capitalize on the largest U.S. broadcast of the year with high-priced commercial spots intended to raise the awareness of upcoming spring releases and some of the summer's biggest would-be blockbusters.
Star Wars fans are hoping to see a spot for the Han Solo spinoff movie. More likely on tap are ads for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Jennifer Lawrence's Red Sparrow, Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible — Fallout and another potential hit for Dwayne Johnson, Skyscraper.
Among awards favorites, Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water, which leads the Oscars nominations (13), boosted its theater count to more than 2,300 screens. But it still slid 21% with $4.3 million.
Final figures will be released Monday.
Contributing: Kim Willis
The actor sat down with USA TODAY to share what it was like to see his completed movie 'Maze Runner: The Death Cure' for the first time, along with the scene that led to his production-stopping injury. USA TODAY
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