At this past Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards ceremony, 1917 took home two of the biggest prizes of the night, with director Sam Mendes winning the award for Best Director and the film itself taking home Best Motion Picture in the Drama category. It was a well-timed victory for the film, which opens in wide release this weekend. And following its Golden Globes win, 1917 has gotten off to a great start at the box office.
1917 actually opened in limited release on Christmas Day (thus qualifying itself for Oscar contention) but its theatrical run began in earnest last night with Thursday night preview screenings in 2,900 theaters. According to Deadline, the preview screenings, which began at 7 p.m., brought in $3.25 million. That more than doubles the film’s domestic haul of $2.7 million it has made since Christmas.
It seems that 1917’s surprise Golden Globes win didn’t hurt its opening night and should only help it at the box office this weekend. Following 1917’s victory over other Best Motion Picture Drama contenders like The Irishman and Marriage Story, the film saw a spike in advance ticket sales on Fandango. While the exact relationship is better left to the statisticians, awards gold does seem to confer some financial benefit on a film.
The World War I film’s $3.25 million opening night slots it in behind other similar fare like Dunkirk and American Sniper, which had opening nights of $5.5 million and $5.3 million respectively. Sam Mendes’ film expands to 3,434 theaters today heading into the weekend, where it is tracking to unseat another war film of a very different variety for the number one spot.
After a solid $3.25 million start, 1917 is predicted to make $20 million to $25 million and possibly more opening weekend. That should be enough to knock Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker out of the top spot that it has occupied for three straight weekends since its release. Last weekend The Rise of Skywalker made around $34 million but is expected to drop into second place with a $17 million to $19 million performance this weekend.
In addition to its awards bump, 1917 should also benefit from its widespread critical acclaim and potentially great word of mouth given the A CinemaScore it received in limited polling in December. Also, as far as I can tell 1917 will be playing in premium formats in many locations. Given that the film is lensed by Roger Deakins and made to look all like one continuous shot, it seems like the kind of movie that is well worth paying the upcharge for and perhaps many audiences will do just that.
As far as competition is concerned, the comedy Like a Boss earned $1 million opening night and should wind up with $10 million to $12.5 million this weekend. The Kristen Stewart film Underwater is not expected to fare quite so well. The film made $500K in previews and is expected to remain underwater with a three-day debut in the single digits.
1917 is now playing. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see all the movies this year has in store.