'Coco' Heading for Third Consecutive U.S. Box Office Victory

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LOS ANGELES — Disney-Pixar’s animated comedy “Coco” is heading for a third straight winning weekend at the North American box office during what’s expected to be a moderate frame.

For the second weekend in a row, major studios have opted to rely on holdovers during the session instead of offering any wide openings. Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is expected to dominate when it opens on Dec. 15.

The weekend will see one wide opening as Broad Green Pictures launches its last movie with the action-comedy “Just Getting Started” debuting in 2,146 locations. The film, starring Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, and Rene Russo, is tracking to gross around $5 million this weekend. Also starring are Jane Seymour, George Wallace, Joe Pantoliano, Glenne Headly, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Graham Beckel, and Elizabeth Ashley.

Broad Green announced in August that it was closing down production after three years of mostly disappointing box office performance. Its first major release, “A Walk in the Woods,” was also its top performer with $29 million as it connected with older moviegoers and it negotiated last year to co-produce and distribute “Just Getting Started” (then titled “Villa Capri”) with Endurance Media, Gerber Pictures, and eOne Features with the idea of tapping into the same older demographic.

Freeman stars as the freewheeling manager of a luxury Palm Springs resort, whose status as the alpha male is challenged by the arrival of Jones’ character, a charming ex-military man. The rivals put aside their differences when the past of Freeman’s character as a criminal defense attorney catches up with him

Broad Green launched its trailer in early September, and has since targeted its marketing with adult-centric titles such as “Murder on the Orient Express” and “A Bad Moms Christmas.” Freeman, Russo, Seymour, and Wallace have been making appearances on shows including “Live,” “The Talk,” and the “Today” show.

Ron Shelton directed from his own script. Steve Richards and Bill Gerber are the producers. Executive producers are Gabriel Hammond, Daniel Hammond, Steve Barnett, Alan Simpson, John Mass, and Peter Strauss.

Neon is launching the dark comedy “I, Tonya” as a platform release in four locations. The film has been receiving awards recognition for Margot Robbie’s portrayal of disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding and Allison Janney’s portrayal of her mother. “I, Tonya” has been embraced by critics and has a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 89%.

“Coco,” which has generated more than $111 million in its first 13 days, should take in around $18 million during the upcoming weekend. The film, based on the traditions surrounding the Day of the Dead holiday in Mexico, centers on a 12-year-old boy who dreams of becoming a musician. Disney’s “Moana” performed slightly better during the same period last year with $121.2 million after 13 days.

“Coco” should become the fourth title of 2017 to lead the domestic box office for three straight weekends, joining Lionsgate’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” and Universal’s “Fate of the Furious” and “Split” as three-peaters.

The fourth weekend of Warner Bros.-DC Entertainment’s “Justice League” and the third weekend of Lionsgate’s “Wonder” should battle for second with about $9 million each. “Justice League” crossed the $200 million milestone on Tuesday on its 19th day, becoming the 10th movie to achieve that mark in 2017.

“Wonder” has been a bit of a box office wonder itself, performing well above expectations with $88 million in its first 18 days and should cross the $100 million mark by the end of the weekend. The drama, starring Jacob Tremblay as a fifth-grader with a facial deformity, is already a money-maker for Lionsgate with a $20 million budget.

The weekend will also see the sixth weekend of Disney-Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” take in around $5 million, which should put its domestic total at around $300 million. The third Thor movie was a key factor in November’s box office staying ahead of the same month last year.

A24’s expansion of James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist” from 19 to about 800 locations is also pegged to take in around $5 million. The comedy-drama grossed $1.2 million in its opening weekend, good enough for 12th place last weekend.

Fox’s fifth weekend of “Murder on the Orient Express” and Paramount’s fifth frame of “Daddy’s Home 2” will each take in around $4 million.

Overall domestic box office has trailed last year’s since the mid-summer and was off 4.1% as of Dec. 4 with $9.87 billion, according to comScore. “Another quiet weekend is in store as ‘The Last Jedi’ looms large in the distance like a box office Death Star,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with the tracking service.

The second weekend of December has been among the quieter periods in recent years as studios opt to start launching major titles on the third frame. Last year’s total for the same weekend was $84 million and 2015’s figure was $77 million, according to comScore.

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