LOS ANGELES: The force was with Disney as the latest Star Wars movie "The Last Jedi" beat out the competition to top the Christmas weekend box office, according to industry estimates released Sunday.
The eighth installment of the blockbuster space saga topped the charts in North America for a second week, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations, pulling in US$68.5 million to rack up total earnings of US$365 million since it opened last weekend.
Its triumph echoed last year's Christmas number one, "Star Wars: Rogue One," which told the backstory to the original 1977 hit.
The movie has so far netted US$745.4 million worldwide, according to industry analyst Paul Dergarabedian, although the record to beat remains 2009's "Avatar," which earned US$2.7 billion.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the 2015 predecessor to the "The Last Jedi," made just under US$2 billion.
Christmas week is traditionally a time when studios flood the screens with new releases, and the Star Wars epic was trailed by three new films.
In second place was the Dwayne Johnson family adventure "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" which made US$34 million for Sony.
"Pitch Perfect 3," which follows the continuing adventures of glee singers the Bellas, led by Anna Kendrick, was in third, earning US$20.5 million for Universal.
That was followed by "The Greatest Showman," a musical in which Hugh Jackman plays the legendary circus impresario PT Barnum. That earned US$8.6 million over the three-day weekend period.
Animated feature "Ferdinand," the story of a pacifist bull forced to face down the greatest bullfighter in the world, was fifth. It netted weekend receipts of US$7 million in the United States and Canada in its second week.
Rounding out the top ten were:
"Coco" (US$5.2 million)
"Downsizing" (US$4.6 million)
"Darkest Hour" (US$4.1 million)
"Father Figures" (US$3.2 million)
"The Shape of Water" (US$3.1 million)--AFP