‘Star Wars’ passes ‘Beauty and the Beast’ as top 2017 earner, hits $1 billion worldwide

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LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 09: (L-R) Actors Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro, Kelly Marie Tran, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson, Writer/Director Rian Johnson, Producer Ram Bergman, Composer John Williams and Producer Kathleen Kennedy at the world premiere of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi at The Shrine Auditorium on December 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

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HOLLYWOOD – On the last day of the calendar year, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has surpassed “Beauty and the Beast” as the top grossing film in North America in 2017. It also topped the charts for the weekend for the third time, but just barely — Dwayne Johnson’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is close on its tail.

According to studio estimates on Sunday, “The Last Jedi” will add $52.4 million over the weekend bringing its domestic total to $517.1 million. “Beauty and the Beast,” also a Disney release, netted out with $504 million for the year.

With the weekend’s earnings, “The Last Jedi” will also cross the $1 billion mark globally — even before it opens in China on Jan. 5.

“As end of year marketplaces go, this is a great time to be a moviegoer,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for comScore. “There are so many movies out there, the only trick is how do you see all of them.”

The year as a whole will surpass $11 billion again, with comScore projecting $11.12 billion, which is down 2.3 percent from last year’s record-breaking grosses ($11.4 billion), and almost on par with 2015’s $11.14 billion.

“We actually had a really great end of year surge,” Dergarabedian said. “‘Star Wars’ adding about a half billion dollars didn’t hurt. But ‘Star Wars’ didn’t do this alone. It’s not just about the big movies at the top, it’s also about the smaller movies that provided a really great foundation. Every dollar counts.”

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