LOS ANGELES, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Universal's World War I epic "1917" sprinted to the top of North American box office as it expanded nationwide this weekend following two weeks in limited release, dethroning the epic space-opera film "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" with 36.5 million U.S. dollars.
The film has grossed 39.2 million dollars in North America for a global total of 60.4 million dollars through Sunday, according to studio figures collected by the measurement firm Comscore.
Directed and co-written by Sam Mendes, the Oscar-winning director of "American Beauty" and James Bond films "Skyfall," the stunning and breathtaking film chronicles the story of two young British soldiers during World War I who are given a seemingly impossible mission, racing against time to cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on 1,600 soldiers. The film is reportedly inspired by the war stories of Mendes' grandfather, who enlisted as a 17-year-old and fought in World War I.
The box office success of "1917" was fueled by the film's Golden Globes victory last Sunday, nabbing the awards for best drama and best director surprisingly.
The film received a positive "A-" rating from moviegoers on CinemaScore and holds an approval rating of 90 percent on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes to date.
Disney and Lucasfilm's "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" slid to second place with 15.1 million dollars in its fourth weekend after three consecutive weeks as box office champ. The film has grossed 478.2 million dollars in North America through Sunday for a global cume of 989.6 million dollars.
"Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" is the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following "The Force Awakens" in 2015 and "The Last Jedi" in 2017, and the final installment of nine Star Wars saga films.
Directed by J. J. Abrams and starring Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, the film follows the woman warrior Rey and the surviving Resistance as they face the First Order troops, who are now aided by the return of the deceased galactic emperor, Palpatine.
In third place, Sony's fantasy adventure comedy film "Jumanji: The Next Level" brought in 14 million dollars in its fifth weekend, pushing its North American total to 257.1 million dollars for a global cume of 671 million dollars through Sunday.
Directed by Jake Kasdan and based on the book "Jumanji" by Chris Van Allsburg, the film is the second sequel to "Jumanji" in 1995, following "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" in 2017.
In the latest follow-up, starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan, the gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own, the players will have to brave parts unknown and unexplored, from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to escape the world's most dangerous game.
Paramount's comedy film "Like A Boss" opened in fourth place with 10 million dollars this weekend.
Directed by Miguel Arteta and starring Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne among others, the film follows two best friends Mia and Mel who are running their own cosmetics company but things take a turn for the worse when their company runs into debt.
Warner Bros.' legal drama film "Just Mercy" was in a tie with "Like A Boss" with 10 million dollars in its third weekend after two weeks in limited release.
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson, the film, based on the award-winning nonfiction bestseller by Bryan Stevenson, follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his history-making battle for justice.