Star Wars: The Last Jedi dominating the movie galaxy with projected $100m US box office weekend sales

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Associated Press

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is continuing its dominance over the movie galaxy as expected, out-pacing three new releases.

The eighth installment in the Disney-owned space saga is expected to add another nearly $US69 million ($NZ98 million) to its coffers over the weekend, according to studio estimates today.

Sony's adventure caper Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle debuted in second place with $US34 million. A pair of critically panned new musicals followed: Universal's Pitch Perfect 3 opened in third place with $US20.4 million and Fox's The Greatest Showman debuted in fourth with $US8.6 million.

These three new releases collectively earned less than The Last Jedi since opening on Friday.

"It's an overwhelming array of options at the movie theatre, which could prove daunting to most moviegoers," said box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of comScore.

"But you'd have to be a Scrooge not to find a movie you like in this marketplace."

Sony's president of distribution, Adrian Smith, said he was "absolutely pleased" with the performance of Jumanji so far.

"It's above our expectations," he said. "We have incredible momentum as we head into one of the biggest movie-going weeks of the year."

Dergarabedian said the period between Christmas and New Year's Day is traditionally among the busiest times at the Cineplex.

Families are together and theatres are brimming with blockbusters and awards-season hopefuls.

Two celebrated films, Darkest Hour and The Shape of Water, expanded to hundreds more screens this weekend.

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