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Women rule the box office in 2017

Warner Brothers

Gal Gadot, in a scene from “Wonder Woman.”

By Brooks Barnes New York Times 

LOS ANGELES — Sorry, Batman. So close, yet so far away, Star-Lord. Better luck next time, Captain Jack Sparrow.

Rather, the three most popular movies at theaters in the United States and Canada in 2017 — “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Wonder Woman” — were each driven by female characters, something that has not happened in at least 37 years, as far back as full box-office data is available. The top comedy of the year, “Girls Trip,” was also anchored by women, as was the top film to play in limited release, “Lady Bird.”

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“Women truly emerged as the giants of cinema this year,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior comScore analyst, adding Oscar contenders like “The Shape of Water,” “The Post,” and “I, Tonya” to the list.

Between Friday and Sunday, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (Walt Disney Studios) collected an estimated $52.4 million to become the No. 1 movie of 2017 in North America, with a three-week total of $517 million. Overseas, “The Last Jedi” has taken in an additional $523.3 million and has yet to arrive in China, the world’s second-largest movie market.

Disney also had the No. 2 movie of the year. The live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast,” with Emma Watson as the warbling Belle, collected $504 million at domestic theaters. Directed by Bill Condon, “Beauty and the Beast” took in $759.5 million overseas.

Third place went to that breaker of comic-book movie glass ceilings, “Wonder Woman,” which lassoed $412.6 million in domestic ticket sales ($409.3 million overseas) for Warner Bros., minting two new A-list stars in the process — actress Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins.

Overall, the year was a mixed one for studios and theater owners. Domestic ticket sales totaled about $11.12 billion, a 2.3 percent decline from last year and on par with results for 2015.