'1917' which had been tracking for a $20 million to $25 million weekend, also ends the reign of Star Wars.
Sam Mendes' 1917 won the box office with a victorious $14 million for a projected $37 million US weekend, well ahead of expectations and one of the best nationwide starts ever for the month of January.
The acclaimed World War I drama, which had been tracking for a $20 million to $25 million weekend, also ends the reign of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which had topped the charts since blasting off Dec 20.
1917 is no doubt getting a boost from its top Golden Globe wins last weekend. More than 50 percent of ticket buyers were 35 or older, while 60 percent were male.
Watch the trailer of '1917' here
The period war epic, costing roughly $90 million to produce before marketing, was filmed to appear as if it were unfolding in one continuous shot.
'Rise of Skywalker', which has grossed north of $950 million globally, will come in No. 2 in its fourth weekend with an estimated $15 million to $16 million, followed by fellow holdover Jumanji: The Next Level with $13 million to $14 million in its fifth weekend.
Watch the trailer of 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' here
Paramount's 'Like a Boss', the first R-rated studio comedy of 2020, opened to $3.9 million on Friday for a projected $11 million domestic debut. The Michael Arteta-directed pic stars Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne and Salma Hayek, and tells the tale of two best friends whose beauty company is targeted by a cosmetics titan.
'Like a Boss' has been lambasted by critics but fared somewhat better with audiences. Two-thirds of ticket buyers were female, while 65 percent were 35 and younger.
The comedy is in a close race for fourth place with legal drama 'Just Mercy', another awards hopeful that opened in select cinemas over the holidays before expanding nationwide on Friday to $3.7 million.
'Just Mercy'— stars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx. Almost half of Friday ticket buyers were 50 and older.
Little Women remains a crowd-pleaser in its third outing. The Oscar hopeful and breakout box office hit is on course for a $7 million-plus weekend for a domestic total of roughly $75 million through Sunday.
Sci-fi thriller 'Underwater', starring Kristen Stewart, is getting lost in its domestic opening. The pic grossed $2.5 million on Friday for a projected $6 million to $7 million launch, a worrisome start for a movie that cost $50 million to make before marketing.