November 21, 2021

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 11.21.2021


OPENINGS:  GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE (Columbia/Sony) opened with $44M, which was $2M below the launch of the 2016 Ghostbusters, a result treated as such a disaster that the franchise had to be re-rebooted.  Afterlife, though, is considered a success, thanks to a lower production budget ($75M, moderate for a tentpole), pandemic box office standards, and the fact that Afterlife‘s number, however modest, exceeded the $30-35M expectations of the pundits.  Since the new film is pitched to families, it should do well during the upcoming holiday week as well.  (Weekend 2 of the 2016 movie dropped 54%.)  However, the Ghostbusters franchise is one of the few to earn the bulk of its revenue in the US, and its overseas debut was light at $16M in 31 markets (the 2016 Ghostbusters totaled at $100M overseas after a $19.1M opening weekend).

At $5.7M, KING RICHARD (Warners, also on HBO Max) reinforced the fact that the older audience for adult dramas still hasn’t returned to theaters.  King Richard will also hope for a holiday week bounty from families, but this dim start may dent its status as the “crowd-pleaser” Oscar candidate.

HOLDOVERS:  ETERNALS (Marvel/Disney) lost its Imax and similar format screens to Ghostbusters, and fell 60% to $10.8M in its 3rd weekend.  It’s on track for $160-170M in the US, which would make it the lowest-grossing Marvel title of the pandemic era, and one of the lowest in the entire MCU.  It has $200.3M overseas after a $22.7M weekend in 49 territories.

CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG (Nickelodeon/Paramount, also on Paramount+) dropped 51% to $8.1M in its 2nd weekend, and the upcoming holiday should help it reach $60M in the US, better than the $40M for Paw Patrol, which had a similar release pattern.  Clifford hasn’t yet opened overseas.

DUNE (Legendary/Warners, also on HBO Max) should pass $100M in the US next week, after a Weekend 5 45% drop to $3.1M.  It has a much mightier $268.9M overseas.

VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (Marvel/Columbia/Sony) continues to hold very well, down 29% to $2.8M in its 8th weekend and with a chance of reaching $220M in the US, just slightly below Shang-Chi‘s $224.5M US pandemic record.  Overseas, it has $248.2M after a $6.7M weekend in 57 sectors, with Australia and Japan yet to open.  Carnage should slip past the first Venom‘s $213.5M in the US, but won’t get near that film’s $642.6M international total.

Largely on the back of its huge overseas success, NO TIME TO DIE (MGM) has become the highest-grossing English-language release worldwide of the pandemic.  In the US, it dropped 40% to $2.7M in its 7th weekend, and will probably top off at $165M.  But internationally, it has a massive $579.4M, $13.4M of it from this weekend’s total in 72 territories.

In its 5th weekend, THE FRENCH DISPATCH (Searchlight/Disney) lost about 1/3 of its theaters and fell 45% to $1M, unlikely to get much past $15M in the US.  Sadly, at that number it will be one of the highest-grossing adult-aimed films of the year, and those moderately ahead of it (Respect reached $24.3M) had wider releases.  French Dispatch also has $14.8M overseas.

BELFAST (Focus/Universal) also isn’t finding traction at theaters, down 47% to $900K in its 2nd weekend.  It hasn’t yet opened overseas.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The arthouse audience in NY/LA stirred to a semblance of life as CMON CMON (A24) opened at 5 theaters with a fair $27K per-theater weekend average (boosted in part by a series of filmmaker Q&As).  However, that number looks less impressive in light of the $26K per-theater average French Dispatch had in its opening weekend at 52 theaters.  INDIA SWEETS & SPICES (Bleecker Street) launched quietly with a $500 average at 343.  JULIA (Sony Classics) expanded to 47 with a $900 average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Due to the holiday, the wide openings arrive on Wednesday:  the animated ENCANTO (Disney), the different kind of animated HOUSE OF GUCCI (UA/MGM), and horror reboot RESIDENT EVIL: WELCOME TO RACCOON CITY (Screen Gems/Sony).  Friday brings the much-awaited limited release of LICORICE PIZZA (UA/MGM). 

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."