November 25, 2018

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 11.25.2018


OPENINGS:  RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET (Disney) was somewhat frontloaded, with a 44% drop on Day 2, so it didn’t challenge Frozen‘s $93.6M record for the biggest 5-day Thanksgiving opening.  But Disney has nothing to complain about with a #2 ranking and $84.5M ($55.7M over the 3-day weekend), putting it on track for $250M at the US box office, based on the performance of Thanksgiving openings Coco and Moana.  That would be a huge 30% bump over Wreck It Ralph.  The overseas release strategy will be gradual over the next several months, with a $41.5M start in 18 initial markets (including China).

CREED II (MGM/New Line/Warners) was robust with $55.8M over 5 days ($35.3M since Friday), the largest live-action Thanksgiving launch ever, and similarly up 32% from the 5-day Thanksgiving start for the first Creed, suggesting a $140M+ US total on moderate costs.  Creed II hasn’t yet opened internationally, and will hope to build on the first Creed, which only earned 37% of its worldwide box office overseas.

After those two, the holiday openings took a steep step down.  ROBIN HOOD (Summit/Lionsgate) had a dim $9.1M weekend ($14.2M since Wednesday) and may only reach $40M in the US, a disaster for an action spectacle with $160M+ in production/marketing costs.  Early signs are that it can’t hope for rescue overseas, with an $8.7M opening in 33 territories.

Several awards hopefuls expanded to the lower end of wide release this weekend, and none of them shined.  GREEN BOOK (DreamWorks/Participant/Universal) had a $5.4M weekend ($7.4M since Wednesday) in 1063 theatres, belying its narrative about being a “crowd-pleaser.”  It’s apparently going to hold its current theatre count next weekend and will expand further on December 7 (after the Golden Globe nominations are announced), but unless it shows some strength quickly, it may have trouble holding onto a theatrical presence once the holiday blockbusters start rolling in.  It hasn’t yet opened overseas.

BOY ERASED (Focus/Universal), now in 672 theatres, averaged a weak $1700 per theatre over the 3-day weekend for $1.2M ($1.6M since Wednesday).

THE FRONT RUNNER (Columbia/Sony) was even worse at 807 theatres with a per-theatre average of $800 over the 3-day weekend, a total of $600K ($900K since Wednesday).

HOLDOVERS:  THE GRINCH (Illumination/Universal) had the holdover lead with a $30.2M 3-day weekend ($35.4M since Wednesday), down 22% weekend-to-weekend, and now on track for $240M in the US.  It has $35.3M in early overseas release after a $7.6M weekend in 33 territories.

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD (Warners) is starting to look like a major disappointment.  Despite the holiday, it fell 52% over the 3-day weekend to $29.7M ($43M since Wednesday), and now seems unlikely to get much past $175M in the US, a 25% drop from the first Beasts.  Although the franchise continues to be much bigger overseas, its $322.6M total after a $83.7M weekend in all major markets suggests that it may fall 20% there as well, for a $650M worldwide total.  That would still be profitable on $350M in costs, but if the series doesn’t stabilize, it may have difficulties lasting until its projected 5-film target.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (Regency/20th) dipped just 14% weekend-to-weekend to $13.9M ($19.4M since Wednesday), as it heads toward $180M in the US.  As big as it is here, it’s a monster overseas, with $320.2M after a $38M weekend, and it may well chase $600M worldwide.

INSTANT FAMILY (Paramount) is benefiting from world of mouth, down 14% over the 3-day weekend to $12.5M ($17.4M since Wednesday), and may reach $60M in the US.  That’s still not necessarily profitable on $100M+ in costs, but it could leg out if it has international appeal when it opens overseas.

WIDOWS (Regency/20th) dropped 36% weekend-to-weekend to $8M ($10.6M since Wednesday), on its way to a so-so $40M in the US.  It has $13.4M in early overseas release.

A STAR IS BORN (MGM/Warners) lost 30% weekend-to-weekend to $3M ($4.1M since Wednesday), and we’ll see if Warners can keep it in theatres long enough for it to cross the magic $200M mark.  Overseas, it’s at $162.4M.

VENOM (Tencent/Columbia/Sony) remains an overseas juggernaut.  In the US, it dropped 61% to $800K over the 3 day weekend ($1.1M since Wednesday), and may reach $215M.  Internationally, though, it’s at $610.8M ($242.9M from China) after a $21.3M weekend in 63 territories.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE FAVOURITE (Fox Searchlight) was tailor-made for the NY/LA arthouse corridor, and it played like gangbusters there with a $105K per-theatre average over the 3-day weekend.  That’s being reported as the best per-theatre average of the year, but note that it includes Tuesday and Wednesday night “preview” screenings; it’s also worth noting that these exclusive openings can be misleading, as per the film Favourite (sort of) beat, Suspiria, which launched with a $92K average and then died in wide release, currently at a $2.3M total.  The critically-acclaimed SHOPLIFTERS (Magnolia) opened with an OK $18M average at 5 theatres.  AT ETERNITY’S GATE (CBS/Lionsgate) expanded to 31 with a $6800 average.  MARIA BY CALLAS (Sony Classics) averaged $2900 at 55.

NEXT WEEKEND:  We’re entering 2 weekends of barren times at the box office, traditionally 2 of the lowest-grossing weekends of the year before the holiday avalanche arrives  The only wide opening next week is the low-budget horror item THE POSSESSION OF HANNAH GRACE (Screen Gems/Sony), and limited releases include ANNA & THE APOCALYPSE (Orion/MGM) and HEAD FULL OF HONEY (Warners).

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."