November 28, 2021

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 11.28.2021


OPENINGS:  After an October built on blockbusters that had been held off the market for more than a year, Thanksgiving weekend served as a reminder (to all except those paid to tout box office totals) that the theatrical release business continues to be far from recovered in the lingering Covid world.  Overall business was down more than 45% from Thanksgiving 2019, and the weekend was topped by ENCANTO (Disney) at $27M ($40M with Wed-Thurs), the lowest Thanksgiving leader since 2003’s The Haunted Mansion, and far below the 5-day opening totals for Ralph Breaks the Internet ($84.5M), Coco ($72.9M), and Moana ($82.1M), let alone giants like Frozen 2.  Strong word of mouth may well keep Encanto going through the holiday season, but movies of this budget magnitude just can’t break even at this level of return.  The film also earned $29.3M overseas in 47 territories.

HOUSE OF GUCCI (MGM) opened at $14.2M ($21.8M over 5 days), which is a high number in the current environment for an adult-skewing drama (although in this case the word “drama” may be a stretch for a film mostly praised for its campiness), but again not a starting place for profit on a production that cost $150M+ to make and market.  It also has $12.9M from 40 international markets.

Even those willing to stretch the definition of “success” won’t be able to find much to celebrate from the reboot RESIDENT EVIL: WELCOME TO RACCOON CITY (Screen Gems/Sony) at $5.3M ($8.8M since Wednesday).  That compares badly with the $13.6M 3-day start for 2016’s Resident Evil: The Final ChapterRaccoon City will hope to make the bulk of its revenue overseas, as was the case with the original franchise, but $5.1M in 15 territories isn’t a great start.

Opening in barely-wide release at 519 theaters, FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY (Freestyle) managed just $200K for the 3-day weekend ($300K since Wednesday).

HOLDOVERS:  GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE (Columbia/Sony) dropped 44% to $24.5M ($35.3M including Wed-Thurs), and may reach $165M in the US.  Afterlife will benefit from a relatively low production budget.  However, its current international total is a low $28M.

ETERNALS (Marvel/Disney) lost 29% to $7.9M ($11.4M over 5 days) in its 4th weekend, and is heading toward $175M in the US, the lowest of the year’s MCU titles (even though Black Widow was available simultaneously on Disney+).  However, Eternals is proving stronger overseas at $217.8M.

CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG (Nickelodeon/Paramount, also on Paramount+) dipped 40% to $4.9M ($6.9M since Wednesday) in its 3rd weekend, on its way to $60M in the US.  Thus far, it’s had a negligible overseas release.

Despite the hopes that word of mouth would boost ticket sales, KING RICHARD (Warners, also on HBO Max) fell 39% to $3.3M from last week’s opening (Warners doesn’t release weekday box office numbers, so we don’t know about Wed-Thurs), and may manage to pass $20M in the US.  It has $5.2M overseas.

In better news for Warners, DUNE (Legendary/Warners) became the studio’s 2nd 2021 film to pass $100M at the US box office (after Godzilla vs. Kong) despite its split release with HBO Max.  It dropped 32% to $2.2M in its 6th weekend, and may reach $110M.  It’s also earned $272M overseas.

NO TIME TO DIE (MGM) was down 37% to $1.8M ($2.5M since Wednesday) in its 8th weekend as it edges toward $165M in the US.  It’s far more of a blockbuster overseas, where it’s reached $600M.

VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (Marvel/Columbia/Sony) lost about 40% of its theaters and fell 46% to $1.6M ($2.2M with Wed-Thurs) in Weekend 9, and may end up at $215M in the US., almost exactly the same as the first Venom‘s $213.5M.  However, it has just $260.1M overseas, compared to its predecessor’s $642.6M.

Despite almost doubling its theater count, BELFAST (Focus/Universal) only rose 2% to less than $1M over the 3-day weekend (it was at $1.3M with Wed-Thurs), a lower per-theater average than anything in the Top 10.  It may have difficulty getting much past $10M in the US, and hasn’t yet opened overseas.

LIMITED RELEASE:  There was finally a piece of legitimately good news in the arthouse sector, where LICORICE PIZZA (Bron/Focus/UA/MGM) had a tremendous 4-theater NY/LA opening with a per-theater $84K average over the 3-day weekend, a number that would have been impressive even pre-Covid.  Whether it will be able to hold that momentum as it widens is another question, but the launch was about as big as anyone could have hoped.  The balancing cautionary tale was CMON CMON (A24) which expanded from 4 theaters to 102 and saw its per-theater average plunge from $27K to $3K.  The expansion for JULIA (Sony Classics) was even worse, with a $300 per-theater average at 288.

NEXT WEEKEND:  The post-Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally terrible for Hollywood, and the studios are following their normal pattern and staying away, with WOLF (Focus/Universal) as the only wide opening.  Limited releases include FLEE (Neon).


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."