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November 7, 2021

Behind the Weekend US/Worldwide Box Office – 11.7.2021

 

OPENINGS:  ETERNALS (Marvel/Disney) opened at the low end of expectations with $71M, not a surprise given its lousy reviews (48% on Rotten Tomatoes, unprecedented for the MCU) and blah audience exit polls.  Even so, that makes it the #4 US opening of the pandemic era, and all of those quartet members are Marvel movies.  Eternals faces limited direct competition for the next month, so word of mouth will determine whether it can leg out a lengthy run.  Overseas, Eternals launched at $90.7M in 46 markets that represented nearly all of its projected distribution.  (It’s unlikely to open in China.)  It’s worth noting here that “profitability” is something that Disney and the other studios are going to have to grapple with at some point.  Before Covid, the worldwide box office for Marvel movies was in the neighborhood of $1B, but none of the 2021 titles may get past $500M.  It isn’t clear when or if theaters will be back at full strength, and while a key part of the appeal for the superhero genre is sheer spectacle, a $350M investment in production and marketing becomes hard to justify once theaters and in some cases governments take their share of ticket sales, unless studio accounting provides enough shadow revenue from in-house streaming services to make the difference.  The size of these films may have to be–carefully–scaled back.

SPENCER (Neon) attempted to counterprogram the Marvel blockbuster, but its $2.1M weekend at 996 theaters (a $2200 per-theater average, compared to $17.4K for Eternals) underscored that the audience for non-franchise movies is still staying home.

HOLDOVERS:  DUNE (Legendary/Warners, also on HBO Max) dropped 51% to $7.6M in its 3rd weekend, a solid hold considering that it had lost nearly all of its Imax and other premium-ticket screens to Eternals.  It should have enough spice to reach $100M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $246.5M after a $11.1M weekend in 75 territories.

NO TIME TO DIE (MGM) dipped just 20% to $6.2M in its 5th weekend and may pass $165M in the US, within reach of the $167-168M US totals for Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, although the film’s release on VOD next week may cut into the theatrical box office.  It’s the #2 English-language film of the year worldwide (behind F9), thanks to an outstanding $524.3M overseas total after a $27.2M weekend in 72 markets.

VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE (Marvel/Columbia/Sony) also showed durability with a 22% drop to $4.5M in its 6th weekend, heading toward $210M in the US.  It has $227.6M overseas following an $11.4M weekend in 54 territories.

RON’S GONE WRONG (20th/Disney) had the family market to itself, and despite losing about 25% of its theaters, it was down just 4% to $3.6M in its 3rd weekend, although that still puts it on pace for a merely OK $30M or so in US theaters.  It has $28.9M overseas.

THE FRENCH DISPATCH (Searchlight/Disney) was a different story, able to hold steady at $2.6M in its 3rd weekend only because it increased its theater count by over 50%.  It’s unclear how much wider it can expand beyond its current 1205 theaters, and may have difficulty getting to $20M in the US.

With the passing of its signature holiday, HALLOWEEN KILLS (Blumhouse/Universal) collapsed by 73% to $2.4M in its 4th weekend, and now seems likely to run out of gas before hitting $100M.  Nevertheless, it will turn a profit thanks to its low costs.  It has $37.3M overseas.

ANTLERS (Searchlight/Disney) had the strongest hold of last week’s openings, although none of them were particularly impressive, with a 53% drop to $2M, and $5.2M overseas.  Anime titles are typically front-loaded, and MY HERO ACADEMIA: WORLD HEROES MISSION (Funimation) was no exception, falling 75% to $1.6M, and with $29.8M internationally.  The biggest bust continued to be LAST NIGHT IN SOHO (Focus/Universal), down 57% to $1.8M, with $5.2M overseas.  All three films are headed to $15M in the US.

LIMITED RELEASE:  The Indian-language niche is one of the more reliable parts of the current box office economy, and this weekend welcomed SOORYAVANSHI (Reliance) with $1.3M at 491 theatres, and ANNAATTHE (Qube) with $940K at 398.  Meanwhile, THE SOUVENIR PART II (A24), despite stellar reviews, expanded to 15 theatres with a $2700 per theater weekend average.

NEXT WEEKEND:  BELFAST (Focus/Universal) is the next awards-hopeful to try and find a path to commercial success in the current market.  In addition, the documentary JULIA (Sony Classics) will open in limited release.



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 screened.com and the-burg.com. In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."