December 27, 2020

US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office Report – 12.27.2020


OPENINGS:  WW84 (DC/Warners)–that’s the official title per the credits–had the biggest US opening of the pandemic era with $16.7M (a $7800 per-theatre average), much higher than the $9.7M for The Croods: A New Age, and even more impressive considering that millions more stayed home to watch the movie on HBO Max.  The weekend box office was probably 15% or less of what the opening would have been in normal times (the first Wonder Woman opened at $103.3M), but these are emphatically not normal times.  With the holiday week ahead, WW84 is well-placed to pass Tenet (currently at $57.9M) as the highest-grossing US pandemic release, but what remains to be seen is how much information Warners will provide about its streaming viewership.  Overseas, where HBO Max is not yet available, WW84 is at $68.3M after a $19.4M weekend in 40 markets, and it will have a much tougher time getting near Tenet‘s $304.3M.  Note: in a traditional Hollywood PR move, Warners announced a “fast-tracked” third Wonder Woman today, although the most interesting part of the press release may have been its definitive words about that being the final entry in a trilogy.

The theatrical release template has changed so fast that the plan for NEWS OF THE WORLD (Universal) feels almost traditional, even though Universal’s deal for a 17-day theatres-only release followed by home availability is just a few months old.  News is also the last remnant of an Oscars strategy that studios have followed for decades on their prestige titles, with a Christmas Day opening meant to start momentum that would lead to nominations.  The reviews have been solid if unexceptional (84% on Rotten Tomatoes), and the box office was unimpressive at $2.4M for the weekend, translating into a $1300 per-theatre average.  It’s currently a US-only release.

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (Focus/Universal) will follow the same game plan as News Of the World, and will also hope for Oscars attention.  It would probably have had a NY/LA opening to start in normal times, then widened gradually as strong reviews (91% on Rotten Tomatoes) pushed it forward, but that wasn’t an option in 2020, and it started slow at $680K, a $500 per-theatre average.

PINOCCHIO (Roadside) will apparently observe the traditional 3-month theatrical window, but it’s not clear that anyone will care after a $275K opening, a $360 average.  In the “some things never change” department, even that number may not stand up in finals, since it would require the strongest Sunday hold on the board.  Pinocchio entered international release more than a year ago, and has accumulated $20.5M.

SOUL (Pixar/Disney) is exclusively on Disney+ in the US, but will have a theatrical run in international areas where the service doesn’t exist, and it opened to $7.6M in 10 territories.

HOLDOVERS:  THE CROODS: A NEW AGE (DreamWorks/Universal) is already available at home, and it held up fairly well with a 17% drop to $1.8M in its 5th weekend, with a chance to reach $40M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $67.9M after a $9.2M weekend in 16 markets.

MONSTER HUNTER (Screen Gems/Sony, traditional theatrical window) found nothing under its tree, falling 49% to $1.1M from last week’s opening.  It may not see $10M in the US.  It has $4.8M overseas.

FATALE (Lionsgate, VOD in January) dropped 28% to $660K in its 2nd weekend and probably won’t get to $5M in the US.  It hasn’t reached international shores.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Another piece of studio tradition that remains in force is kicking off the new year with a low-budget horror movie, in this case THE DEVIL’S LIGHT (Lionsgate).

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."