Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: Beyoncé is Queen

Meanwhile, John Woo's Silent Night stumbles, Godzilla Minus One lands in third, and The Marvels drops out of the top 10 after just three weeks.

by | December 4, 2023 | Comments


The new Beyoncé concert film this weekend pulled off something that few films have over the years. It is not an extraordinary accomplishment by any means, but it should keep itself on a short list whenever future writers of box office punditry talk about this weekend. Not this weekend specifically, mind you, but the first weekend of December, historically speaking. Renaissance is hardly the one-time phenomenon that was Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, nor did it reach the heights of Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber. But Beyoncé is No. 1 this weekend at the box office and in many of our hearts as well.

Queen of the Crop: Beyoncé Rules the Weekend

So what did Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé accomplish in theaters this weekend? Well, it grossed $21 million. That makes it one of the best starts ever for a film opening on the first full weekend of December. Not quite 2001’s Ocean’s Eleven ($38.1 million) or even The Golden Compass ($25.7 million) or The Last Samurai ($24.2 million), and certainly not Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour ($92.8 million). But when people trot out the best December starts ever, Beyonce’s Renaissance will be in the top five. At least, until studios stop treating the post-holiday weekend as a dead zone. If people want it, they will come.

And come they did for the singer, even if the allure of big screen concert films already hit its peak with Swift. Pretty quick turnaround from $90 million to the low 20s to Jennifer Lopez’s own film about her new album going straight to streaming in February. In essence, Renaissance fits right in with the spate of concert docs from 2008-2013, including Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert ($31.1 million opening / $65.2 million total), Justin Bieber: Never Say Never ($29.5 / $73.0), One Direction: This Is Us ($15.8 / $28.8), Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience ($12.5 / $19.1), Katy Perry: Part of Me ($7.1 / $25.3), and Glee: The 3D Concert Movie ($5.9 / $11.8). OK, Beyoncé actually smoked some of those and will surpass their final grosses when the film re-opens in theaters next weekend as it takes the same no-to-weekdays approach that The Eras Tour did. That may keep it from getting to Bieber and Cyrus numbers, but no one will accuse the film of being a lemon.

Rotten Returns: John Woo Stumbes in Return to Hollywood 

John Woo’s return to U.S. cinemas with the nearly-dialogue-free Silent Night grossed just $3 million. That’s the fourth-lowest opening for a film on the first full weekend of December in over 1,500 theaters. The lowest was Playmobil: The Movie, which opened to just $656,530. National Lampoon’s Van Wilder made $2.31 million in 2006 and Blumhouse Tilt’s release of 2016’s Incarnate opened to $2.53 million. Even Punisher: War Zone opened to $4.2 million back in 2008.

The Top 10 and Beyond: Trolls Band Together for Second, The Marvels Suffers Big Drop to Third

Down to second place this week is The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, earning another $14.5 million and bringing its total to $121.2 million. Wreck-It Ralph, Happy Feet, and Coco all had between $121-122 million after their first 17 days in theaters, but their third weekends were in the $17-18 million range. By that measure, Songbirds & Snakes is closer to Casino Royale and Interstellar — slightly behind their third weekends but, respectively, about $6-12 million ahead of them both day-to-day. Christopher Nolan’s film actually increased in its fourth weekend, but the numbers still favor Hunger Games getting somewhere in the $165-175 million domestic region. That could see the film hit over $300 million worldwide, which is nowhere near the $600+ million of the lowest-grossing films in the franchise, but more than enough to turn a profit and keep hopes alive for another chapter.

Securing a third place finish is Toho International’s Godzilla Minus One, which has impressed critics to the tune of a spectacular 97% on the Tomatometer. In 2,308 theaters the film opened with $11 million. That also joins a short list of non-English films that includes 2004’s Hero ($18 million), 2006’s Fearless ($10.5 million), Baahubali 2: The Conclusion ($10.4 million), and, of course, The Passion of the Christ ($83.8 million). This Godzilla was never going to be in the same league, dollar-wise, as the Hollywood versions of the past 25 years, but the respect it is being shown by critics and kaiju fans is going to make this one last in the conversation for generations.

While it may not be a mega-hit, Trolls Band Together has certainly become the current victor of the family box office this season. As we await to see how audiences respond to Wonka, the third Trolls film is well ahead of Disney’s Wish, overtaking it with $7.6 million this weekend. That brings the total to $74.8 million (and over $160 million worldwide), which currently has it hovering over the domestic numbers for Pokemon: The First Movie. That 1999 release had $7.1 million in its third weekend and a 17-day total of $73.4 million. It finished with $85.7 million after a huge drop in weekend four that Trolls is unlikely to take. Pokemon is just one of five November releases to fail to reach $100 million after having $70 million in the bank by weekend three. The others include Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dumb and Dumber To, Star Trek: First Contact, and Unbreakable, and eventually, this year’s The Marvels will join the list. The superhero adventure fell out of the top 10 with $2.51 million, putting its total to just over $80 million.

That brings us to the film that, in most years past, would normally be higher in the countdown. Disney’s Wish may not be last year’s big Thanksgiving miss, Strange World… except that it kind of might be. Wish’s second weekend is already down to just $7.4 million, bringing its 10-day total to $41.9 million and only $81.6 million worldwide. Now, that has already outgrossed Strange World domestically, but its $200 million budget is higher than Strange World’s $135 million, and it may be looking at similar losses. Flushed Away had $41 million after its first 12 days, though that included a $16.6 million second weekend and no holiday help. Free Birds only had $33.1 million in 12 days, with an $11.1 million sophomore weekend. Putting Wish’s final estimate somewhere between $55-65 million seems unfathomable after tracking services expected it to open to around $55 million through the holiday. But that is Disney’s year in a nutshell, and expect those TV bundle packages to get another price increase sooner rather than later.

Speaking of TV packages, did you hear Ridley Scott’s Napoleon is getting a four-hour cut on Apple TV+? Audiences may have chosen to wait for that, as they evidently opted not to see the film in theaters. The theatrical release from Sony in search of new subscribers from Apple fell 65% down to $7.1 million in weekend two, putting its total at $45.7 million. That lines it up with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s End of Days, which had roughly the same 12-day total after a second weekend of $9.6 million. If Napoleon falls similarly in the coming weeks (i.e. to about $4.7 million next week), it could be looking at a domestic theatrical total of $65-70 million against a budget that is either twice or three times that amount, depending on which report you believe. That’s the same range as Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, though Napoleon has already surpassed its international total ($86.2 million) with over $91 million itself.

Also debuting well as a foreign language release is the Hindi action film Animal. It opened to $6.1 million this weekend in just 697 theaters for a $8,751 per theater average. Only Pathaan had a larger opening for a Bollywood film, with $6.88 million. Angel Studios’ release of The Shift was in over three times as many theaters (2,450) and managed $4.3 million. Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving made another $2.6 million, bringing its total to $28.3 million. The $15 million-budgeted film just had its sequel greenlit, with Roth returning for another round of holiday carnage.

Off the list this week, A24 expanded Dream Scenario into 1,578 theaters and the results were less than stellar, as it grossed $1.6 million for a running total of $3.4 million. Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers grossed $1.1 million to bring its total to $15 million. Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn fell only 16% to gross $1.5 million for a standing total of $6.2 million. Finally, from the director of Lady MacBeth, Eileen with Thomasin McKenzie and Anne Hathaway grossed $90,000 in just six theaters.

On the Vine: Yorgos Lanthimos and Hayao Miyazaki Open New Films in Limited Release

Next week will be a week of limited releases, so hopefully you live in a big city, because you will get your first crack at seeing Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things with Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, and Willem Dafoe. One of the leading awards contenders will be a few theaters along with Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron, which he has announced as his final film (maybe). Look for some big per-theater-averages next week from both of them.

Full List of Box Office Results: December 1-3, 2023


  • $21 million ($21 million total)

64% The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (2023)

  • $14.5 million ($121.2 million total)

98% Godzilla Minus One (2023)

  • $11 million ($11 million total)

63% Trolls Band Together (2023)

  • $7.6 million ($74.8 million total)

48% Wish (2023)

  • $7.4 million ($41.9 million total)

58% Napoleon (2023)

  • $7.1 million ($45.7 million total)

30% Animal (2023)

  • $6.1 million ($6.1 million total)

37% The Shift (2023)

  • $4.3 million ($4.3 million total)

58% Silent Night (2023)

  • $3 million ($3 million total)

84% Thanksgiving (2023)

  • $2.6 million ($28.3 million total)

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]

Thumbnail image by ©Variance Films

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