Beca and the Barden Bellas, N.W.A., B-Rabbit (a.k.a. Eminem), and now Queen: Those are the subjects of the music-themed films (not straight musicals) with the biggest openings ever. Bohemian Rhapsody’s $50 million start even bested Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born which, just a month ago, started with $42.9 million and remains a force at the box office. With this big of an opening there is a good chance Bohemian Rhapsody – which is teetering on just Fresh at 60% on the Tomatometer – could be no. 1 next weekend too, though a certain green guy may have something to say about that.
Among the historical November openings most similar to Bohemian Rhapsody’s first weekend, six are animated films. One of the other four happens to be 2002’s 8 Mile, which began with $51.2 million but managed just a 2.27 multiple afterwards for a final haul of $116.7 million. Queen has a broader appeal (as does a PG-13 rating), so it should be able to fly right past that. The other non-animated films on the list of similar November openings are The Matrix Revolutions ($48.4 million opening / $139.3 million total), Die Another Day ($47 million / $160.9 million), and Interstellar ($47.5 million / $188.0 million).
As of this weekend, A Star is Born is up to a 3.86 multiple and continues to climb after its fifth straight week of eight-digit weekend earnings. The top three openers on the music-themed movies list (ranging from $51.2 million to $69.2 million for their opening weekends) have multiples of just 2.66 (Pitch Perfect 2), 2.67 (Straight Outta Compton), and the aforementioned 2.27 (the aforementioned 8 Mile). With those numbers in mind, Bohemian Rhapsody could end up with a final total of between $126 million and $193 million. The smart money is likely somewhere in the middle.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is the sixth film since 1986 to feature Tchaikovsky’s seasonal ballet in the title. Its $20 million opening weekend is almost quadruple the combined grosses of those previous five films ($5.88 million). Time for a celebratory dance, right? But here’s the thing. Not only is this the worst-reviewed Disney film since Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, with a Tomatometer score of 34%, but its opening weekend is the lowest opening for a Disney project released in over 3,000 theaters since the back-to-back releases of The BFG ($18.7 million) and Pete’s Dragon ($21.5 million) in the summer of 2016. Lasse Hallström’s film (with re-shoots by a co-credited Joe Johnston) cost nearly as much as The BFG (reportedly somewhere between $120 million and $133 million), so it will need to over-perform significantly overseas. Thankfully, the Mouse House still has Marvel, Pixar, and Episode IX to help cover the cost, not to mention the return of Mary Poppins later in the year.
Halloween ruled the box office for the last two weeks. However, Octover 31 is over and audiences are starting to abandon it fast. A 65% drop this week puts the film at just over $150 million. Looking historically at films that had earned box office totals in that range after 17 days, the lowest grosser is X-Men Origins: Wolverine, with a total take of $179.8 million. If Halloween can get there, it will surpass Get Out as Blumhouse’s highest domestic grosser to date. Not so fast though. XMO: Wolverine had a third weekend of $14.7 million; Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, which finished with $180 million, made $13.3 million; and The Simpsons Movie made $11.2 million on its third weekend, though went on to finish with $183.1 million. Halloween made $11 million this weekend. If Halloween drops below $6.8 million next week, Jordan Peele’s Oscar-winning film is going to start breathing a little easier.
Because they’re so heavily frontloaded, only 45% of Marvel films have managed a 2.60 multiple or higher over their opening weekend. Venom, which will be hitting $200 million in the next week, needs to earn $208.7 million to enter that club. Meanwhile, A Star is Born is climbing its way to one of the biggest multiples of 2018 for wide openers. With $165 million to date, it currently has the 10th best multiple of the year, and the seventh best of movies opening in more than 3,000 theaters. The year’s champion remains WB’s Crazy Rich Asians, with a 6.52 multiple.
Tyler Perry had a new film with Tiffany Haddish out this weekend called Nobody’s Fool. It finished third with $13.8 million, which is the filmmaker’s third weakest opening ever ahead of just Daddy’s Little Girls ($11.2 million) and The Single Moms Club ($8 million). Nobody’s Fool is the ninth film directed by Perry to hit 25% or below on the Tomatometer.
In limited release, Beautiful Boy was bumped up to 540 theaters this weekend and it grossed $1.4 million for a total of $3.2 million to date. That’s just a $2,620 per-theater-average, which is just below the expansion of Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria (61% on the Tomatometer): Last week, the horror remake had the highest PTA of the year in just two theaters, but after adding another 309 to that total it grossed just $964,722 for an average of $3,102 per theater. Joseph Kahn’s rap-battle festival favorite, Bodied (Certified Fresh at 87%), made $50,528 for a $3,609 average in 14 theaters. In another corner of the music world, Sony Classics’ documentary, Maria By Callas, posted a $9,540 average in 16 theaters for a total of $152,633. Lee Chang-dong’s Burning (94% on the Tomatometer), released by Well Go, just beat that out with a $9,592 average in six theaters. Its total stands at $97,299. Leading the PTA battle this week was Joel Edgerton’s Boy Erased, Certified Fresh at 85%, which made $220,000 in five theaters, followed by A Private War (88% on the Tomatometer), featuring an incredible Rosamund Pike, which made $72,000 in four theaters.
Marvel kicked off the holiday box office with a bang when Thor: Ragnarok opened with $122.7 million. That film’s earnings made up 68% of all grosses tracked that weekend and was the ninth highest opening for a Marvel film at the time. Since then, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Deadpool 2 have knocked it back to 12th. A Bad Moms Christmas opened on Wednesday and managed $21.2 million in its first five days; the first film made $23.8 million in its first three days. As for milestones, It crossed the $325 million mark in its ninth weekend. The top 10 films grossed a total of $164.6 million and averaged 53.9% on the Tomatometer; this year the top 10 earned an estimated total gross of $128.3 million and is currently averaging 57.1% with critics.
The studio behind Despicable Me, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing is set to deliver their next major success when Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch gets the Illumination treatment. The film, featuring the voice talent of Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead mean role, should have legs as it plays into the holiday season. Meanwhile, it’s Claire Foy’s turn to play Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, director Fede Alvarez’s follow-up to his successful thriller, Don’t Breathe. The movie is currently Fresh at 68% based on 22 early reviews. J.J. Abrams’ production company releases their first R-rated effort with the Nazi horror film, Overlord, and Hugh Jackman assumes the role of disgraced politician, Gary Hart, in Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]