There wasn’t a lot of fanfare at the box office this weekend, and Sony may regret moving Ghostbusters: Afterlife from its original release date on Thursday, November 11 to next week on November 19. Call it the calm before a hopeful holiday season, as kids are getting vaccinated in great numbers and the industry is hoping there are plenty of returns to movie theaters before the new Spider-Man film sets a new benchmark. But there is another comic book film that continues to lead the way, and this weekend provided more clues just far it will go.
(Photo by ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/©Marvel Studios)
Disney, Marvel and Chloe Zhao’s Eternals once again led the box office for a second straight week. It fell 61% down to $27.5 million, which tracks with most of the films earning over $70 million in their opening weekend this year. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings fell just 54% while Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Black Widow, and F9 all fell between 64.7% and 67.8%. So on the positive side, Eternals had the second-best hold among the five top openers.
The haul this weekend brings the film’s total up to nearly $119 million. That is far lower than Shang-Chi, Venom Deux, and Black Widow had after 10 days. That total is also still higher than F9’s $116.1 million at the same point, and that provides hope that Eternals can reach the $175 million floor that every MCU film not titled The Incredible Hulk has hit. Eternals’ total ranks between the first Twilight film and the first Toy Story among all-time November releases, two films that grossed $192.7 million and $191.7 million, respectively, though both of them had lower openings and much higher second weeks. Again, in Eternals’ favor is the fact that the only November releases to have grossed $100 million in 10 days and not break $175 million were The Matrix Revolutions, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald, Die Another Day, 2012, and Quantum of Solace. Beasts was the highest 10-day total among them with $116.5 million. So this could indeed be close, but putting Eternals’ final haul right around $175 million is our starting point this week. Worldwide it is currently over $281 million.
(Photo by ©Paramount Pictures)
After an indefinite delay from the studio and a yank from the Toronto Film Festival, Clifford the Big Red Dog had a $16.4 million opening weekend, even as it premiered on Paramount Plus at the same time. That is added to tallies from its opening since Wednesday, which now total $22 million. Is this as big a deal as some are saying? Is this a sign that families are now coming back to theaters? Well, not entirely. The baseline for a family film debuting as a hybrid on the streaming service came from this summer’s Paw Patrol: The Movie which had a $13.1 million opening and $15.6 million five-day haul. Like all films this past week, Clifford saw a nice bump from Veterans Day on Thursday. The mostly live-action Clifford (with shout-outs to “family-ish” films Cruella and Space Jam: A New Legacy) is actually on pace with The Boss Baby: Family Business, which had $22 million after five days. So yes, it is a fine start for the Big Red Dog, and the Thanksgiving holiday will only help if everyone doesn’t switch over to Encanto, but it is still nothing for the industry to get pumped about, especially if a portion of their demographic is still unvaccinated and staying home to watch.
Speaking of films you can see at home, WB’s Dune: Part One, may have gotten what it needs to become just the second HBO Max hybrid release to gross over $100 million. $5.5 million is the eighth-best fourth weekend of the pandemic, and the film is still relatively closely-aligned to the numbers that Jungle Cruise had over the summer (a $6.3 million fourth weekend and $92.6 million after 24 days.) Dune is at $93.1 million after just a 28% drop. That is a better fourth weekend drop than every other WB/HBO Max release except Tom & Jerry, which fell just 8.1%. All of the other films fell over 40%, including their lone $100 million grosser, Godzilla vs. Kong, which fell 45.9% to $4.29 million. Their current champ took 40 days before it reach $93 million.
(Photo by ©MGM/©Danjaq)
Also available for a cost at home this past week whether people were aware or not was No Time To Die. Nevertheless it fell only 23% this weekend, grossing $4.6 million to become just the fifth film during the pandemic to gross over $150 million. The film continues to pace ahead of A Quiet Place Part II, now beating its fifth weekend ($4.1 million) as it marches towards over $160 million. Globally the film is approaching $700 million. Hitting an even bigger milestone is Venom: Let There Be Carnage with an impressive 10% drop in its seventh weekend, earning $4 million to become only the second film of the pandemic to gross $200 million domestic. It has made over $430 million worldwide.
In the back half of the top ten we continue to see Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch drawing its share of the specialty audience. With another $1.7 million, its total rises to $11.5 million, and it’s currently the only film during the pandemic to open in fewer than 1,500 theaters and gross more than $7 million. Neon is hoping that Pablo Larrain’s Spencer can join that exclusive club. That film added 269 theaters to its run this weekend and watched it gross $1.5 million to bring its total to $4.7 million. Also opening this weekend was Kenneth Branagh’s award hopeful, Belfast. The semi-autobiographical drama from Focus opened to $1.6 million in just 580 theaters for a $2,758 per-theater-average. That is slightly stronger than Spencer’s $2,113 average opening in 996 theaters last week and better than the studio’s release of Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter in the same number of theaters ($1.03 million.) It went on to gross $2.65 million.
(Photo by Columbia Pictures)
As teased in the opening, Sony and Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife finally hits theaters after a 14-month delay from July 2020. It will take over the box office conversation next weekend as we’ll see if nostalgia can drive it to become one of the bigger hits of the season. It currently stands at 73% on the Tomatometer and may indeed dip lower. Also opening is King Richard with Will Smith in a performance getting a lot of awards attention as Venus and Serena Williams’ father. The drama will also be streaming as part of your HBO Max subscription. It currently stands at 91% with critics.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]