The first week of November has traditionally been the kickoff to the holiday movie season, while kickoffs normally include a big studio blockbuster; we had one on the schedule… until we didn’t. That is because Warner Bros. moved Dune: Part Two out of its slot this weekend to March of next year in fear that the actor’s strike would prevent them from following through on interviews and further publicity. Because that clearly hurt Five Nights at Freddy’s. Something else knocked back last week’s champion and knocked it back big, but it still won a Dune-less weekend, even if it was one of the lowest of the year.
No Dune. No push up of The Marvels by Disney (a missed opportunity if ever there was one). That left Five Nights at Freddy’s all alone at the top with nothing to beat it. Except itself. The fact that Taylor Swift’s concert film was even in the ballpark after last week’s $80 million bonanza shows that something pushed Freddy’s nearly all the way from its perch. It hung on to No. 1 but at a drop of nearly 76% down to $19.3 million. Whether it was due to the bad reviews, bad word-of-mouth, or its day-and-date release on Peacock, Freddy’s joined some rare territory.
The only movie that has ever opened to over $57 million and fallen below $20 million in its second weekend is Ang Lee’s Hulk. That was a 69.7% drop from its $62.1 million opening and was considered a huge deal at the time. The 75.8% drop that Freddy’s endured is the fifth largest ever for a film opening in over 3,000 theaters behind that of the Friday the 13th update in 2009 (-80.4%), Halloween Ends (-80%), Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero (-77.8%), and Mortal Engines (-76.8%). Halloween Ends shared FNaF’s day-and-date debut on Peacock and in theaters. Is the blame solely on the easy access, or does bad audience word travel that fast? Whatever the case may be, FNaF has still grossed over $113 million (over $217 million worldwide) and is a massive hit for Universal and Blumhouse, even if it seems destined not to double up its opening weekend for its final domestic gross.
As hinted at, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour had another solid weekend, making $13.5 million and running its unique 16-day total to over $165 million. It’s unique because it continued to ignore Monday and Wednesday this past week, though it did pull in $812,871 on Halloween. $165 million is more than Ant-Man and the Wasp and Thor: The Dark World made in their first 16 days. Did we mention Disney did not move up The Marvels to fill the Dune gap and give the film a chance at two consecutive weeks at the top of the box office before The Hunger Games prequel opens? Well they didn’t. Nevertheless, The Eras Tour is likely to remain in the top 10 come Thanksgiving week, and AMC is certainly hoping it can still wrestle $200 million out of her fans.
Hanging onto third place is Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. The 3.5-hour drama made $7 million over the weekend — a 25% drop — bringing its total to over $52 million. That is about $2 million behind the 17-day pace of The Exorcist: Believer (which made $2.1 million this weekend bringing its total to over $63 million), though Killers had a better third weekend than its $5.69 million). The likely awards contender could end up in the range of $65 million.
Another awards contender that got its wide expansion this week is Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla. The film, which tells Priscilla Beaulieu’s journey to becoming Priscilla Presley, made $5 million over the weekend. The 1,344 locations where Priscilla played is the largest number of theaters one of Coppola’s films has ever played, and this was the second-best weekend she has ever had behind only the opening weekend of Marie Antoinette in October 2006 ($5.36 million).
Other films in decline have left room for a limited release to climb the charts. Eugenio Derbez’s inspirational teacher drama from this year’s Sundance, Radical, opened in 419 theaters and grossed $2.2 million over the weekend. The $5,250 per-theater average is much better than Meg Ryan’s second directorial effort, What Happens Later, which opened in a Priscilla-like 1,492 venues, but only grossed $1.5 million for a mere $1,005 PTA. The Meg Ryan/David Duchovny teaming vacated its original Oct. 13 date due to Taylor Swift and is already slated for a DVD release on Dec. 9. At least it made the top 10, though. Lionsgate’s release of Neil Burger’s The Marsh King’s Daughter with Daisy Ridley grossed $850,000 in 1,055 theaters for a PTA of $806. The studio has done much better with Saw X, which made another $1.1 million this weekend, bringing its total over $52 million.
Angel Studios’ documentary After Death is not enjoying the same kind of success as their sex trafficking adventure this summer. But it is still a wide documentary release, and with another $2 million this weekend, it has grossed over $9 million. Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie is still the only new kids film in the game right now and it made $1.9 million bringing its total to over $62 million. Disney’s 30th Anniversary re-issue of Henry Selick’s The Nightmare Before Christmas made another $889,000, bringing its total to $9.8 million. Universal’s Trolls Band Together is coming in a couple weeks, though, and it has already grossed $56.9 million internationally. Speaking of nightmares, last week’s dumping of the $40 million budgeted Freelance with John Cena and Alison Brie, which is still rocking a perfect 0% on the Tomatometer, made another $1.2 million. Its total stands at just $4.2 million.
Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers got a minor expansion this weekend and grossed $600,000. It has made $878,000 in 10 days of limited release and will be branching out further next week. As another awards contender, Focus is hoping it can crack the $12.5 million line that most platform releases fail to achieve. Those odds go up during awards season, but anything less with be a failure for the film currently garnering a 96% on the Tomatometer. The similarly lauded Anatomy of a Fall from Neon made $600,000 in 440 theaters bringing its total just shy of $2 million.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]
Thumbnail image by AMC Theaters