Hollywood is rarely excited when the Christmas holidays fall on a weekend. Many theaters do not host later shows on the Eve, and the 25th is a big movie day regardless, so they would rather see it occur on a weekday to boost totals as opposed to a Saturday, which is their primary day for attendance. One studio certainly is not complaining this year, and another could see school vacations set a new pandemic ceiling. But with Omicron seemingly everywhere and major film events strengthening their safety protocols, postponing, or canceling altogether, the rest of the industry may finally see themselves at an inflection point… all while one film maintains its dominance.
(Photo by ©Sony Pictures Releasing/©Marvel Entertainment)
The numbers that Spider-Man: No Way Home is pulling in are nothing short of incredible. Even if its second three-day weekend is (only) the seventh-best of all time at $92.3 million, its five-day total stretching back to Wednesday, when additional schools finally let out for vacation, was a whopping $149.3 million, bringing its 10-day total to $478.1 million. That’s third to just Avengers: Endgame ($621.2 million) and Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($540 million). That puts No Way Home $75 million ahead of the pace of Black Panther (with the fourth-best second weekend of $111.6 million) and with at least one more whole week of holiday moviegoing, Jon Watts’ Marvel film is headed to become just the fifth film to cross $700 million domestic. On the international stage, it became the second-fastest film to reach a billion dollars on Christmas Day, its ninth day of release. Only Endgame did it faster, in five days. This is only the third film in Sony’s history to cross a billion, along with Spider-Man: Far From Home ($1.131 billion) and Skyfall ($1.108 billion). This week it will become the studio’s biggest title ever.
(Photo by 20th Century Studios)
20th Century Studios has not had a great run since becoming a part of Disney, at least when it comes to adult fare. The 2020 version of The Call of the Wild was doing fine until the pandemic began and Free Guy is one of the genuine successes of 2021, but beyond that, the studio’s lack of success has led many to wonder if they were being hung out to dry by their new hosts (and that includes Searchlight Pictures as well). It’s hard to say that definitively, given that adult-skewing and even family-driven films have been a tough sell. But things did not turn out great for a bit of existing IP either this holiday.
The King’s Man, a prequel to the “R”-rated comic book series that previously produced a pair of off-season $100 million grossers, made just $9.9 million in its first five days. To date, only Free Guy, The Call of the Wild, and West Side Story (with its disappointing grosses) have made over $10 million in five days for the new iteration of Fox. The King’s Man made just $3.5 million more than West Side did in its third weekend and appears to be another “R”-rated film not headed into $30 million during the pandemic. West Side Story brought its total up to $23.7 million and could still stretch for that most minor of victories as the third-highest 20th Century Studios release to date, ahead of The New Mutants ($23.8 million) and Ron’s Gone Wrong ($23 million). The King’s Man can best hope to become the fourth-highest of that lineup.
(Photo by ©Universal Pictures)
Universal, the first studio to test the day-and-date streaming waters with Trolls World Tour at the beginning of the pandemic, now ends the second year of it with a film that could become the highest-grossing animated film to date. Sing 2 pulled in $41 million since opening on Wednesday, which is slightly above what Disney’s Encanto made when it opened over the Thanksgiving stretch. The difference could be that this week, the latter finds its way onto the Disney+ streaming service for no additional charge on Friday, driving a wedge in its chance to make it to $100 million. The film made just $2 million over the weekend, a 69% drop, with its total over $88 million. Sing 2 is going to have the weekday vacation advantage going forward and, in all likelihood, will surpass Encanto’s 12-day total of $58.3 million by next Sunday with the family marketplace nearly all to itself. It will still be a long way from the $270 million that the first film made, but it still has a shot at becoming the first animated film to reach $100 million since Frozen II did it two years ago to the day of Encanto’s release on Nov. 24, 2019.
One film that is not going to make $100 million this holiday season is The Matrix Resurrections; this should surprise no one. Nevertheless, some analysts and projectors pegged the film to open anywhere between $60-75 million in its first five days. Some treated its $6.4 million opening on Wednesday as a victory while completely ignoring how Keanu Reeves’ mega-bomb, 47 Ronin, debuted to $7 million back in 2013. Granted, that film opened on Christmas Day when there was no pandemic, and it wasn’t on a streaming service, so in context, its total is particularly damning, but this still has to be a blow to Resurrections after expectations were overhyped for it. The film will at least outgross 47 Ronin, but not by a significant amount.
(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)
Resurrections already saw a regression in its numbers since Wednesday and grossed just $12 million over the weekend for $22.5 million total. As more people choose to cue it up on HBO Max, the Warner Bros. experiment of 2021 comes to an end with a film that may not even outgross one of their biggest disappointments of the year, The Suicide Squad. While that film was definitely a welcome respite for a pandemic-exhausted populace, to say it did not have an impact on the studio’s bottom line is, to paraphrase a line from the original film, hardly blissfully ignorant.
Lionsgate’s American Underdog, the story of quarterback Kurt Warner, debuted to $6.2 million after two days of release. That is better than the studio’s Voyagers, The Protégé, and Chaos Walking did after five days and nearly as much as Chaos had after 10 ($6.9 million.) Denzel Washington’s A Journal for Jordan with Michael B. Jordan is estimated to make $2.2 million from Saturday and Sunday. Finally, UA Releasing expanded Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza into 786 theaters on Christmas Day. After a month of stellar reviews, awards, and a smattering of online discourse, the film grossed $2.3 million over Saturday and Sunday, bringing its total to $3.7 million. At present, that is the second-highest total of the year for a film opening in under 1,000 theaters; the Anthony Bourdain documentary Roadrunner grossed $5.2 million, and its widest reach was 954 theaters.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]