Sequels led the holiday weekend with “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and “Creed 2.” Usually one of the most lucrative periods of the movie calendar, attendance this year was the best since 2013. There’s evidence that non-sequels can break out (See: remake “A Star Is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”), but in prime periods studios play it safe.
Of course, “safe” doesn’t always mean sure. The second weekend of “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is falling short in domestic results, and while the new “Robin Hood” aimed at a wide, younger, and more diverse crowd, its intended audience showed little interest.
“Ralph Breaks the Internet”
In adjusted terms, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” equaled the early-November 2012 opening of “Wreck-It Ralph.” This homegrown Disney (as opposed to Pixar) animated release took a date the studio tries to claim most years, to very good results comparable to”Coco” or “Moana.” Unlike those predecessors, “Ralph” doesn’t appear to be a major awards contender; it’s more along the lines of the fun-driven films with which Universal and 20th Century Fox thrive, which reflects Disney tweaking development to reflect shifting audience tastes.
Meanwhile, “Creed II” nearly doubled the reboot’s Thanksgiving 2016 opening. Its five-day total of $56 million is among the best openers for the date. That jump suggests Michael B. Jordan has secured a position as a top draw. It will likely end up bigger domestic than foreign, but a clear success for MGM and all involved.
Robin Hood remakes seem to be a decennial staple, but the newest outing (starring Taron Edgerton as the titular hero, opposite Jamie Foxx and Ben Mendelsohn) might end that trend at last. With a production cost of $100 million, it earned less than $14 million in five days and will be lucky to reach $25 million domestic. However, Lionsgate will escape catastrophic losses since they sell advance foreign rights that cover the majority of its budget.
The holiday weekend lends itself to above-average holdovers that give strong indications of the futures for recent releases. “The Crimes of Grindelwald” couldn’t even manage to beat out “The Grinch,” which opened a week earlier, and fell to #4 with a steep 52 percent drop. It will be saved by foreign, with worldwide totals up to $440 million. Still, for a $200 million production, this is not a strong showing.
“The Grinch” dropped only 22 percent. Through three weekends, it has managed to gross $180 million. In context, that’s only $11 million less than the longer-running “A Star Is Born.” Although it’s lost 40 percent of its theaters, gross dropped only 30 percent and it’s still on track for over $200 million.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” fell only 14 percent, increasing its per-theater average. Its success has exceeded all expectations, with a real shot at reaching $175 million. Somewhere, Bryan Singer is smiling.
“Instant Family” remains a disappointment compared to previous Mark Wahlberg comedies. It also dropped 14 percent, but started at such a modest level it will be lucky to reach $50 million.
The much-discussed “Widows” did not fare well: With a 36 percent drop and an $8 million total, it only reached eighth place. Steve McQueen’s first production to aspire for a wider audience will struggle to reach $40 million, making this well-reviewed film a disappointment.
“Green Book” went ahead with its questionable, quick 1,000+ theater expansion to results that are a bit more promising than its shaky debut. (More details in our specialty box office report.)
The Top Ten (initial grosses all estimates for three day weekend)
1. Ralph Breaks the Internet (Disney) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 71; Est. budget: $175 million
$55,672,000 in 4,017 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $13,859; Cumulative: $84,472,000
2. Creed 2 (MGM) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 67; Est. budget: $50 million
$35,293,000 in 3,441 theaters; PTA: $10,257,000; Cumulative: $55,806,000
3. The Grinch (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #2
$30,210,000 (-22%) in 3,960 theaters (-181); PTA: $7,629; Cumulative: $180,442,000
4. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Lionsgate) Week 2; Last weekend #1
$29,650,000 (-52%) in 4,163 theaters (no change); PTA: $7,122; Cumulative: $117,117,000
5. Bohemian Rhapsody (20th Century Fox) Week 4; Last weekend #3
$13,885,000 (-14%) in 2,927 theaters (-883); PTA: $4,734; Cumulative: $152,014,000
6. Instant Family (Paramount) Week 2; Last weekend #4
$12,500,000 (-14%) in 3,286 theaters (no change); PTA: $3,804; Cumulative: $35,752,000
7. Robin Hood (Lionsgate) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 33; Est. budget: $95 million
$9,125,000 in 2,827 theaters; PTA: $3,228; Cumulative: $14,220,000
8. Widows (20th Century Fox) Week 2; Last weekend #5
$7.955,000 (-36%) in 2,803 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,838,000; Cumulative: $25,586,000
9. Green Book (Universal) Week 2; Last weekend #22
$5,443,000 (+1,599%) in 1,063 theaters (+1,038); PTA: $5,120; Cumulative: $7,800,000
10. A Star Is Born (Warner Bros.) Week 8; Last weekend #7
$3,005,000 (-30) in 1,202 theaters (-808); PTA: $2,500; Cumulative: $191,005,000