This was the worst-grossing weekend of 2018, not that it matters; this pre-Christmas weekend is usually among the lowest. All distributors avoided it for any new release, even throwaway titles. Historically, next week can be even worse (unless your film is “Star Wars” or similar). The priority now is to stake a claim that doesn’t risk seeing a film pulled for Christmas.
So, no new films, decreased gross — and at the same time, better holds for films currently on screen. That formula explains this week’s results. However, the same six films have led all others for three straight weeks and that’s unprecedented.
It also could have impact on weeks ahead. “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” “The Grinch,” and “Creed II” all grossed over $10 million in their third weekend (or later), in a slow period: That suggests they will play through the holiday. That would mean a major bonus for all three, which are already hits.
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“Ralph” took the top spot for the third straight weekend, although by a narrow margin over “The Grinch” (which held the spot its first two weeks). Its 37 percent drop is more than Disney’s “Coco” in 2017, also a Thanksgiving release. It still is about $4 million ahead of “Coco” at the same point, but that might end soon. “Coco” last year did nearly $19 million, compared to $16 million for “Ralph.”
The last three years have seen Disney slot a “Star Wars” film in next Friday’s position. This year, they have the much-anticipated “Mary Poppins Returns” the following Wednesday. But its bigger competition comes next weekend, when Sony’s well-regarded “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse” will compete for the animation crowd. That’s when “Ralph” likely takes a bigger hit.
The real story in the top two is the continued strong hold for “The Grinch.” Dropping a measly 16 percent, it fell only $1 million short of “Ralph.” That positioned itself for holdovers ahead, even more than “Ralph,” but there’s a problem. Universal has two major releases to come, starting with their Peter Jackson production “Mortal Engines” and a week later Robert Zemeckis’ “Welcome to Marwen.” Both are expensive, important releases, which makes them good problems to have but also makes for a complicated Christmas at the studio
Which brings us to “Green Book.” It replicated last weekend’s totals with only slightly more theaters, jumping from #10 to #7, while still playing only on a little over 1,000 theaters. Universal’s risky play of a handful of cities over Thanksgiving, which initially yielded mediocre results, looks like a success. The film is at $20 million and now can sustain many of the best theaters through Christmas, and then try to make a bigger splash mid-January after expected Oscar nominations. They trusted word of mouth and a lack of new product, both of which worked in its favor. Even so, this is an expensive way to go; new advertising is needed week after week.
Most other holds fell far less than normal. One exception is “The Possession of Hannah Gray,” which fell 50 percent. It will gross around $15 million domestically, with initial openings around the world suggesting the sub-$10 million-budgeted project has a shot at profit.
MGM & Warner Bros. Entertainment
“Creed II” repeated at #3 but dropped an above-average 38 percent. That’s not unusual for a sequel, and the film still looks to equal the initial “Rocky” reboot. “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” at 40 percent down still lags far behind the rest of the world (where the Harry Potter offshoot already has grossed $423 million; the combined world total could reach close to $700 million). So expect more from this franchise.
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Instant Family,” and even “Robin Hood” dropped a quarter or less, all favored by the lack of fresh competition. “Widows” rounded out the top 10 with a not-unhealthy 30 percent fall, but not good enough to expect a lot more ahead.
Universal had a 25-year anniversary reissue of Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” in 1,029 theaters; hardly anyone went. It grossed only $551,000, something like 60 people per theater for all shows for the three days. In its initial release, Universal didn’t push (despite its Oscar wins) to reach $100 million (the unadjusted figure first time around was $96 million, but that’s $210 million at today’s prices). A nice effort, perhaps, but theatrical interest is nil, like most decades-old Oscar winners.
The Top 10
T1. Ralph Breaks the Internet (Disney) Week 3; Last weekend #1
$16,141,000 (-37%) in 3,795 theaters (-222); PTA (per theater average): $4,253; Cumulative: $140,859,000
2. The Grinch (Universal) Week 5; Last weekend #2
$15,175,000 (-15%) in 3,841 theaters (-93); PTA: $3,951; Cumulative: $223,463,000
3. Creed II (MGM) Week 3; Last weekend #3
$10,323,000 (-38%) in 3,572 theaters (+176); PTA: $2,751; Cumulative: $96,472,000
4. Fantastic Beasts: The Crime of Grindelwald (Warner Bros.) Week 4; Last weekend #
$6,805,000 (40%) in 3,541 theaters (-400); PTA: $; Cumulative: $
5. Bohemian Rhapsody (20th Century Fox) Week 6; Last weekend #5
$6,000,000 in 2,953 theaters (-54); PTA: $2,032; Cumulative: $173,569,000
6. Instant Family (Paramount) Week 4; Last weekend #6
$5,600,000 (-22%) in 3,426 theaters (+50); PTA: $1,635; Cumulative: $54,161,000
7. Green Book (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend #10
$3,935,000 (no change) in 1,181 theaters (+116); PTA: $3,332; Cumulative: $19,977,000
8. Robin Hood (Lionsgate) Week 3; Last weekend #8
$3,585,000 (-25%) in 2,573 theaters (-254); PTA: $1,393; Cumulative: $27,289,000
9. The Possession of Hannah Grace (Sony) Week 2; Last weekend #7
$3,175,000 (-50%) in 2,298 theaters (+233); PTA: $1,382; Cumulative: $11,506,000
10. Widows (20th Century Fox) Week 4; Last weekend #9
$3,100,000 in 2,161 theaters (-232); PTA: $1,435; Cumulative: $38,156,000