The box-office weekend after Thanksgiving is rarely a spiffy one. Led by Disney’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” the top six films this weekend repeated from the Thanksgiving results (with one significant tweak). Studios believe audiences are occupied elsewhere with pre-Christmas activities and shun them for significant new openings: The risk for a top film flaming out before the lucrative Christmas weeks is too great.
Sony’s Screen Gems provided the sole new national release this weekend with “The Possession of Hannah Grace” (aka “Cadaver”). While hardly stellar, the horror film’s $6.5 million/#7 place showing actually is one of the better results among studio films for this date. It’s enough to make the film a modest success, combined with anticipated international revenue and home-viewing afterlife.
The weekend’s total gross actually came in about $10 million better than last year, with the best results for the date since 2012. That came from better-than-normal holds for current hits, specifically several family-oriented titles.
Leading the way is Disney Animation’s sequel “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” Though it fell more than last year’s “Coco” (and grossed slightly less), its $119 million, 12-day total is slightly better than that Oscar-winning cartoon feature. And it is certainly enough to sustain it through upcoming declines to maintain a presence over Christmas: A $200 million total is certain, and worldwide it has a shot at a half billion. Impressive, but with a $175 million production cost (before marketing) it’s a result not much above what’s needed for profitability — though, as usual, the Disney film’s afterlife will be bountiful.
The “Ralph” performance is impressive because, unlike some years, it faced stiff competition for younger and family audiences. The biggest surprise of the weekend is Universal’s “The Grinch” jumped a place to second in its fourth weekend. The animated comedy held the best of the four family films this weekend, and topped $200 million. This surprising result also keeps the film in play for upcoming weeks.
It beat out last week’s other big opener, “Creed II,” which dropped 53 percent — not unusual for a sequel. It should end up in the same range as the 2015 original, around $110 million.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” fared far less well, with a 62 percent drop. It will reach over $150 million, but that will be a third less than the initial “Beasts.” Overseas tripled that number, so it’s still in line to break even. But it’s hard to see how the vaunted “Harry Potter” spinoff justifies further $200 million production investments.
Showing more strength are “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which is now at $164 million and should come close to the similarly music-world set “A Star Is Born.” It dropped a modest post-holiday 42 percent. The same decent hold was shown by “Instant Family,” which has held up well in a crowded market.
The smallest drop was seen by “Green Book,” Universal’s risky expansion of their strongest awards hopeful. A 29 percent fall at about the same theater count (1,065 this weekend) is terrific and shows their hope that word of mouth could keep this alive might yet work. It has a long way to go (and is helped by an ongoing marketing buy), but as significant groups start their nominations it may still have the needed presence to be an Oscar player.
The Top 10
1. Ralph Breaks the Internet (Disney) Week 2; Last weekend #1
$25,756,000 (-54%) in 4,017 theaters (no change); PTA (per theater average): $6,412; Cumulative: $119,294,000
2. The Grinch (Universal) (Disney) Week 4; Last weekend #3
$17,730,000 (-42%) in 3,926 theaters (-26); PTA: $4,507; Cumulative: $203,507,000
3. Creed II (MGM) Week 2; Last weekend #2
$16,863,000 (-53%) in 3,576 theaters (+135); PTA: $4,707; Cumulative: $81,169,000
4. Fantastic Beasts: The Legend of Grindelwald (Warner Bros.) Week; 3 Last weekend #4
$11,200,000 (-62%) in 3,851 theaters (-312); PTA: $2,908; Cumulative: $134,341,000
5. Bohemian Rhapsody (20th Century Fox) Week 5; Last weekend #5
$8,100,000 (-42%) in 3,007 theaters (+80); PTA: $2,694; Cumulative: $164,423,000
6. Instant Family (Paramount) Week 3; Last weekend #6
$7,150,000 (-42%) in 3,376 theaters (+90); PTA: $2,118; Cumulative: $45,928,000
7. The Possession of Hannah Grace (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: C-; Metacritic: 40; est. budget: $9 million
$6,150,000 in 2,065 theaters; PTA: $3,148; Cumulative: $6,150,000
8. Robin Hood (Lionsgate) Week 2; Last weekend #7
$4,700,000 (-49%) in 2,827 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,663; Cumulative: $21,728,000
9. Widows (20th Century Fox) Week 3; Last weekend #8
$4,400,000 (-46%) in 2,393 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,839; Cumulative: $33,060,000
10. Green Book (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #9
$3,900,000 (-29%) in 1,065 theaters (+2); PTA: $3,662; Cumulative: $14,016,000