All weekend box office figures discussed in this article are for the three-day weekend unless stated otherwise.
Remember those TV spots for Saw sequels that proclaimed “If it’s Halloween, it must be Saw”? Well, Disney should start doing something similar by having TV spots for their Thanksgiving animated fare that proclaim “If it’s Thanksgiving, it must be time for an animated movie blockbuster from Disney.” The studios tradition of releasing box office hits (and also The Good Dinosaur) over the holiday timeframe continued on with Ralph Breaks The Internet, which grossed $55.6 million over the weekend, the third-best three-day Thanksgiving opening weekend in history behind fellow Disney Animation titles Moana ($56.6 million) and Frozen ($67.3 million). That opening weekend is a 15% improvement over the opening weekend of its predecessor despite Ralph Breaks The Internet burning off demand with a Wednesday lunch unlike the original Wreck-It Ralph which bowed on a Friday.
There have been tons of sequels to the movies in the Disney Animation canon, but only two of them (The Rescuers Down Under and Fantasia 2000) were actually a part of said canon, the rest were direct-to-video sequels produced by the now-defunct DisneyToon Studios. That made Ralph Breaks The Internet an anomaly in the larger Disney Animation canon but certainly not one in the broader American box office landscape where sequels to computer-animated films can make big bucks if released properly. Launching Ralph Breaks The Internet over the Thanksgiving timeframe that’s served the studio oh so well in the past and coupled with a widespread memorable marketing campaign ensured that this film would be a major success. Having now grossed $84.4 million since Wednesday (the second-biggest five-day Thanksgiving opening weekend behind only the $93.5 million opening of Frozen), Ralph Breaks The Internet is headed for a domestic cume anywhere from $230 million to $250 million.
Ralph Breaks The Internet wasn’t the only wildly successful newcomer this weekend as Creed II opened to a fantastic $35.2 million, dethroning the $34.4 million bow of Enchanted for the biggest 3-day opening weekend ever for a live-action new release over the Thanksgiving timeframe as well as surpassing the $31 million debut of Four Christmases for the biggest 3-day Thanksgiving opening weekend for a non-Disney title. That’s also the fourth biggest opening weekend ever for MGM, whose recently relaunched self-distributing studio just got a big boost thanks to the success of this feature that has now grossed $55.8 million since its Wednesday debut. People loved the first Creed, Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson have only gotten more popular since the first movie, no wonder Creed II was another major victory for this long-running series.
In third place we find The Grinch, which eased only 21% this weekend to gross another $30.2 million for a $180.4 million domestic gross to date. That’s actually a solid hold for an early November animated movie competing with a new animated family movie like Ralph Breaks The Internet (Trolls fell 39% facing off against the opening weekend of Moana two years ago) and it’s a bigger third weekend than the one seen by the Jim Carrey Grinch back in 2000. This new Grinch should become the eighth Illumination Entertainment title to surpass $200 million at the domestic box office by next weekend.
We finally come now to last weekends number one movie, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which settled for fourth place this weekend and a second-weekend haul of $29.6 million. That’s a 53% drop from last weekend, much larger than the 39% dip of the first Fantastic Beasts but in the neighborhood of the 49-53% second-weekend drops seen by the trio of Hunger Games sequels, though Grindelwald has significantly smaller weekend grosses at the same point than any of those titles. With only $117.1 million after ten days of domestic release, it’s likely this new Fantastic Beasts adventure will be settling for only a $160-170 million domestic gross, significantly lower than any prior domestic cume for a Harry Potter/Wizarding World film.
Rounding out the top five was Bohemian Rhapsody with a strong 13% dip from last weekend, giving it a fourth weekend gross of $13.8 million. With $152 million amassed domestically so far, it won’t be long before this surpasses the $161 million gross of Straight Outta Compton to become the biggest music biopic of all-time. In its second weekend of release, Instant Family fell 13%, a slightly better second-weekend hold than the 17% dip of Wonder, to gross another $12.5 million for a $35.7 million domestic gross to date. Instant Family is headed for a final domestic gross between $50 and $60 million which isn’t a great sum for a $48 million budgeted release.
The last of the three movies debuting right away in wide release this weekend was Robin Hood, which opened to only $9.1 million. This would-be franchise starter got off to a dismal start that was bad even by the standards of medieval-themed box office bombs (even King Arthur: Legend of the Sword got off to a better start last year). Despite being the only PG-13 action movie in the marketplace, Robin Hood’s generic marketing that couldn’t make it stand out from the numerous prior Robin Hood film adaptations sealed its fate. Having grossed $14.2 million since Wednesday, there’s a chance Robin Hood misses the $30 million mark domestically.
Widows fell 35% this weekend, on par with the second-weekend drops of recent pre-Thanksgiving titles like The Secrets in Their Eyes and The Edge of Seventeen, to gross another $7.9 million. This film has held well throughout the week but it’s only grossed $25.5 million after ten days of release. Having seen this film last Tuesday, I urge everyone to see it, it’s one of the year’s best films and deserves far better box office than this.
Green Book expanded into wide release this weekend, 1,063 locations to be precise, and grossed a solid $5.4 million for a per-theater average of $5,120. That’s one of the better showings for a limited release movie expanding into wide release in 2018, but it’s still not as good as it could have been and its hard to imagine it’ll be able to hold onto its screens in the coming competitive weekends with only a $5.4 million opening weekend. Its strong day-to-day holds throughout the week, along with an A+ CinemaScore, indicate audiences are loving the film, but like I said, holding onto its screens in the weeks ahead is gonna be near impossible, meaning its unlikely it’ll be the word-of-mouth driven sensation Universal clearly wanted it to be. Still, that’s not a bad start and maybe this one becomes the next Greatest Showman in terms of box office legs. Having now grossed $7.8 million at the domestic box office, Green Book will become the first movie starring Viggo Mortensen to surpass $10 million at the domestic box office since Appaloosa in September 2008.
Rounding out the top ten was A Star Is Born, which grossed another $3 million this weekend (a 30% dip from last weekend) for a domestic gross of $191 million. Right outside the top ten was The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, which fell 43% for a fourth weekend gross of $2.7 million and a domestic gross of $49.1 million. Boy Erased became the newest Fall/Holiday Season 2018 arthouse film to struggle in its wide release expansion as the Joel Edgerton directed film expanded into 672 locations for only $1.1 million (a 12% drop from last weekend) for a domestic gross of just $4.5 million to date. Also struggling over the frame was Overlord, which fell a whopping 71% for a third-weekend gross of $1 million and a domestic gross of just $20.1 million. Venom, which was the only movie at my local Cinemark to have a completely sold out screening yesterday, fell 60% this weekend to add another $780,000 to a domestic gross that now stands at $211.7 million while its worldwide box office has now surpassed $800 million.
That’s some great news for Sony/Columbia and helps alleviate the pain of The Front Runner’s dismal wide release opening weekend. This Hugh Jackman motion picture grossed only $630,000 from 807 locations for a dismal per-theater average of $781. Having grossed just $1.06 million domestically, The Front Runner is now the third-lowest-grossing wide release movie in the history of Sony/Columbia, only The Brothers Bloom and The Virginity Hit fared worse (Keep Watching also did worse but it only went into 800-ish locations for one night only, so I won’t count it). Needless to say, this is a disastrous performance and will end up as the lowest-grossing movie ever domestically for Hugh Jackman that isn’t entitled Butter.
In its sixth weekend of release, Can You Ever Forgive Me? dropped 33% and grossed another $593,000 for a domestic total of $6 million. The lone arthouse breakout hit of the last two months, Free Solo, continued to do strong business as it actually jumped up 6% from last weekend to gross an additional $496,066, bringing its domestic total to $9.69 million. This shall become the fourth documentary to clear $10 million domestically in short order. It wasn’t just wide release newbies that impressed, the biggest of this weekends new limited releases also dazzled with a massive opening. That honor belonged to The Favourite, which grossed a massive $420,000 (nice) from 4 locations for a per-theater average of $105,000, the biggest opening weekend per-theater average for any movie in 2018. A big limited release opening does not equal large long-term domestic box office (hi Suspiria!) but given how many Thanksgiving limited release titles tend to go on to be breakout hits when they go wide at Christmastime, this opening weekend does bode well for the long-term prospects of this Yorgos Lanthimos feature.
In its seventh weekend of release, Beautiful Boy fell 39% to gross another $350,520 for a domestic gross of $7 million, making it the sixth biggest Amazon Studios release in the studio’s three-year history. The Girl In The Spider’s Web continued to fall heavily as it lost a whopping 86% to gross only $347,000 from 983 locations for a disastrous per-theater average of only $353 and a similarly poor domestic gross of $14.3 million. At Eternity’s Gate expanded to 31 locations and grossed $211,728 for a per-theater average of $6,830 and a 10-day domestic gross of $398,452. Meanwhile, Maria by Callas grossed another $158,893 from 55 locations for a per-theater average of $2,889 and a domestic gross of $682,291.
After expanding into wide release last weekend, A Private War’s theater count shrunk to just 226 locations and that meant it suffered a hard 80% drop from last weekend. It only added $135,000 to its domestic gross that now stands at only $1.4 million. Shoplifters made its domestic debut this weekend and grossed $88,000 from 5 locations for a per-theater average of $17,500. For distributor Magnolia Pictures, that’s the tenth biggest opening weekend ever for one of the studios titles to bow in 25 or less locations. If they expand this acclaimed movie right, it might play well throughout the rest of the holiday season. Border saw its second straight weekend-to-weekend increase this weekend as it jumped up 28% from last weekend for $76,984, its biggest single weekend haul yet. After five weekends of release, Border has grossed $457,944 domestically. Finally, The World Before Your Feet debuted to $22,000 at 2 locations for a per-theater average of $11,000.
The top 12 movies this weekend grossed $206.5 million, the fifth biggest November weekend in history and the biggest Thanksgiving weekend in history. With a yearly gross of $10.681 billion so far, 2018 is just under $600 million away from surpassing 2016 for the biggest single yearly gross in history. Could this end up as the first year in history to gross over $12 billion? I think we’ll just miss it, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility if the numerous high-profile December 2018 newcomers really pop at the domestic box office.