We’re currently in the awkward two-week period between Thanksgiving break and the Christmas break, both of which generate a lot of box office. In between those two breaks, well, not so much. The first of these weekends saw Ralph Breaks The Internet topping the box office for the second weekend in a row with a $25.7 million second-weekend, a 54% drop from its opening weekend, a steeper second-weekend decline than the ones seen by Coco, Moana and Frozen. It appears this Walt Disney Animation Studios title is a more frontloaded creature due to it being a sequel, though with $119.2 million domestically in just 12 days, no one at Disney’s complaining.
Moving up into second place this weekend was The Grinch, which eased just 41% this weekend, a better post-Thanksgiving hold than the original Grinch movie, for a fourth-weekend gross of $17.7 million. This brings its domestic total to $203.5 million, making it only the tenth 2018 movie to cross $200 million domestically and the eighth Illumination Entertainment title to cross $200 million domestically as well. Creed II lost 52% this weekend, a larger second-weekend decline than the 49% drop of its predecessor, allowing it to gross another $16.8 million for an $81.1 million domestic total to date, putting it only $28 million behind the lifetime domestic gross of the first Creed.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald had by far the largest weekend-to-weekend drop in the top 12 this weekend as it fell 62% from last weekend, a harsher post-Thanksgiving drop than the one seen by the first Fantastic Beasts. It grossed another $11.2 million this weekend, meaning its now grossed $134.3 million domestically. Bohemian Rhapsody rounded out the top five with an $8.1 million fifth weekend gross, a 42% drop from last weekend, for a fantastic $164.4 million domestic gross. Interestingly, Instant Family had a solid hold this weekend, dropping only 42% from last weekend, on par with the 42% drop of Daddy’s Home 2 in the post-Thanksgiving frame last weekend. Grossing another $7.1 million, this one’s current domestic haul of $45.9 million is still under expectations but it does seem to be benefiting from stronger than expected word-of-mouth.
Last month, Sony Pictures/Screen Gems announced that they were delaying a James Gunn produced horror film called BrightBurn from its original November 30th spot. In its place, they slid The Possession of Hannah Grace, a movie that had finished filming two years ago and hadn’t been heard from since. It’s likely this would have just gone straight to home video like a number of recent Screen Gems titles like Patient Zero, He’s Out There and Keep Watching if it weren’t for the fact that they needed something to fill this release date. All things considered, it didn’t fare terribly this weekend as it opened to $6.5 million, a poor showing for an exorcism-themed horror film (even The Last Exorcism: Part II opened better with a $7.7 million debut) but people were expecting this one to open in the $2-3 million range and it only cost $6 million to make. That means Sony Pictures will at least see some profit on it sooner than they will on the much more high-profile The Front Runner…
The best one can say about Robin Hood’s second-weekend hold was that it stayed under the 50% mark with a 49% drop. That still only gave it another $4.7 million for a $21 million domestic total to date. Will this be able to cross $30 million domestically? I’ll say no, it just barely misses it. One of my favorite movies of 2018 (go see it, please!), Widows, just can’t catch a break at the box office as it dropped 47% this weekend for another $4.4 million and a domestic total of just $33 million. It’s looking doubtful this $42 million budgeted movie will hit $50 million domestically, a major box office disappointment. Green Book held wonderfully this weekend with a 29% drop from last weekend, the best weekend-to-weekend hold in the top 12 and the eleventh best post-Thanksgiving hold in history. Such a hold means it grossed another $3.9 million this weekend, bringing its domestic total up to $14 million. Like Instant Family, the grosses for Green Book still feel underwhelming, but both are clearly getting a boost from strong word-of-mouth.
The only other movie in the top 12 to drop under 40% from last weekend was A Star Is Born, which dipped just 36% (a better post-Thanksgiving hold than both The Martian and Gone Girl) for another $1.9 million and a domestic total of $193.6 million. Just $6.4 million to go until it cracks $200 million. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms dropped 53% this weekend, grossing another $1.2 million in the process for a disastrous $51 million domestic total. The Favourite once again had the largest per-theater average in the entire domestic box office as it grossed $1.1 million from just 34 locations for a per-theater average of $32,500 and a domestic total to date of $1.6 million. This seems poised to be a breakout hit over the holiday season. In its second weekend of wide release, Boy Erased fell 49%, grossing $590,000 at 660 locations for a per-theater average of just $894 and an anemic domestic total of $5.5 million. Can You Ever Forgive Me? fell another 41% to add $350,000 to its domestic gross that now stands at $6.5 million, making it currently the eighth biggest movie of 2018 to never go into wide release.
Everyone give it up for Free Solo, which grossed another $305,294 this weekend (a 32% dip from last weekend), bringing its domestic total past the $10 million mark to a $10.1 million domestic haul. This makes it the fourth documentary of 2018 to cross that $10 million domestic box office threshold, an outstanding feat for the world of documentaries. Also engaging in its second-weekend of wide release this frame was The Front Runner, which grossed only $270,000 (a 57% drop from last weekend) for a domestic total of just $1.6 million. At Eternity’s Gate, meanwhile, fell 18% from last weekend, grossing another $180,000 from 48 locations for a per-theater average of $3,750 and a domestic total of just $669,486. Shoplifters expanded into 14 locations this weekend and grossed $106,000 for a per-theater average of $7,571 and a domestic total of $238,260. Border had its third straight weekend-to-weekend increase this frame as it expanded to its widest theater count yet (73 locations) and grossed $76,920 for a per-theater average of $1,054 and a domestic total of $571,245, making it the highest-grossing NEON release to not clear $1 million domestically, putting it above more star-studded fare like Gemini and Monsters and Men. Note to indie studios like A24 and NEON: release more foreign films and give them prominent releases, they can make money!
Moving on to our new limited releases, we first have Mirai, which grossed $62,497 from 69 locations for a per-theater average of $906. Given that this one was playing in only a handful of showtimes at night, that’s a fine opening that serves as the third biggest opening weekend ever for GKIDS. In its first four days of release, Mirai has grossed $272,758. One quick holdover before we move on to other newbies: Wildlife grossed another $55,487 (a 16% dip from last weekend) from 66 locations for a per-theater average of $841. That’s not a great weekend haul but it is worth noting that, after a major 50% drop in mid-November, Wildlife has had two solid weekend-to-weekend holds in a row despite it losing theaters over each of the past two weekends. Carey Mulligan’s been receiving some awards attention for her work here and that’s likely helping the film hold on in its minimal amount of locations. Interestingly, it’s grossed $931,937 so far domestically and though it seemed unlikely even just two weeks, it does appear like this will be only the sixth IFC Flms release in the last two years to cross $1 million domestically.
After probably the longest box office analysis on Wildlife you’ll read all week, we move on to the second-biggest of this weekends newcomers, Anna and the Apocalypse, which debuted to just $50,163 from 5 locations for a per-theater average of only $10,033, a middling start. We shall see how it does when Orion Pictures expands its theater count on Friday. Finally, we come to Honey In The Head, a movie Warner Bros. has clearly been trying to bury thanks to the absolute lack of marketing. If that was the plan, it worked, the film apparently took in just $10,000 this weekend at 4 locations for a dismal per-theater average of just $2,500. Exempting re-issue’s of currently existing movies, it looks like Honey In The Head, if it’s lucky, will be the lowest grossing Warner Bros. film since Lost River grossed $45,431 in April 2015.
The top 12 movies this weekend grossed $109.4 million, a 10% improvement over last year and, as far as I can tell, the biggest post-Thanksgiving weekend in history (not accounting for inflation). As I always say when these kinds of box office records get broken, variety of titles is the key here, we’ve got multiple blockbusters (Ralph Breaks The Internet, The Grinch, Bohemian Rhapsody and Creed II) in the marketplace plus a bunch of smaller titles doing solid steady business. Also worth noting is that November 2018 ended up as the biggest November in history with a $1.041 billion haul. This all seems like a great way to kick off December 2018 which seems poised for massive box office business…