December 9, 2018

Behind the US/Worldwide Weekend Box Office – 12.9.2018

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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OPENINGS:  There were no new wide openings on this pre-holiday season weekend in the US, but things were busier overseas.  AQUAMAN (DC/Warners), which won’t arrive in the US until December 21, launched in China with a huge $93.6M, the best start for any Warner Bros film in that country, and almost as much as Batman v Superman ($95.8M) and Justice League ($106.1M) earned in their entire China runs.

Things were less promising for MORTAL ENGINES (Universal), which opens here on Friday.  It arrived in 43 international territories with a tepid $17.9M.  There are major markets still to come, but the expensive spectacle is already in trouble.

HOLDOVERS:  The lack of new competition was good news for the product already in theatres.  RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET (Disney) led the weekend with a 37% drop to $16.1M, although that was steeper than the parallel weekend drops for Moana (34%) and Coco (33%).  Ralph should reach $225M in the US.  Overseas, it’s still in only 30 territories, where it’s at $117.3M after an $18M weekend.

THE GRINCH (Illumination/Universal) is pleasing families, down just 15% in its 5th weekend to $15.2M, as it heads to $275M+ in the US.  However, it’s much softer overseas, where it’s at $98.9M after a $25.6M weekend in 61 markets, with China and Japan still on the way.

CREED II (MGM/New Line/Warners) dropped 38% to $10.1M in its 3rd weekend, steeper than the 33% drop for the parallel weekend of the first Creed.  It may reach $125M in the US, which would be around 15% higher than its predecessor.  Overseas, it’s in 31 territories and has $23.2M after a $5.2M weekend.

FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD (Warners) fell 40% in its 4th weekend, slightly better than the 43% drop for the parallel weekend of the first Beasts, although still substantially behind that film’s US total at that point in its run.  Grindelwald may need a stretch to hit $175M in the US, a 25% drop from its predecessor.  Overseas, it’s trailing off with a $22M weekend in all major markets for $423.3M to date, and won’t get near the $580M earned internationally by the first Beasts.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (Regency/20th) continues to triumph, fueled this weekend by some major Golden Globe nominations and down 25% to $6M in Weekend 6.  It should get to $185M in the US, but that’s pocket change compared to its international $423M after a $29.2M weekend in all major markets.  It will get past $600M worldwide this week, with plenty of gas left in the tank.

INSTANT FAMILY (Paramount) is finding good word of mouth, down 22% to $5.6M in its 4th weekend, and on track for $65M in the US.  It has $6.3M overseas after a $1.7M weekend in 15 territories.

GREEN BOOK (DreamWorks/Participant/Universal) got considerable love from the Golden Globes and increased its theatre count by about 10%, leaving its weekend almost exactly the same as last week at $3.9M.  The question will be whether it can keep its momentum once the flood of holiday openings arrive, and get past $30M in the US.  Its international release is still pending.

ROBIN HOOD (Summit/Lionsgate) has stabilized, down just 25% in its 3rd weekend, but that still left the weekend at $3.6M, without much prospect of getting far past $35M in the US.  Things are equally bleak overseas, where it’s playing in all major markets except Germany and has $38.5M after a $7.5M weekend.

THE POSSESSION OF HANNAH GRACE (Screen Gems/Sony) fell 50% in its 2nd weekend to $3.2M, which isn’t bad for low-budget horror, but is still unlikely to reach $20M in the US.  Overseas, it’s at $11.5M after a $4.8M weekend in 34 territories.

WIDOWS (Regency/20th) was ignored by the Globes and dropped 29% to $3.1M in its 4th weekend, on its way to $45M in the US.  It’s dimmer overseas, where it has $26.9M after a $4.5M weekend in 59 markets.

A STAR IS BORN (MGM/Warners) made its move to find a path to $200M in the US, expanding its theatre count by 50% and grabbing a 1-week IMAX engagement.  That pushed its 10th weekend up 38% to $2.5M, and if it can avoid collapse next weekend, it should hit its desired mark by the holidays.  Overseas, it’s at $172.6M after a $2M weekend in 55 territories.

LIMITED RELEASE:  THE FAVOURITE (Fox Searchlight) expanded solidly to 91 theatres with a $16K per-theatre average, which compares well with Darkest Hour‘s $10K average at 84, and Victoria & Abdul‘s $14K at 77.  The arthouse opening of the weekend was MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS (Focus/Universal), with a $50K start at 4 that was fine, but lagged behind Favourite‘s $105K per-theatre opening.  VOX LUX (Neon) arrived with a $27K average at 6, and BEN IS BACK (Roadside) averaged $20K at 4..  AT ETERNITY’S GATE (CBS/Lionsgate) widened to 172 with a slim $1800 average.  THE WIFE (Sony Classics) made a disastrous attempt to capitalize on Glenn Close’s Globe nomination with a jump back into 421 theatres that averaged a paltry $500.  ANNA & THE APOCALYPSE (Orion/MGM) averaged $3100 at 46.  MARIA BY CALLAS (Sony Classics) found the limits of its niche with an expansion to 149 that averaged $700.

NEXT WEEKEND:  Hollywood comes back to life with a trio of major openings, including SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (Sony Animation/Sony), THE MULE (Warners) and Mortal Engines.  Awards hopefuls in limited release include IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (Annapurna) and CAPERNAUM (Sony Classics).


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."