The holiday movie season began in earnest last week, but the Christmas themed film was a disappointment. Another one is in theaters this weekend, and comes with a notable pedigree, as the Dr. Seuss adaptation of The Grinch easily wins the weekend, and is primed for a solid run in theaters.
by Tim Briody
November 11, 2018
It's been 18(!) years since the live action adaptation of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, where Jim Carrey mugged his way to $260 million. It was helped greatly by opening the weekend before Thanksgiving, where it then dropped a mere 7% over the holiday weekend. This spawned a live action Cat in the Hat in 2003, where Mike Myers provided us with a significant amount of nightmare fuel but still managed $100 million. The big dropoff spelled the end for live action adaptations (thankfully), and Dr. Seuss adaptations did not return to theaters until Horton Hears a Who! in 2008, which earned $154 million and almost $300 million worldwide. The Lorax in 2012 earned $214 million domestically and $350 million worldwide, so here we are again. (Next in the works is an animated Cat in the Hat adaptation, of course.)
The Grinch easily takes the weekend with $66 million. If it seems low (and yes, The Lorax actually opened with $70 million in March 2012), it's not a big deal, it's going to be a solid earner over the next month, and perhaps even through Christmas. It also may have been underestimated with schools closed Monday for Veteran's Day, or at least will have a solid Monday figure. The Grinch wasn't met with the best reviews (rating just 55% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes), but the target audience doesn't really care about that. Also, The Grinch is from Illumination, the company behind the Despicable Me franchise and Minions, so they're usually pretty good at this sort of thing. With a reported budget of just $75 million, it's going to be a very happy holiday season at Universal, who in the year of Disney/Marvel, are actually having a great year themselves.
Bohemian Rhapsody slides to second place with a $30.8 million, a 40% decline from its opening. It's got $100 million even after two weekends, which is just outstanding considering its $55 million budget. The ship has sailed on it being a legit awards contender, but audiences are absolutely loving it, and isn't that always the more important thing? It's headed to $200 million domestically at this pace, and is already over that much worldwide.
New release Overlord is third this weekend with $10.1 million. A World War II-themed film with a sci-fi/horror twist, it might be the closest we'll ever get to a film adaptation of the old video game Wolfenstein 3D. Starring, well, nobody really, it's produced by JJ Abrams and cost a surprising $38 million, so it's got a bit of work to do to get there. It was the best reviewed film of the weekend though, rating 81% Fresh. I don't expect it to get there however, as it's a bit of a tough sell, if at least slightly original.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms drops 53% in its second weekend to $9.5 million and $35.2 million to date. Forget Christmas, it's not even going to make it to Thanksgiving at this rate. Disney's first real misfire of the year (though international earnings have it at nearly $100 million), it's looking at maybe $60 million domestic by the time it's done, unless a Christmas miracle happens. I wouldn't bet on it, though.
Fifth place goes to the third opener of the weekend, The Girl In the Spider's Web.
First, a probably unnecessary but I feel like writing about it primer on this franchise: In 2004, Swedish writer Stieg Larsson died. He had been working on a book franchise and three of them had been finished (out of a planned series of ten) but not yet published. The first one was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which when published in 2005, became an international bestseller. The other books, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, were also published and also wildly popular. All three books were adapted into Swedish-language films were successful. Naturally, Hollywood came calling and made a big budget adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, starring Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara and directed by David Fincher. Despite a Christmas 2011 release and favorable reviews (including a Best Actress nomination for Mara), the movie flopped, earning just $102 million (on a $90 million budget), and ending the franchise before they could adapt the other two books.
Meanwhile, in 2013, the Swedish publisher of the original books allowed a different writer to continue the series and The Girl in the Spider's Web was published in 2015 and was also a bestseller. Since Hollywood never learns its lessons, the franchise was rebooted (albeit scaled down considerably in terms of casting and budget), with Claire Foy (The Queen) as Lisbeth Salander and directing duties going to Fede Alvarez (2016's Don't Breathe).
All of this was to say: it earned $8 million this weekend, earned bad reviews (43% Fresh) and stands to not make back its $43 million budget domestically. I think the jury is in: this franchise is a good book series, but its themes too dark and plots too convoluted to make a good movie.
A Star is Born creeps closer to $200 million, adding $8 million in its sixth weekend and giving it $178 million to date. It's going to be very close, and it's on pace for it to fall just a little short, but it's something to watch over the next few weeks.
Tyler Perry's Nobody's Fool by Tyler Perry drops 52% to $6.5 million and has $24.2 million in two weekends. Perry's films have never been known for their legs, but the have generally been cheap to make, as this one only cost $19 million and is headed to $35 million or so, as we wait for the end of the Madea character next year.
Venom earns $4.8 million in its sixth weekend and has $206.2 million to date. The big win for Sony shows that anyone with a connection to Marvel can still deliver big box office, even if it's not from Disney.
Halloween's wheels fall off, dropping 65% to $3.8 million and giving it $156.8 million after four weekends. Nobody's complaining here, though, it's the biggest film ever in the franchise, and only cost $15 million to make.
The Hate U Give surprisingly holds on to a top ten spot with $2 million and $26.7 million after six weekends in theaters (and four in wide release). It's found some relatively decent legs given the smaller opening during its time in theaters.
Your top 12 films this weekend totalled $144.2 million, just ahead of last year's $139.9 million when the second weekend of Thor: Ragnarok lead the way with $57 million.
Next weekend is the sequel to the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, as well as the Mark Wahlberg comedy Instant Family and ensemble heist film Widows from Steve McQueen.