It was a mostly awesome Thanksgiving weekend as the two big sequels deliver as promised, and we also have a nice turkey to make fun of as well.
by Tim Briody
November 25, 2018
When Frozen happened in 2013, Disney (after needing a year or two of lead time) started putting their big fall animated movie out over Thanksgiving weekend instead of kicking off the month of November. The results? $248.7 million for 2016's Moana and $209 million for last year's Coco. The key here is that while Thanksgiving weekend generally means a huge opening, the movies are generally leggy enough that they hang in theaters long enough to benefit from the end of year box office holiday boost. It's an effect that definitely helped push Coco over the $200 million mark.
Witness Wreck-It Ralph, their 2012 release. The '80s video game themed comedy opened with $49 million and and finished with $189.4 million. A sequel was inevitable, and this time, Disney rewarded it with a Thanksgiving release, and it certainly worked.
Ralph Breaks the Internet was very easily the top film of the holiday weekend, with a $55.6 million weekend and a massive $84.4 million over five days. That is the second highest five day total on this weekend ever, the first of course belonging to Frozen, which earned $93.5 million in five days.
It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Ralph would win the weekend; the only question was really by how much. The reviews were solid and the marketing top notch (the Disney princesses scene that basically went viral on social media was worth a couple of million to the opening weekend in my book), meaning the high score of Frozen was definitely in sight. It didn't quite get there, but it's set up very nicely to leg it out to Christmas and cross the $200 million mark with ease. Also sort of helping is the giant void of new releases for the next two weekends until Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse on December 14th, so there's no competition at all.
Second goes to a sequel to a Thanksgiving release from a couple of years ago, Creed II. Creed sorta kinda rebooted the Rocky series in 2015 and defied the odds, earning rave reviews (and a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Sylvester Stallone), launching Michael B. Jordan's career (or at least letting us forget he was in the failed Fantastic Four reboot) and leading director Ryan Coogler to get the nod to direct Black Panther. I wonder how that one turned out?
Creed earned $109.7 million on a $35 million budget, so much like the other Rocky films, a sequel was inevitable. Coogler does not return as director, but Jordan (along with co-star Tessa Thompson, who's also had a big success in the interim) is back as the son of Apollo Creed.
Creed II earned $35.2 million for the weekend and $55.8 million over five days, bettering the $29.6 million weekend and $42.1 million five-day tally for Creed. The film earned decent if not glowing reviews and heavily borrowed elements of Rocky IV (the most successful of the original Rocky franchise, box office wise). The jump is a good thing, though I predict it will be slightly less leggier than Creed, but it's still good for around $100 million. The budget was a little higher this time (reportedly $50 million), but this will still wind up a big winner for MGM(!) especially when you throw the international grosses in.
The Grinch has a great holiday weekend hold with $30.2 million (down 22%) and $42 million in five days. It's got $180 million after three weekends. It's a weekend away from $200 million, and if it can manage to not drop off a cliff in the next two weekends of The Void, it's going to find itself with some extra box office as we get closer to Christmas, not quite getting there but teasing the idea of $300 million.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald takes a dive in its second weekend, dropping 52% to $29.6 million. It managed $42.9 million in five days. It's got $117.1 million in two weekends. Comparatively, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them had $156 million at this same point in 2016, so while the diminishing returns have already set in two films into this purported five film franchise, it's already got over $300 million in international box office. So yeah, the rest of the sequels are probably happening as long as it's making that kind of money.
Bohemian Rhapsody also holds well with $13.8 million (down 14% from last weekend) and $19.3 million in five days. It's got $152 million in four weekends. Its chances at $200 million took a big hit last weekend, but it's still got a chance to make a run at it. The Void is coming, and it's usually kinder to holdovers, but we'll see.
Mark Wahlberg's Instant Family (just add...people?) has a very solid hold with $12.5 million (down 14%) and $17.4 million in five days. It's got $35.7 million after two weekends. It's still far from the levels of the comedies Wahlberg has put out over the last couple of holiday seasons (Daddy's Home 2 had $72.6 million in three weekends at this point last year), but the minimal decline saves it from complete flop status.
Down in seventh place we get a nice big Thanksgiving turkey. Robin Hood earned $9.1 million for the weekend and $14.2 million in five days. This one reportedly cost $100 million, so I think we're in "somebody's getting fired" status. Savaged by critics (just 11% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) and its existence deemed largely unnecessary, I wish this would be the last I have to mention it but with The Void approaching it will still probably be in the top ten next weekend, so I'll make fun of it again then.
Widows was unable to turn its solid reviews into strong legs as it dips 36% from last weekend to $7.9 million and $10.5 million in five days. The Steve McQueen film has $25.5 million after two weekends, close to its $42 million budget (foreign earnings will get it there soon), as it looks to land with about $45 million total.
Expanding and hoping to be an awards contender, Green Book earns $5.4 million in just 1,063 theaters and $7.4 million in five days. Starring Mahershala Ali (an Oscar winner) and Viggo Mortensen (a two time Best Actor nominee), this is an okay if unspectacular expansion. A bit of a weird sell on the holiday frame, the long weekend likely did kick in a few bucks on the basis that people do see more movies on this weekend. It's going to have to rely on word-of-mouth to keep going after this start.
A Star Is Born wraps up the top ten this weekend with $3 million and $191 million in eight weekends. It's likely got a couple more weekends to $200 million, and there's a chance that doesn't happen until 2019 when the award nominations are out. But it eventually will get there.
For the three day weekend, the top 12 films earned $206.5 million, easily topping last year when Coco opened with $50 million and the top 12 totaled $183.9 million.
Next weekend, The Void awaits us, as it's the traditional post-Thanksgiving weekend that new releases seem to avoid. The only thing worth mentioning appears to be a horror film named The Possession of Hannah Grace, which is set to not light the box office on fire