Welcome to The Void. Historically, the studios shy away from major releases on the post-Thanksgiving weekend because 1) the Thanksgiving films are still usually taking in big bucks, even with big weekend declines and 2) it's a weekend or two too far away for most movies to still be taking in relevant box office when we hit the end of year high tide. When that happens, you get The Void, when all the films in release collapse and the new releases barely register.
by Tim Briody
December 2, 2018
The best part about the 2018 calendar configuration is that The Void occupies not one, but two weekends; with an early Thanksgiving comes a post-Turkey Day weekend starting in November, with one more occupying the first full weekend of December, before Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse arrives and saves us all.
The Void means Ralph Breaks The Internet easily has a second weekend leading the box office, taking in $25.7 million, a 54% decline from last weekend, and giving it $119.2 million since its release last Wednesday. The decline is expected and just fine here. It's still ahead of Wreck-It Ralph after 12 days in theaters. The previous film had $101 million, though that opened at the start of November in 2012. Looking at Disney's previous Thanksgiving releases, it's even with 2016's Moana to this point ($119.7 million) and somewhat ahead of last year's Coco ($110.1 million). Both of those films were solid players through the month of December, and Ralph Breaks The Internet looks to do the same. It does get some major competition in two weekends, while in the last two years everything got the hell out of the way of Star Wars so the other Disney animated entries were able to benefit. I think you're looking at around a $200 million total, really only a small improvement over the $189.4 million earned by Wreck-It Ralph.
The Grinch takes second place this weekend with $17.7 million, down 42% and crossing the $200 million mark (the 10th film of 2018 to reach that figure) with $203.5 million in four weekends. If it can hang on for a couple more weekends, it'll really cash in on the Christmas box office boost, being on theme and all. If not, no shame here at all, as an animated (and not the nightmare fuel that was the Mike Myers live action version) Cat in the Hat adaptation is slated for 2020.
Creed II slips to third place with $16.8 million, down 52% from its opening weekend, and $81.1 million to date. After coming in with the best Thanksgiving weekend performance by a live-action film, the Creed sequel drops a little bit more than the first entry (Creed dropped 49% in the post-Thanksgiving weekend) but remains well ahead of the original, which had $64.5 million after 12 days in theaters. Things are just fine here, and it'll easily top the $109 million earned by Creed, and likely finish with around $130 million.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald continues to disappoint, diving 62% in its third weekend to $11.2 million and $134.3 million to date. The Harry Potter spin-off sequel is a full $100 million behind Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them's total, and the first entry also had $183 million in the bank at this same point in its release. Normally I'd expect this to throttle a franchise or at least have future sequels scaled down, but it's over $500 million worldwide, so they will keep on coming as long as J.K. Rowling keeps on writing them.
Bohemian Rhapsody adds $9.1 million and becomes the oldest film in the top ten with $164.4 million after five weekends. The Freddie Mercury biopic will fall short of $200 million, but was certainly able to transition from "major awards contender" to one of the fall's biggest hits pretty easily.
Mark Wahlberg's Instant Family adds $7.1 million (down 42%) in its third weekend and has $45.9 million to date. This one came out a month too early; had it been closer to Christmas, it would've cleaned up handily and probably pushed $100 million with its brand of inoffensive family comedy.
The lone new release of the weekend places seventh as The Possession of Hannah Grace earns $6.5 million, perhaps a tick above the expectations, if there even were any when you release a new film into The Void. The bad news is that I'll probably have to talk about this film next weekend, the good news is it only cost Sony $6 million to produce, so they'll actually be happy about this performance.
Thanksgiving weekend flop Robin Hood adds $4.7 million (down 49%) in its second weekend and has $21.7 million after 12 days in theaters. This one cost $100 million, so yeah, that happened. Even the overseas grosses aren't saving it and don't have it over $50 million worldwide yet. Lionsgate is going to take a bath on this one.
Widows takes ninth place with $4.4 million and $33 million in three weekends. You'd think the followup from the guy who directed 12 Years A Slave would perform bigger, especially since he went the heist thriller route, but this one is going to have to catch on through Netflix, it seems.
Green Book wraps up the top ten this weekend with a decent hold, down just 29% to $3.8 million and $14 million in two weekends. A exceedingly likely Best Picture nominee the based on a true story dramedy has been racking up the wins on the film festival circuit and was most recently named Best Film by the National Board of Review, which marks it as a serious contender.
The top 12 films this weekend earned $109.4 million, ahead of last year's $99.8 million when Coco's second weekend led the post-Thanksgiving slate with $27.5 million (and there were no new wide releases).
Speaking of that, The Void continues for another weekend as this time, there is nothing opening in wide release as the studios prepare gear up for the holiday season. It won't be pretty. See you next week.