Creed and Dinosaur Strong at Thanksgiving Box Office
By John Hamann
November 29, 2015
Why will it challenge $200 million? If it’s Pixar, it’s gold is one reason, but The Good Dinosaur has what it takes to roll through the Christmas season. Reviews were good enough to get it going – 77% fresh overall, 84% fresh from "top critics," or those critics with the widest audience. The Cinemascore reinforced those notices with an A score, and it has the field to itself until December 18th, when Alvin and the Chipmunks 4 and a little film called Star Wars open. A Bug’s Life had to fight off The Rugrats Movie when it debuted, and then Jack Frost two weeks later followed by The Prince of Egypt. The field is clear for The Good Dinosaur, and I expect strong word-of-mouth will propel it forward following an initial drop next weekend.
Creed is third, and according to Variety, tracking had Creed looking for $33 million over five days this weekend. However, with a new star, and stellar reviews in its back pocket, Creed broke out somewhat, starting on Wednesday when it earned a strong $6 million. Normally, films fade a bit on Thursday, given that families are gathering. Creed punched that thought in the face, as it pulled in $6.5 million on Thursday, gaining 7%, where normally it should be giving that back. On Friday, Creed earned an astonishing $11.7 million, which would put it in the $30 million range over three-days, when tracking was calling for that gross over five days.
Creed took in a stellar $30.1 million over the three-day portion of the weekend, and a wild $42.6 million over the five-day Thanksgiving frame. This is a huge win for Warner Bros., which was facing a bit of a risk with Ryan Coogler’s film. Rocky himself had been reduced to a supporting player, and the entire franchise had never seen an opening weekend beyond $20 million. That’s why it was smart to position Creed on Thanksgiving. Rocky films are not meant to open big – they are meant to leg out significant wins, as three of the six Rocky releases earned more than $100 million despite opening to less than $20 million.
Creed brings the best of both worlds now, opening decently and having the elements needed to stay hot through Christmas. Creed earned a stunning 93% fresh rating at RottenTomatoes, the best rating for a wide release since The Martian opened. It also earned an A Cinemascore, so it has the one-two punch it needs to stay relevant. It cost only $35 million to make, and I would not be surprised if it earned $150 million domestically.
Fourth goes to Spectre, which needed a bailout weekend if it was going to get very far beyond $200 million. It definitely got that bailout, as Spectre earned $12.8 million over the three-day portion of the weekend, off just 15% compared to last weekend’s $15 million weekend where it fell 55%. Other Daniel Craig Bond films are tough to compare this weekend, as all spent Thanksgiving weekend in different parts of their run. Spectre remains far behind Skyfall, but ahead of both Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale. It has a domestic gross to date of $176.1 million against that massive $245 million budget. Overseas, it has already moved well past the half-billion mark, so financially it should be fine by the end of its run.