Friday Box Office Analysis
By Kim Hollis
December 7, 2019
Welcome to The Void, the post-Thanksgiving weekend when nothing of note is released for box office consumption, and everyone is still apparently sleeping off their turkey hangover.
The only new wide release of the weekend is PLAYMOBIL, a French animated film based on the toys by the German company. I guess that the company thought they'd like to get some of that LEGO-type money by creating a movie franchise of their own. Trouble is, PLAYMOBIL isn't a hugely recognizable name, particularly not in North America. And even though sometimes family films can sneak some money just by virtue of being one of the only things available for that target demographic, Frozen II is worth seeing multiple times instead of seeing this once.
With all that said, PLAYMOBIL earned just $167,000 from 2,337 venues. It's pretty much a disaster for distributor STX Entertainment, who are only getting a cut of the North American earnings. Honestly, they would have been far, far better off had this one just gone straight to video. I feel pretty confident that the advertising budget alone will cost more than what this will make in its theatrical run. Look for $450,000 for the weekend and let's just not ever speak of it again. Makes even the worst LEGO movie look pretty special, doesn't it?
Also theoretically new this weekend was the IMAX-only release The Aeronauts. I suspect it didn't capture many screens, as exhibitioners probably used those screens for other films, including a Fathom Events showing of Gremlins. So, we're really not seeing any box office reported, and it will hit Amazon on December 20th. I'm pretty excited for this one, because I love love love airships, Eddie Redmayne, and Felicity Jones.
So, what that means is that Frozen II will once again be the top movie of the weekend. It was down 77 percent from last Friday, but keep in mind that it was Black Friday when the majority of the United States was on holiday and enjoying family time. It will recover a lot this weekend, and should finish with about $37 million. As I always mention, Disney almost always underestimates, though they have little reason to do so here.
One noteworthy expansion for the weekend is Dark Waters from Focus Features, a historical drama featuring Mark Ruffalo and directed by Todd Haynes. I'm a big fan of Ruffalo and lukewarm on Haynes, but a $1.4 million performance yesterday at least gets Ruffalo into the conversation for Best Actor at the Academy Awards. He'll likely be on the outside looking in, but at least a $4 million tally isn't too terrible for a film with such dreary subject matter.
Thank goodness that this year's calendar configuration doesn't give us two weekends of The Void, as we suffered through that anomaly in 2018.