Weekend Wrap-Up

by Tim Briody

December 8, 2019

Just *this* close to a billion.

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The most depressing weekend of the box office year is here, and it’s just something we have to suffer through until the holiday season celebration begins. It’s time for The Void.

While as I’ve stated before, the nature of a box office dead zone is very much a self-fulfilling prophecy; any weekend you released Avengers: Endgame it would probably have still made $300 million, but the post-Thanksgiving weekend (or weekends as last year’s calendar would have it) is a special case. Thanksgiving box office is inflated thanks to the holiday, and also the studios tend to not release anything of note on this weekend, as we’re still too far away from when it would get the most benefit from the Christmas box office money train.

Speaking of not very notable new releases, the only wide release this weekend was Playmobil: The Movie, based on the toy that I thought was only a thing in the '80s. Released by STX Entertainment in 2,337 theaters, Playmobil earned $670,000, placing 14th for the weekend. I am not making that up. In the business, we call this “pulling an Oogieloves.” And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Frozen II is of course the winner for the third weekend in a row, despite suffering a post-Thanksgiving drop of 60% to $34.67 million. It’s got a massive $337.5 million in just three weekends. It’s just a couple of weekends away from matching Frozen’s $400 million, a figure it didn’t reach until the middle of April after several weeks in second run theaters. The worldwide estimate is currently $919 million, so we’re looking at yet another billion dollar film as early as next weekend.

Despite the two big December movies coming in the next two weekends, Frozen II is still very much well positioned to be a viable choice through the remainder of the month, and a total of $550 million is very much in play. Once again, Disney runs it all.

Knives Out dips 47% to $14.1 million in its second weekend and has $63.4 million to date. The crowd-pleasing murder mystery only cost $40 million to make (did everyone in it work for scale?), so it’s going to be a big winner for Lionsgate if it can manage to hang on for a couple more weekends in the face of Jumanji and Star Wars.

Ford v Ferrari adds $6.5 million, down 50% from Thanksgiving weekend, giving it $91.1 million in four weekends. A lock for $100 million, of course, now we wait and see if it makes any noise as the end of year awards roll in. That’s a business that’s about to pick up this coming week, so things are about to get interesting.

Queen and Slim has the best hold among last week’s top ten as it drops 45% from its opening weekend to $6.5 million and has $26.8 million to date. With just a $20 million price tag, Universal will be happy with the final result here.


A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood takes a 56% hit from last weekend to $5.2 million and $43.1 million in three weekends. The only love this one’s getting from awards season is Tom Hanks in the supporting categories.

The only sort of bright spot in the cruel mistress that is The Void is the expansion of Dark Waters from 94 theaters to 2,012 theaters, where it earned $4.1 million, giving it a total of $5.2 million after three weekends in theaters.

A based-on-a-true-story legal thriller starring Mark Ruffalo (in the conversation for an acting nomination, but it’s a really, really crowded year in this category so he’ll likely miss out), Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Victor Garber and William Jackson Harper, Dark Waters is well received (93% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes), but it’s the sort of thing that tends to be a tough sell to viewers. And you can also argue that it might have done a little better had it not expanded into The Void.

21 Bridges adds $2.8 million (down 48%) to give it $23.9 million in three weekends. It cost $33 million to make so STX continues to not have a great year outside of The Upside and Hustlers.

Playing With Fire earns $2 million (down 53%) in its fifth weekend and has $41.9 million to date. It only cost $30 million to make, so Paramount should come out ahead here.

Midway adds $1.9 million and has $53.4 million in five weekends. This isn’t a Playmobile level flop, but Lionsgate is gonna hurt from this one, especially since it cost $100 million to make.

Joker holds on for one last weekend with $1 million and $332.1 million after ten weekends in release. The only question left is if it gets any big nominations other than Joaquin Phoenix.

How rough is The Void? Your top 12 films this weekend earned $80.7 million. 2019 has actually seen two worse weekends, the first weekend of February ($55.4 million) and Labor Day weekend ($69.5 million), but this weekend always just seems more depressing, especially since you’re coming off the high of Thanksgiving weekend and there’s big releases just around the corner. The fact that this weekend is so bleak stands out much more.

This weekend last year was the second weekend of The Void, when the top films earned $77.8 million, led by the third weekend of Ralph Breaks the Internet with $16.2 million.

Things get better as we look to end 2019 with some good news at the box office, first with the release of Jumanji: The Next Level, a sequel to one of the leggiest films of the last several years, as well as Richard Jewell, a biopic making a last gasp as awards attention, and horror entry Black Christmas.

Top Ten for Weekend of December 6-8, 2019
Gross ($)
Weekly Change
Gross ($)
1 Frozen II Walt Disney 34.6 -60% 337.5
2 Knives Out Lionsgate 14.1 -47% 63.4
3 Ford v. Ferrari 20th Century Fox 6.5 -50% 91.1
4 Queen & Slim Universal 6.5 -45% 26.8
5 A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Sony Pictures 5.2 -56% 43.1
6 Dark Waters Focus Features 4.1 +560% 5.2
7 21 Bridges STX Entertainment 2.8 -48% 23.9
8 Playing With Fire Paramount 2.0 -53% 41.9
9 Midway Lionsgate 1.9 -51% 53.4
10 Joker Warner Bros. 1.0 -47% 332.1
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations



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