Scream failed to maintain the #1 spot, but is still doing solid business. Spider-Man continues is reign while most films in the top ten actually held surprisingly. Redeeming Love also surprised with a notable gross!
Weekend Box Office Top 10 (Dec 17-19): (Title / Weekend Gross / Percent Change from Last Week / Weekend # / Distributor), Monday (3-Day) Sunday Estimates:
- Spider-Man: No Way Home / $14.1 million / -30% / Weekend 6 / Sony (Columbia)
- Scream (aka Scream 5) / $12.4 million / -59 / Weekend 2 / Paramount
- Sing 2 / $5.71 million / -28% / Weekend 5 / Universal
- Redeeming Love / $3.7 million / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Universal
- The King’s Man / $1.78 million / -20% / Weekend 5 / Disney (20th Century Studios)
- The 355 / $1.6 million / -30% / Weekend 1 / Universal
- American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story / $1.22 million / -22% / Weekend 5 / Lionsgate
- The King’s Daughter / $750K / (N/A) / Weekend 1 / Gravitas Ventures
- West Side Story / $698K / -25% / Weekend 7 / Disney (20th Century Studios)
- Licorice Pizza / $683K / -22% / Weekend 9 / United Artists (MGM)
12. Belle / $550K / -65% / Weekend 2 / GKIDS
13. House of Gucci / $540K / -29% / Weekend 9 / United Artists (MGM)
15. Nightmare Alley / $236K / -9% / Weekend 6 / Disney (Searchlight)
17. Parallel Mothers / $170K / +43% / Weekend 5 / Sony Pictures Classics
18. Drive My Car / $96K / +26% / Weekend 9 / Janus Films
19. Flee / $36k / +2664% / Weekend 8 / Neon
And now, the battle is over. It looks like Scream was unable to recapture the magic and No Way Home retook the #1 spot at the box office this weekend. It’s a slight shame, as a win for Scream would’ve been both a nice feather in that film’s cap as well as a sign of changes coming and a greater hunger for a diversity of films at the box office. No Way Home taking the #1 spot, unfortunately, points to one film still sucking most of the air out of the room. That said, it’s not all doom and gloom, Scream still had some wins, and I was surprised at the strength of some titles.
Credit where credit is due, No Way Home continues to be an absolutely fantastic performer here. Dropping just 30% in its sixth weekend, it took in a strong $14.1 million which pulled it up to $721 million domestically. That put it as the fourth highest-grossing film of all time in the United States, sandwiched between Avatar at #3 with $749.7 million and Black Panther at #5 with $700 million. It’s a phenomenon, plain and simple. I was actually shocked and delighted when comparing its box office run with those of Avengers: Endgame and Infinity War to find that No Way Home is actually performing like a high-level Avengers film more than a high-performing Spider-Man movie. Whilst Spider-Man: Far from Home ended up peaking around $400 million domestically after a nearly 60 day run in theaters, No Way Home‘s gross on its 38th day stands just about $100 million under Endgame‘s ($815 million in 2019) and $100 million ahead of Infinity War‘s ($643 million). At this rate, the film is looking to top out at around $750 million, which would likely allow it to supplant Avatar in the #3 spot all-time domestic list. Internationally, the film has topped $970 million for a worldwide gross of $1.69 billion. It remains thoroughly possible (if not guaranteed) that the film could reach $2 billion globally by the end of its run.
As for Scream, my predictions ended up being a bit too lofty, as it was unable to replicate its predecessors, or fellow January “event” picture, Glass, with a hold in the low 50s, not even making my guess at a drop of -55%. Instead, it played much more like a standard horror picture, taking a larger drop in its second weekend as the hype began to wear off. Still, it did prove to still be relatively strong as it did not dip into the 60s, instead falling 59% for a gross of $12.4 million in second place which, for a horror film, is actually quite solid. This gross takes the film to $51.3 million domestically, with an international haul of $17.9 million totaling up to $69.3 million worldwide. On a budget of just $24 million, this is still a really strong performance, having nearly tripled its budget in just two weeks which explains why Scream 6 is already in development. I am curious, however, now that we’ve seen the film’s 2nd weekend drop, just how far Scream will indeed leg out by the end of its run. While movies in the Scream franchise have usually been quite profitable, they do still play like horror movies with shorter legs relative to other genres and each installment has had progressively shorter legs than the last. Now, Scream absolutely should outpace Scream 4 (it actually has already overtaken that film’s meager $38 million domestic gross) which had x2 multiplier from opening weekend to total domestic gross, but the film looks a lot more likely now to play like Scream 3 which took in a domestic gross that was about 2.5x as opening weekend. Legs like that would have Scream end its domestic run with $75 million, which would be quite healthy even without any international revenue. It’s overseas gross, if it follows the Scream franchise standard, would likely have it taking in around 40% of its world grosses from overseas and would give it a final worldwide gross of $125 million. My question continues to be whether or not Scream will benefit from a lack of competition for the next week until the February 4th arrival of Lionsgate’s Moonfall. This weekend’s solid, if not fantastic, hold tell me that is still a possibility and that Scream could have a potentially even better hold next week.
One thing I absolutely did get right this weekend is saying that Sing 2 would come in third place, which it did with a marvelous 28% hold for a gross of $5.7 million, taking its total domestic gross to $128.4 million and $241.2 million worldwide. Keeping in line with the Secret Life of Pets 2 comparison, Sing 2 is likely to end its run with around $146 million domestically. Its potential worldwide gross is a bit more difficult to predict given the state of the world right now, but Illumination Animation films tend to lean very heavily towards international audiences given the studio’s European sensibilities, with many of their most successful films taking as much as 60-70% of their global box office intake from international markets. At its worst, Sing 2 will likely end its run with $300 million worldwide, though with the film set to bow in the UK and Japan (both big markets for Illumination) later down the line, I would not surprised to see a gross closer to $350 or $400 million. No matter what, on an $85 million budget, the returns will be sweet.
Fourth place this weekend was home to one of the new wide releases, and I have to give it props. First, I’ll pat myself on the back for correctly predicting that Redeeming Love would indeed come out ahead of The King’s Daughter (not much of a leap, but I’ll congratulate myself anyway). What was really surprising, however, was Redeeming Love‘s gross of $3.7 million. I had said the best I could see it doing was $3 million so my expectations were obviously exceeded. Good job, Universal! Clearly, no one was expecting much from this movie as it has barely been covered in any of the trades. One fascinating thing I did find out from them, however, is that Redeeming Love is actually not Universal’s movie; the studio is merely distributing the picture. Instead, it was actually produced by Pinnacle Peak Pictures, a very small production/distribution outlet, last of whom I’d heard about around the time that a 2018, modern-day adaptation of Little Women (starring Lea Thompson as Marmee!) was released from said label. More digging on my part led to the shocking revelation that Pinnacle Peak is actually the successor to the faith-based studio, PureFlix Entertainment! You may know PureFlix primarily from the Youtube ads they always have for their eponymous streaming service, but what you may not know is that said streaming service is actually no longer a part of the company, with PureFlix having sold off the streaming service to Sony Entertainment which, in turn, moved the streaming service to be under the jurisdiction on their own, in-house, faith-based label, Affirm Films (producers of the charming The Star). With the close of that sale, PureFlix Entertainment’s production studio rebranded as Pinnacle Peak, but I digress. I find it pretty awesome that Redeeming Love was able to find that much of audience given its terrible reviews (to be expected) and its complete lack of advertising. Then again, the executives behind the film also gave us the notably successful God’s Not Dead franchise and the controversial Unplanned which made a splash on its opening weekend and eeked out a solid profit so, clearly, they know what they are doing. The bigger accomplishment here is that Pinnacle Peak was able to find support from a major studio like Universal to help distribute their film. Maybe it’s just the result of the pandemic and Universal just needing an extra film or two on their slate for January, but Pinnacle hasn’t had much success since the rebranding so being able to get their film into nearly 2,000 theaters is a major win for them; plus, with a B+ Cinemascore (not great, but not terrible) and strong exit polling from ComScore, including a high 72% recommend (typical of faith-based movies given their uplifting tones), there’s a distinct chance that Redeeming Love could pull in a solid audience over the course of its run. Legs like Unplanned would take it to about $11 million and while I don’t have a clue what the budget is (I suspect it’s pretty low), that’s a really nice run for a movie of this ilk; one that also bodes quite well for profits in the ancillary market down the line.
Unfortunately for The King’s Daugther, Gravitas Ventures will not be getting the same profile boost that Pinnacle will be receiving. Debuting to $720K, the long-delayed film placed eighth at the box office this weekend. Now, to be fair, that does look to be Gravitas’ biggest opening weekend gross to date (which makes sense as it is also their widest release in 2,170 theaters), and it will likely end up being their highest-grossing film. However, when your current highest-grossing film is Ellen Burstyn’s Queen Bees, that’s not a high bar to clear, nor is $720K an eye-catching, paradigm-shifting opening gross for Gravitas that will make them more mainstream. We can give them props for taking a big swing while still acknowledging that they missed.
As for the rest of the top ten, while Scream didn’t fully take advantage of the lack fo competition, much of the rest of the top ten did, particularly The King’s Man and The 355. Coming in fifth place, The King’s Man managed another spectacular hold with an even better than expected 20%(!) hold for a $1.78 million gross, taking its domestic total to $31.5 million. Worldwide, the film has reach a major milestone, having officially passed the century mark with a gross of $105.3 million. It’s still going to be a flop, but the film’s performance in spite of its beleaguered circumstances is highly commendable. As for The 355, once again it seems that the word-of-mouth on the film from out of the gate might have been premature as it managed a much stronger hold than anyone could have expected; just a drop of 30%. This resulted in a gross of $1.6 million in sixth place this weekend, a domestic haul of $11 million total, and a worldwide total of $13 million. Like The King’s Man, The 355 is still a definite theatrical flop, as it will not be able to recoup the $20 million Universal paid for it out of Cannes with numbers like these. However, there is clearly genuine, if niche, interest in this movie which will likely translate into many more viewers across the numerous digital release windows it has to come. Seventh place also saw another great hold for American Underdog, this time an excellent 22% hold for a gross of $1.22 million, taking it to $23.1 million domestically. That’s frankly excellent for a film like this and pretty much cements that it will finish out it’s run with at least $25 million.
In the final two spots, we have West Side Story and Licorice Pizza, each sporting two strong holds of 25% (for a gross of $698K) and 22% (for a gross of $683K), respectively. Once again, a situation where the holds are great but the grosses are minuscule. Then again, these two movies are competing more so for Oscar gold than anything else at this point, so their respective races are not over. As for other Oscar potentials/hopeful (given that there was no movement in the specialty market otherwise since Tiger Rising and A Shot Through the Wall didn’t really materialize), Belle dropped a sizeable 65% for a gross of 550K in 12th place, not that impressive for an anime film, but notable as it only lost 158 theaters this weekend, retaining a relatively wide release of 1,180 theaters and doing its part to diversify the box office by adding an original film to the mix (the thing audiences claim they want more of, then promptly ignore). It was fun to see House of Gucci sticking so close to the top ten in 13th place, dropping -28% for a gross of $540K, growing to a domestical total of $52 million and a worldwide sum of nearly $130 million. House of Gucci has emerged as a surprisingly strong Oscar contender despite divisive critical reviews, managing even to rope in a Best Ensemble nomination at the Screen Actors Guild Awards alongside obligatory nominations for Gaga (now firmly a Best Actress contender) and Jared Leto. Maybe its because of its strength at the box office, which, while it will not pull the film into profitability, absolutely towers of the vast majority of Oscar hopefuls this year, domestically pulling it at least three times the likes of The French Dispatch which had been the strongest arthouse entry this past year prior to House of Gucci‘s debut. In any case, good for Lady Gaga. Elsewhere, late-in-the-game entry, Nightmare Alley continues to struggle, holding well with just a 9% drop, but being suffocated with a mere $9.7 million domestic total.
To end on a positive note, we did see soemreally nice expansions. Taking the 17th, 18th, and 19th spot respectively, Pedro Almodovar and Penelope Cruz’s Parallel Mothers, Best Foreign Film frontrunner Drive My Car, and animated documentary Flee all saw growth as they expanded their theater counts. Parallel Mothers (where Penelope Cruz is considered a dark horse Best Actress contender) added 62 theaters and jumped +43% in its 5th weekend to $170K, with its domestic total now standing at $611K, while Drive My Car added 31 theaters for a jump of +26% (grossing $96K) and now stands at $649K total in the US. Finally, Flee added 35 theaters and saw a massive +2664% boost to $36K for the weekend and $100K total. It’s surprising to see a jump like this since Flee has been in theaters for 8 weeks now, but clearly Neon is making an effort to take advantage of the January vacuum. Smart thinking on their part.