More magic overseas than stateside.

The next holiday season blockbuster arrived and…while not a failure necessarily, the block at least remained intact. But even with a lower than expected debut overall things remained very fertile in theaters and the crowds are still turning up.

There was a wide assortment of debuts and mostly it was fair to middling on their returns, but the general field did well with holdovers still drawing interest. Things will only heat up this week as Disney uncorks another seasonal animated major release. Studios will stuff their pockets while we are stuffing our faces.

 

1.  FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD – $62.2 Million

This is a slight letdown considering projections were for it to land higher. There are some signs it was lagging with audiences. The CinemaScore was “B+”, a drop from the first installment graded a solid “A”. Saturday saw a slight drop in business, despite more showings and matinees, which should have drawn more families. This debut falls short of the $75 opening for the first film, and as such stands as the lowest debut in the Harry Potter universe of films. The critics were in line with audiences, with more downgrading the film than raving. Die hard fans have been a little bit distanced by this Potter-adjacent franchise, picking apart the plotlines and questioning the crowded field of characters that don’t link up with that universe. Overseas however it has been a different story. The film debuted with $191 million in foreign markets, and that is up from the $145 million debut of the original. Next weekend will be a further challenge stateside though, as “Ralph Destroys The Internet” arrives Wednesday.

 

2. DR. SEUSS’ THE GRINCH -$38.16m

A very decent hold in week two of just a -43% drop for an animated film. A stronger than expected opening last week is sustained, helped a bit by the holiday and an effective marketing campaign with numerous promotional partners. Those green Grinch pancakes have helped boost things! Already the holiday sour puss has earned over $125 million.

 

3.  BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY – $15.7m

The Freddie Mercury bio pic has been adored by the adults, and it has that lasting power. This also may have sapped some business from “Fantastic Beasts”, as the adults may have chosen this entirely, or sent the kids in to that as they opted for the history of Queen.

 

4.  INSTANT FAMILY – $14.7m

Mark Wahlberg stars in a family comedy that is a bit formulaic but differs enough as it centers on foster families-adoption. Expected to make a bit better, more towards the $20 million mark, there are signs this could become profitable. It actually built its audience into Saturday, and the CinemaScore of “A” combined with rather high critics reviews means this has a chance at stretching out its run during the holidays.

 

5.  WIDOWS – $12.3m

A female-driven heist drama it was expected to do a bit more business based on strong advanced praise. As it was roundly praised by critics the audiences were less enthralled. Though sporting a strong cast, and deeply respected director Steve McQueen, those who saw it gave it only a “B” CinemaScore. There is hope it will nab some nominations to boost its relevance and aid in the marketing coming up.

 

6.  THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS – $4.67m

A real disappointment for Disney, as this $120 million budgeted set piece has yet to even cross the $50 million mark. This one saw theaters dropping it from over 1,100 screens in just its third week of release, which is a rarity for a Disney release.

 

7.  A STAR IS BORN – $4.35m

By comparison after seven weeks this Bradley Cooper smash is still showing on 2,000+ screens. A finish over $200 million is looking rather assured.   

 

8.  OVERLORD – $3.85m

The high concept thriller, melding a war film with a zombie storyline, has been hailed by critics but just has not latched on with ticket buyers. A deep plunge of -62% in week #2 is a tough hit after a sluggish open.

 

9.  THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB: A NEW DRAGON TATTOO STORY – $2.5m

An even larger repudiation by movie-goers was found here. Showing on more screens than “Overlord” it has performed worse. The -68% drop is all the more significant that few want anything to do with this one.

 

10.  NOBODY’S FOOL – $2.26m

Even by Tyler Perry’s modest means of success this one is missing its usual mark. Another title losing 1,100 screens in week #3 it has yet to make it to $30 million, where a $45-50 million is the normal finish for Perry’s titles.