Success was foregone, it was just a question of how much damage he could do.
It is nearly becoming a tradition in itself: Disney all but owns the Thanksgiving weekend. Year after year the Mouse House has released one of its animated powerhouses in this holiday slot to big numbers, which carry through to the Christmas frame. This year was right in line with that formula.
To go along with that powerhouse however was a live-action sports drama that also did explosive business. Meanwhile a classic tale of action imploded and is already hanging from the gallows, hoping for an international bailout.. Overall the huge returns meant the top-ten nearly hit $300 million for the 5-day weekend. So let’s find out where things landed historically. (All totals are for Wed.-Sun.)
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET – $84.47 Million
The sequel to the 2012 hit was expected to be a smash, the question was where would it land among the all time Thanksgiving debuts. A very strong Wednesday open meant this would be poised for greatness, and it continued to march past last year’s “Coco”, and then bested “Moana” from two years ago, to land as the second highest Bird Day debut. “Frozen still holds with a $93.5 open. The debut stands nearly as a 70% improvement over the opening for the original, which went on to make $190 million domestically. Strong critical numbers and high audience scores means there is broad support to carry this along, and considering “Wreck It Ralph” did better than a 3X multiple it is not unreasonable to suggest this could get close to a $250 million total run.
2. CREED 2 – $55.8m
Another sequel doing massively well, this return is good enough to place it as the seventh best Thanksgiving open, and the highest live-action title. This makes for just the second title on that top-ten not a Disney release. The original “Creed” opened this weekend as well to big numbers, netting $42 million, but did not carryover as much business, earning just over $100 million.
3. FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD – $42.9m
A respectable hold of -53% is a decent return in light of the massive competition. Crossing over $100 million by now it has really been a smash overseas. The foreign box office has already earned another $300 million. The original drew a worldwide total over $800 million, and this sequel is halfway to that plateau.
4. THE GRINCH – $42.0m
A rather remarkably strong third week against a busy release field. The animated retelling of the Seuss classic will have crossed $200 million later this week. The per-screen average was actually better than “Beasts”.
5. BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY – $19.3m
A month in release has this poised still in the top-5, earning $150 million so far. It is also strong overseas, with a global take at $420 million.
6. INSTANT FAMILY – $17.4m
Easily possible to get lost in the stampede of titles this feel-good Mark Wahlberg effort has done decently well for itself. The Paramount release was not expected to do much business but has quietly taken in $35 million after two weekends.
7. ROBIN HOOD – $14.2m
A surefire disaster when an established story cannot draw any significant numbers on a holiday weekend. Looking like it is faring as well as last summer’s “King Arthur” bomb, Lionsgate attempted to modernize the classic tale with Taron Egerton (“The Kingsmen”) in the title role, but with a $100 million budget this is a doomed affair. The studio will be hoping for an international bailout now.
8. WIDOWS – $10.3M
The all female drama has earned critical high marks and is angling for possible awards recognition.
9. THE GREEN BOOK – $7.6m
Expanding into 1,000 more screens this weekend Universal is positioning this Oscar-bait title for a typical awards run. A winner at the Toronto Film Festival the studio took a bit of a chance opening it so big on the weekend, instead of the more gradual expansion usually seen for independent awards hopefuls.
10. A STAR IS BORN – $4.0m
Two solid months in the top-ten is a genuine hit. More should follow when the Golden Globes nominations are announced on Dec. 6.