Tue. Jan 21st, 2020

Box Office Analysis (Jan. 3-5): Holdovers dominate as ‘Grudge’ flops

For the third weekend in a row, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Jumanji: The Next Level were dominant as the top 2 movies at the weekend box office as the holiday season drew to a close. Rise of Skywalker grossed $33.7 million, a 53% decline from last weekend’s gross. That was easily the steepest drop of any wide release in the top 10, but while the film is likely to continue with large drops through the rest of January, the film should still be safe for a final total of over $500 million, a total that, while below pre-release expectations, is still a profitable number for Disney. The Next Level came in second with $26.5 million, a -25% drop from last weekend that is also equal to its weekend gross from two weekends ago. With a $236.2 million total, the film is locked for a $300 million total, and if the film legs it out through January even half as well as its predecessor, it could pass Joker ($333.5 million) as the year’s 9th highest grosser domestically, and the year’s biggest film with zero Disney involvement.

Moving up from fourth place last weekend to third place was another Sony film, Little Women, which dropped a mere 19% in its sophomore weekend to $13.6 million, for a 12-day total of $60 million. Any Christmas opener that can gross ten times its opening day gross can usually be considered a leggy success, and Little Women, which had a $6.4 million opening day, will be pulling off that feat by the start of its third week of release. Last weekend a $100+ million total seemed reliant on a strong Oscar nomination haul, but with this hold the film should easily pass that mark regardless how well it does next Monday morning with AMPAS. When it passes the mark, it will be 2019’s fourth film with a credited female director to gross over $100 million, after Frozen IICaptain Marvel, and Hustlers.

The weekend’s sole new release, The Grudge, opened in 4th place to a disappointing $11.3 million. The start of January has become a potent launching ground for cheap horror, and the first two American Grudge films were sizable grossers, with the first entry opening to $39.1 million in October 2004 and the second film opening to $20.8 million. But that weekend gross for The Grudge is the lowest opening for an early January horror film since Season of the Witch opened to $10.6 million at the top of 2011. Combine this weak start with an F Cinemascore, only the second such score in the last five years after mother! in 2017, and the film will be lucky to reach a $20 million final total, but with only a $10 million budget it won’t be much lost for studio Sony other than another potential franchise cow.

In fifth and sixth place were the two animated holiday releases from Buena Vista, Frozen II and Spies in Disguise, grossing $11.3 million and $10.1 million respectively for the weekend. Seventh through ninth place were occupied by three awards hopefuls pulling in the best holds for the weekend. Knives Out dropped an astonishing 9% from last weekend to a $9 million weekend gross, bringing it to a $130 million total. It should soon pass La La Land‘s $151 million total to become the third biggest non-Hunger Games/Twilight movie in Lionsgate’s history, behind only John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. In eighth, Uncut Gems defied mixed word-of-mouth to drop only 18% to $7.8 million for a $36.8 million total, or what Adam Sandler’s last R-rated theatrical release, That’s My Boy, made in its entire run. The darkly comic thriller is now locked to become A24’s first $50 million grosser and its biggest domestic hit ever. In ninth, Bombshell had a strong 15% drop from last weekend to $4.1 million for a $24.6 million total. $35+ million is still in the cards if Charlize Theron or Margot Robbie can pull off surprise wins tonight at the Golden Globes.

Speaking of the Globes, three-time nominee Parasite increased its theater count for the first time in two months, and saw not just its best weekend gross in over a month ($888,122), but its best per-theater-average ($4,001) since the beginning of November. the film now stands at a $23.9 million total, and if it wins big tonight, expect another theater increase next weekend, and a second wind that could push its total to over $30 million before its DVD release on January 28. Another three-time Golden Globe nominee, 1917, had the best per-theater-average of any film ($53,636) for the second weekend in a row, actually increasing 2% from last weekend to a $590,000 weekend gross without the addition of any new theaters. It’s a promising sign for its expansion next weekend, when it opens in over 3,200 theaters and angles itself for the #1 slot.

1. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – $33.7 million (-53%)
2. Jumanji: The Next Level – $26.5 million (-25%)
3. Little Women – $13.6 million (-19%)
4. The Grudge – $11.3 million (NEW)
5. Frozen II – $11.3 million (-33%)
6. Spies in Disguise – $10.1 million (-24%)
7. Knives Out – $9 million (-9%)
8. Uncut Gems – $7.8 million (-18%)
9. Bombshell – $4.1 million (-15%)
10. Cats – $2.6 million (-46%)

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