Sat. Aug 8th, 2020

Box Office Estimates (Dec. 6-8): 'Playmobil' lands 4th worst opening weekend for a wide release ever

(STX Entertainment)

As mentioned in this weekend’s prediction article, the post-Thanksgiving weekend has become a quiet one at the box office, one for holdovers to hold onto the top spots at the box office while the major studios hold their more promising releases for a release date closer to Christmas. This weekend was no different, although the films that did try to find a niche for themselves this weekend came up exceptionally short.

Before we get to those films, let’s take a look at the top spot, where Frozen II stayed at #1 for a third weekend in a row, making it only the third film this year to hold onto the top spot for so many weekends, after Glass and Avengers: Endgame. The animated juggernaut grossed $34.7 million, a 60% drop from last weekend. That drop was the biggest drop in the top 10, but when you’re making as much money as this film is, that doesn’t matter much. The film is still on track to clear the original Frozen‘s $400 million domestic gross, and by the end of the year should pass Toy Story 4 ($434 million) to become 2019’s highest grossing animated film.

Making up the rest of the top 5 is the same quartet of critically acclaimed non-franchise over-performers from last weekend, which had holds of varying solidness. Knives Out and Queen & Slim held onto the #2 and #4 slots for a second weekend in a row, grossing $14.15 million and $6.5 million respectively. Drops below 50% over the post-Thanksgiving weekend are rare for films in their sophomore weekend, but the drops for best films were the best of any films in the top 10. Also holding onto their #3 and #5 slots were pre-Thanksgiving releases Ford v Ferrari and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, grossing $6.5 million and $5.2 million respectively. Beautiful Day‘s -56% drop might make it difficult to stay in wide release once Christmas hits, but the other three films have held well enough that they should be able to hold onto theaters into the new year, especially is they over-perform during the awards season.

The highest-grossing of our underwhelming new wide releases came in just outside the top 5, as Dark Waters grossed $4.1 million from 2,012 theaters. The film’s distributor, Focus, didn’t date the film for the fall until late August, which read as a possible indication of an awards push. However, the film did not screen at any of the major fall festivals, reviews were positive (92% on Rotten Tomatoes), if not passionate (73 on Metacritic), and the film has failed to show up at any of this week’s early awards. The film will likely be out of most theaters by the time Christmas rolls around, so expect a final total around $11 million.

Arguably the story of the weekend, for all the wrong reasons, was Playmobil: The Movie, which grossed an anemic $670,000 from 2,337 theaters, for a. That is the fourth worst opening weekend of all time for a film released in over 2,000 theaters, “behind” only The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure ($443,901 in 2,160 theaters), Delgo ($511,920 in 2,160), and a 2014 re-release of Saw ($650,051 in 2,063), although Playmobil has a shot at falling below that last gross if its Sunday gross of $210,000 is overestimated. All three films were dropped by all or most of their theaters at the end of their first full week, so expect a similar fate for Playmobil.

In limited release, two platform releases from November hit an underwhelming apex in their runs, while another film had what amounts to a potentially promising preview run. The two November releases, Honey Boy $452,439 in 460 theaters) and Waves ($421,000 in 570 theaters), both entered semi-wide release to unimpressive results, with per-theater-averages below $1,000. Meanwhile, Portrait of a Lady on Fire grossed $67,105 from two theaters for the best per-theater-average of the weekend ($33,553). That is a strong start for a foreign-language film, but after not being selected as France’s Oscar submission for Best International Feature, Neon decided to turn this weekend from an opening weekend to a preview weekend that will qualify the film for other Oscars, before opening properly on February 14, 2020. The move could backfire, but as the above two films show, platforming in December when you are not a Best Picture juggernaut can be a dangerous move.

1. Frozen II – $34.7 million (-60%)
2. Knives Out – $14.15 million (-47%)
3. Ford v Ferrari – $6.5 million (-50%)
4. Queen & Slim – $6.5 million (-45%)
5. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – $5.2 million (-56%)
6. Dark Waters – $4.1 million (EXPANSION)
7. 21 Bridges – $2.9 million (-48%)
8. Playing with Fire – $2 million (-53%)
9. Midway – $1.9 million (-52%)
10. Joker – $1 million (-47%)
Playmobil: The Movie – $670,000 (NEW)

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