8TH UPDATE, 7:30 AM Wednesday: Aquaman had a huge Christmas Day, earning $22M to make it one of six films to gross north of $20M on Christmas after Star Wars pics The Force Awakens ($49.3M), The Last Jedi ($27.4M) and Rogue One ($25.8M), along with Sherlock Holmes ($24.6M), and Avatar ($23M). This takes the James Wan-directed movie to $101M through five days, and with previews $105.7M. Aquaman jumped 102% over its Christmas Eve take of $10.95M.

Note that even with previews, Aquaman still is slightly behind the five-day take of last year’s Justice League ($111.9M), which was one of the low points in the recent DC franchise commercially and critically, ending its domestic run at $229M and WW at $657.9M. However, there’s more optimism in Aquaman given its slightly higher exits of A- to Justice League B+ and the fact that the DC title is in the lucrative year-end post-holiday season. This in addition to the fact that Aquaman has already made 75% of Justice League’s global total to date with half-billion-plus WW. As we reported yesterday, film finance sources believe Aquaman will profit in its theatrical window.

Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns was second yesterday with $11.5M, +89% over Christmas Eve with a running total of $50.2M over its first week, 108% ahead of The Greatest Showman a year ago over the same number of days. Paramount’s Bumblebee saw $8.9M yesterday, +140% from Monday for a five-day total of $34.2M. The industry is estimating that the Transformers spinoff ends its domestic run around $120M.

Sony

Sony’s Holmes & Watson landed fourth on Christmas with $6.4M, however audience gave the Will Ferrell and John. C. Reilly PG-13 comedy a D+. which is lower than Ferrell’s Zoolander 2 (C+) and Land of the Lost (C+). PostTrak was worse with a 1/2 star and a 28% definite recommend. Over six days, Sony is projecting $18M-$20M — which, by the way, would be more than last holiday season’s comedy Father Figures, which tanked with a final gross of $17.5M. We’ll see if Holmes & Watson makes it that far given its audience scores.

We had heard for quite some time that test scores for Holmes & Watson were so bad that Sony tried unloading the movie to Netflix, but the streamer wouldn’t buy it. The Culver City lot kept the movie and opted to do the best that it could do with it, selling down its share on the movie with Mimran Schur Pictures taking a minority stake. Males 25+ showed up at 39%, F25+ 38%, M25- 14% and F25- 9%. Holmes & Watson cost $42M net, per the studio, and if this film has any shot of making its money back, it has to be stateside and in English-speaking territories offshore (maybe Germany), which is where comedy works.

Annapurna Pictures

Annapurna opened Adam McKay’s Vice to $4.77M in seventh place. Despite being a divisive film about former Vice President Dick Cheney, Vice over-indexed in the Northeast and the West Coast, with surprising strength in Dallas, Houston, Austin, Arizona, Kansas City and Indianapolis and other heartland cities. The pic received a C+ CinemaScore, which is a notch ahead of what Oliver Stone’s 2008 G.W. Bush opus W. received from moviegoers. Vice received a better reception on PostTrak, with a 49% definite recommend and 3 1/2 stars. Men showed up at 53% and loved the movie the most (82%); women made up 47% of the audience and but loved it less (60%). Vice was nominated for six Golden Globes including McKay as director and screenwriter, Christian Bale as Cheney in the best actor comedy/musical slot and and best comedy/musical. Vice has a 66% fresh Rotten Tomatoes score.

Elsewhere, MGM’s Creed II finally is pummeling past the $109.7M domestic gross of Creed today. Among other wide entries, STX’s Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy made Second Act made $3M, up 206% from Christmas Eve for a five-day total of $10.55M. Universal/Dreamworks’ bomb Welcome to Marwen made $1.3M, +172% over Monday for an awful five-day of $4.1M for this production that cost between $40M-$50M.

Focus Features’ young Ruth Bader Ginsburg tale On the Basis of Sex had a solid start Christmas Day debut with an estimated $442K at 33 locations.

BOX OFFICE FOR DEC. 21-25

thumb rank film dis. screens (chg) weekend b.o. xmas eve xmas (ranked) total wk
1 Aquaman WB 4,125 $68M $10.95M $22M $105.7M 1
2 Mary Poppins Returns Dis 4,090 $23.5M $6.1M $11.5M $50.2M 1
3 Bumblebee Par 3,550 $21.6M $3.75M $8.9M $34.2M 1
4 Holmes & Watson Sony 2,719 $6.4M $6.4M 1
5 …Spider-Verse Sony 3,813 $16.6M (-53%) $3.3M $5.6M $73.7M 2
6 The Mule WB/Bron 2,656 (+68) $9.5M (-46%) $2.2M $4.9M $42.3M 2
7 Vice ANNP 2,378 $4.77M $4.77M 1
8 Second Act STX 2,607 $6.4M $1M $3M $10.5M 1
9 The Grinch Uni/Ill 2,780 (-900) $8.5M (-27%) $2.3M $2.1M $258.1M 7
10 Ralph Breaks… Dis 2,495 (-866) $4.7M (-49%) $1.2M  $1.7M $165M 5
11 Welcome to Marwen Uni/DW 1,911 $2.3M $490K $1.3M $4.1M 1
12 The Favourite FSL 795 (+354) $2M (-20%) $420K $888K $11.4M 5
13 Mary Queen… Focus 795 (+729) $2.2M (+225%) $395K $878K $4.7M 3
14 Green Book Uni/DW/Part 732 (-483) $1.4M (-49%) $400K $683K $28.6M 6
15 Creed MGM/NL 1,068 (-2,039) $1.5M (-71%) $317K $586K $109.6M 5

7th Update Christmas Day w/chart:  Aquaman is $16.3M away from hitting $100M, and that’s an amount the Warner Bros./DC film could very well achieve by the end of Christmas Day. Warner Bros. reported a Christmas Eve take of $10.95M, -42% from Sunday. Counting all of Aquaman‘s preview cash plus a $68M 3-day, his running total is now at $83.6M. Last year when Christmas fell on a Monday, Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle earned $19.1M.

Christmas Eve is a sluggish day in the holiday stretch and yesterday films in the top 10 dropped an average of 32% from their Sunday take. That said, moviegoing is expected to explode today, followed by hearty days through New Year’s Day next week. Aquaman officially crossed the half billion mark at the worldwide box office yesterday and film finance sources tell Deadline that the $200M production is bound to profit in its theatrical window.

Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns after being in an early blinking contest on Friday and Saturday with Paramount’s Bumblebee remains ahead of the Transformer with $6.1M to $3.75M on Monday. She also had a better hold between Sunday and Monday when compared to Bumblebee, -25% to -39%.

Through six days, Poppins counts a total of $38.4M and through four days Bumblebee is seeing $25.3M.

Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse earned $3.3M down 38% on Monday, for a running total of $68.1M in fourth place.

In 8th place Monday was the weekend’s fourth wide entry, STX’s Second Act which took $1M, -46% for a four-day take of $7.4M. The Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy is set to make $10M-plus by the end of today.

Universal/DreamWorks’ Welcome to Marwen ranked 9th Monday with $490K, -25% from Sunday for a four-day of $2.8M. Yesterday we spoke with sources and did a deep-dive on the Robert Zemeckis-directed fantasy drama and how it’s poised to lose $60M.

Yash Raj’s Bollywood title, Zerofrom director Aanand L. Rai and starring Shah Rukh Khan, earned $1M at 295 locations over FSS. The movie centers around Bauua Singh (Khan), a vertically challenged, arrogant man who is born into a life of privilege. He is challenged to broaden his horizon and find purpose in life.

Sony’s Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly comedy Holmes & Watson opens today at 2,179 theaters while Annapurna’s dramedy Vice about former Vice President Dick Cheney debuts at 2,378. Both are projected to respectively earn $5M and $4M today.

Estimates as of this morning:

BOX OFFICE FOR DEC. 21-24

thumb rank film dis. screens (chg) weekend b.o. xmas eve(ranked) total wk
1 Aquaman WB 4,125 $68M $10.95M $83.6M 1
2 Mary Poppins Returns Dis 4,090 $23.5M $6.1M $38.4M 1
3 Bumblebee Par 3,550 $21.6M $3.75M $25.3M 1
4 …Spider-Verse Sony 3,813 $16.6M (-53%) $3.3M $68.1M 2
5 The Grinch Uni/Ill 2,780 (-900) $8.5M (-27%) $2.3M $255.9M 7
6 The Mule WB/Bron 2,656 (+68) $9.5M (-46%) $2.2M $37.4M 2
7 Ralph Breaks the Internet Dis 2,495 (-866) $4.7M (-49%) $1.2M $163.3M 5
8 Second Act STX 2,607 $6.4M $1M $7.4M 1
9 Welcome to Marwen Uni/DW 1,911 $2.3M $490K  $2.8M 1
10 Bohemian Rhapsody Fox/NR/GK 1,168 (-1,045) $1.9M (-54%) $470K  $185.2M 8
11 The Favourite FSL 790 (+349) $2M
(-20%)
$420K $10.5M 5
12 Green Book Uni/Part/DW 732 (-483) $1.4M (-49%) $400K $27.9M 6
13 Mary Queen… Focus 795 (+729) $2.2M (+225%) $395K $3.9M 3
14 Mortal Engines Uni/MRC 3,103 $1.7M (-76%) $380K $12.4M 2

6th Update Sunday Final w/chart after 7:31AM updateWarner Bros. is calling Aquaman at $67.4M for the three-days, and with Amazon Prime and Wednesday previews, currently stands at $72.1M in the U.S/Canada. Lower than what many were expecting ($70M+) on midday Friday and early Saturday,  but within the industry range that was being projected over three days. As predicted by many, Aquaman was frontloaded on Friday (which included Thursday previews), with Saturday -23%, for $21.5M. Sunday is expected to bring in $17.8M. Monday, because it’s Christmas Eve, will be lower, as business for all pics drops. But rivals think by the 25th, the Jason Momoa muscular hero will thrust himself out of the water to greater cash, possibly even $100M+.

Aquaman
Warner Bros.

Worldwide on this DC film, Warner Bros. is over the moon: Aquaman is at $482M and will hit a half billion by Christmas. The studio was originally going to open Aquaman in October and switched it to December, and they have zero regrets about that. Another thing for Warner Bros. to boast about is that Aquaman made more this weekend than the next three films: Bumblebee, Mary Poppins Returns, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and that shows you where the money is this weekend. Another high for WB is that its awards contender and five Golden Globe nominee A Star Is Born crossed $200M.

In other big news, ComScore reports today that the 2018 domestic box office just beat the 2016 record by a nose: $11.383B to $11.382B.

In the battle for second place, Poppins beats Bumblebee$22.2M to $21M. She had a Saturday of $8.6M, and the VW bug posted $7M. Their five-day rumble between Friday and Christmas will continue with $30M+ a piece.

Beamed Warners Domestic Distribution boss Jeff Goldstein, “Fans love James Wan and Jason Momoa. There’s something special about Jason’s personality that comes across on screen, and James makes an excellent movie, and fans look at him as a marquee director in regards to his canon.”

No doubt, Wan and Momoa have been tubthumping the film in Gal Gadot-fashion on social. Wan continually teased San Diego Comic-Con attendees ahead of Aquaman‘s appearance there. Momoa begin to resonate with fans after he made a Robert Downey-like entrance into Hall H back at SDCC 2017. At the Aquaman premiere two weeks ago, Momoa performed a ceremonial Māori Haka dance, which is typically done at key title events.

A couple of points to consider as grosses are still rolling in: As we mentioned previously, most films were off their estimates, and pre-Christmas activities and travel can easily be blamed for that. The last time Christmas fell on a Tuesday was 2012, and that’s when Warners opened The Hobbit to $84.6M over the Dec. 14-16 weekend. They couldn’t go last weekend with Aquaman because Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was already on the calendar. During the Dec. 21-23, 2012 weekend, Hobbit led all films with a second frame of $36.9M, followed by Jack Reacher with $15.2M. So that gives you an idea of the funkiness to this pre-Christmas period, business-wise. That said, ComScore shows $174.3M in ticket sales this weekend, off 2.1% from a year ago. We have Annapurna’s Vice and Sony’s Holmes and Watson hitting the multiplexes on Tuesday.

Aquaman‘s worth will be proven in the next 14 days, and with its stellar exits, the industry isn’t perceiving this as a Justice League (which opened to $93M and ended around $229). Many predict Aquaman at the end of its US/Canada run to be in the neighborhood of the $300M-plus stateside takes of Batman V. Superman, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman (though maybe not as high as her $400M-plus).

There’s something to be said about brands here opening at the December B.O. Aquaman, by cinema standards, is pretty young any way you cut it when you compare him to the legacy properties of Star Wars, The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings. Also, when Hobbit and Star Wars movies opened in their given weekend, they were largely unopposed by similar fanboy product, and this weekend, Aquaman has Bumblebee and Spider-Verse‘s second weekend chipping away.

Solo: A Star Wars Story
Disney

The mind wonders what would happen if Disney saved Solo: A Star Wars Story for this weekend. Could they have mended fences with those fans ticked off by the Lord/Miller firing? Would the film have performed better? Would competition stay away from it? Solo, too, would have needed to opened on Dec. 14 to avoid this weekend’s holiday glut. One thing is for certain: The lack of a Star Wars film this year only builds up a huge anticipation for J.J. Abrams Episode IX next December.

Aquaman in Imax repped 15% of the weekend’s total ticket receipts, making $10M and besting the large-format bows of Wonder Woman ($9.1M) and Justice League ($9.9M).

“Aquaman uses the Imax full DNA with 92 minutes of the movie created for our format and using the full screen. It truly makes Aquaman an event, and that’s what moviegoers want at Christmas: When a movie comes out, it has to be big,” said Greg Foster,  CEO of Imax Entertainment.

Aquaman played best in the West and Southwest, but was obviously strong across the board. IMAX & PLF together repped 28% of the business, with 3D ringing in at 21%

Walt Disney Studios

There are some who are shocked over the returns on Mary Poppins Returns. Disney and the industry were eyeing around a $30M-plus three-day. But this weekend was never about the sequel to a 54-year old feature musical, but Aquaman, and as we’ve been saying all along, Poppins at $31M through five days is leaps and bounds ahead of last year’s The Greatest Showman by 131%, and that movie finaled at $174.3M. She should easily sail past $200M. Poppins played best on the East Coast and the Midwest. The film played better with adults than kids, which is unusual for a Disney pic, with 84% in the top two boxes, with a 62% recommend for the general audience and kids lower with 77% in the top two boxes with a 60% recommend.

Paramount

Bumblebee had the best PostTrak exits among kids under 12 with 93% positive, beating Aquaman‘s 89% and Poppins. He also beat them among general audiences with 85% positive to Poppins 84% and Aquaman‘s 82%. The VW bug also had great support from Hispanic and African-American crowds, respectively at 25% and 14%. West and Southwest were strong, but this Transformers spin-off pretty much played everywhere. 3D accounted for 16% of business. Paramount is pleased. “There are a lot of movies under the Christmas tree, and Bumblebee is the gift that keeps on giving with an A- CinemaScore and a strong Rotten Tomatoes of 94% certified fresh. Audiences are embracing it and Bumblebee is getting big smiles and cheers,” said Paramount’s President of Domestic Distribution Kyle Davies.

STX’s Jennifer Lopez comedy Second Act is filing a $6.5M three-day. The pic in the long-run after Christmas should be fine for the studio, unlike Universal/DreamWorks’ Welcome to Marwen, which died a horrible death with $2.3M off a $40M-ish production cost at 1,911 screens. Our analysis in the previous post about how this movie adaptation of a feature documentary went sideways.

Cold War
Cold War
Amazon Studios

Annapurna’s If Beale Street Could Talk at five NYC and LA runs boasts the best screen average of the weekend with $22.9k, or $114.9k second weekend, for a 10-day of $428K. Amazon’s Poland foreign film Oscar entry Cold War is seeing $55.7k at three NY/LA locales over FSS, for a per-screen of $18.5k.

 

WEEKEND B.O. FOR dEC. 21-23

thumb rank pic dis scrs(cg) fri sat sun 3day total wk
1 Aquaman WB 4,125 $28M $21.5M $17.8M $67.4M $72.1M 1
2 mary Poppins 2 Dis 4,090 $6.7M $8.6M $6.8M $22.2M $31M 1
3 Bumblebee Par 3,550 $8.5M $7M $5.5M $21M $21M 1
4 …Spider-Verse Sony 3,813 $4.8M $6.2M  $5.6M $16.7M
(-52%)
$64.8M 2
5 The Mule WB 2,656 (+68) $4.2M $3M $2.7M $9.9M (-43%) $35.6M 2
6 The Grinch Uni/Ill 2,780 (-979) $2.3M $3.1M  $2.6M $8.1M (-30%) $253.2M 7
7 Second Act STX 2,607 $2.4M $2.1M  $1.8M $6.5M  $6.5M 1
8 Ralph 2 Dis 2,495 (-1,080) $1.3M $1.8M $1.4M $4.5M (-50%) $162M 5
9 …Marwen Uni/DW 1,911 $909K $805K $644K $2.3M $2.3M 1
10 Mary Queen… Focus 795 (+729) $756K $825K $660K $2.2M (+220%) $3.5M 3
11 The Favourite FSL 790 (+349) $627K $791K $582K $2M (-21%) $10M 5
12 Bohemian Rhapsody Fox 1,168 (-1,045) $512K $738K $600K $1.85M (-57%) $184.6M 8
13 Mortal Engines Uni/MRC 3,103 $522 $651K $553K $1.7M (-77%) $11.9M 2

 

5th UPDATE/WRITETHRU Saturday after Friday night and midday post: This is what a Star Wars-less Christmas weekend at the box office looks like. Industry estimates show Warner Bros.’ Aquaman, after a $27.8M Friday, heading toward a $70M opening. Friday’s figure includes Thursday’s $9M, and the overall cume by Sunday of $74.7M will include the Wednesday and Amazon previews. Pic is still within the tracking range we spotted earlier this week ($65M-$70M) and the question remains how much will Christmas spike the pic. Many were predicting a $120M 5-day, and now it could be lower, though some still see $100M+.

Warner Bros

With yesterday being a travel day, most films were down from their three-day projections, as studios look forward to post-Christmas business, when peak moviegoing explodes. A year ago, Fandango reported that Millennials can see as many as four films over the Christmas-New Year’s Day corridor. Essentially, what analysts are seeing is an Aquaman front-loaded by fans, with an estimated 15% to 20% dip today from Friday, while they’re projecting all other pics in the top 10 to spike over Friday, specifically the family suite of Paramount’s Bumblebee (+5%), Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns (+20%), and Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (+35% or more).

Last year, Christmas day wound up being Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle‘s highest day in its first five, with $19.1M, +112% over the humdrum business of Christmas Eve. Christmas will likely be a day that leaves lots of cash under the tree for this weekend’s wide entries.

Working in Aquaman‘s favor are great exits, with an A- CinemaScore and 4 stars from general audiences on PostTrak; 4 1/2 stars from families with women 25+ swooning over Jason Momoa, with an 84% positive score. Females who were surveyed by CinemaScore repped 45% of the crowd and graded Aquaman an A-. More CinemaScore: Those over 25 repped 58% of the crowd, while those under 18 (21%) gave the fish man a solid ‘A’.

Warners smartly rolled this DC movie out to the point where you could argue that domestic is gravy for this $200M production. Overseas hit $350.7M this morning, and hopefully Aquaman can beat his chest on Christmas that he’s forked a half billion WW. For director James Wan, Aquaman is easily his second- biggest opener in U.S./Canada after Furious 7‘s $147.1M FSS.

While Bumblebee and Poppins were $300K apart in their FSS, per Friday night’s estimates, they’re now $1M apart. Still, some believe it’s still a fight between the two for today.

Paramount’s Bumblebee made more than the Emily Blunt British nanny on Friday night, $8.4M to $6.7M. The yellow VW-robot is eyeing a $22.7M weekend in the range where we saw it, while Poppins is eyeing $21.7M. Frankly, it’s a coin-toss who comes out ahead after five days. Some are betting Poppins beats Bumblebee, $37M+ to $33M+.

Paramount

Audiences, for the most part, seem to agree with critics that Bumblebee is a Transformers pic worth seeing, with the former giving the Travis Knight-directed pic 4 1/2 stars on PostTrak and an A- CinemaScore, with the movie notching the best Rotten Tomatoes score for the weekend of the four wide releases at 94% fresh certified. Among CinemaScore audiences, they still enjoyed the 2007 Transformers (the first)and the third one, Dark Side of the Moon, both with A grades, as the best of the series.

RelishMix noticed how bright Bumblebee was on social media earlier this week, reporting, “The superfans seem to agree that Bumblebee is the Transformers movie they’ve been waiting and yearning for, which means a more authentic look at some of their favorite characters and dosing down of the super-action in previous, Michael Bay-directed chapters. Fans are also happy to see both Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena involved, as both lend their own unique personalities to their roles. And, for those who have already seen it, they are singing the project’s praises, saying true Transformers fans won’t be disappointed.”

Paramount has great Bumblebee marketing partners in Cena and Steinfeld, who together count 80 million social media followers across Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Steinfeld performed the pic’s single Back to Life on NBC’s The Voice last week. Both stars debuted the trailer for the pic at Comic-Con, which actually got some initial buzz among exhibitors at CinemaCon in March.

Updated PostTrak exits are 65% general audience, 35% families. Leading demos are Men under 25 at 29%, men over 25 at 28%, females under 25 at 22%, and females over 25 at 21%. Forty-eight percent of all moviegoers were Caucasian, 24% Hispanic,  12% African American, and 11% Asian. A great 65% definite recommend here for the Transformers spinoff, with men 25+ enjoying it the most at 90%. No surprise there: Setting a movie about a 1980s popular franchise, accentuated with nuances of E.T. and in its own decade, does resonate some wonderful nostalgia.

Walt Disney Studios

Even though Mary Poppins Returns is filing below what we thought was originally a $35M 3-day, remember, she’s a musical and she’ll be singing for weeks to come. Poppins’ Wednesday through Sunday haul of $30.4M is poised to be running as much as 127% ahead of Greatest Showman‘s $13.4M five-day launch a year ago. She has an A- CinemaScore and 4 stars on PostTrak, with females 25+ leading the way at 45% (they love the movie the most at 89% positive), followed by men 25+ at 28% (85% positive). General audiences are making up 67% of the crowd, families 33%. Diversity demos are 67% Caucasian, 16% Hispanic, 7% Asian and 6% African-American.

RelishMix noticed mixed reactions to Poppins in social media chatter, though leaning positive ahead of Wednesday’s opening. “Disney fans are claiming that they were either all-in from the beginning announcement of the project, or as they saw the campaign unfold. In other words, the addition of Emily Blunt as the title character, Lin-Manuel Miranda as her partner-in-crime and musical performance partner, and Meryl Streep as a scene stealing co-star, made a great recipe for family fun over Christmas.  It’s also worth mentioning that the 2D animation is credited with a sizable amount of positive discussion, as in, some fans wish Disney would do more in this format, particularly original projects.”

Meanwhile the naysayers on social, per RelishMix, griped, “‘How many re-makes and sequels is Disney putting out?’ Dumbo is often mentioned as the next iteration of ‘rehashing’ an old Disney property, and Poppins is mixed-in with the feeling that this contingent prefers new, original movies. It’s also worth noting that some moviegoers aren’t buying Blunt and Miranda in the sequel. Others are curious as to why Dick Van Dyke makes an appearance, but Julie Andrews does not.”

That said, RelishMix says, “The Poppins character is a pretty huge, iconic performance, which yielded Julie Andrews an Oscar for best actress. So, stepping into these shoes, particularly so many years after the original film was in theaters, is an immense challenge. To that end, the campaign has done a phenomenal job having Blunt share her experience of playing the Poppins role on the talk show circuit (i.e. Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Late Show).”

RelishMix says that Poppins’ 229.4M social media universe across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube views is ahead of the average live action family musical’s 189M. However, Poppins was behind on key social metrics ahead of its Wednesday debut, with a video viral rate of 21:1, down from the live action family movie’s 38:1 average. Also, average daily new Facebook Fans hover around 1.3K, far short of the typical 7.4K. Finally, the movie is pacing with 8.6K average daily YouTube views for the top clips, shy of the genre’s usual 27.6K views.

ony Pictures Animation

In fourth is Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, with a second Friday of $4.8M, -62% because of last Friday’s previews, and a second weekend between $18M, -49%, for a 10-day take of $66.1M.

Universal is grateful for Illumination’s The Grinch in the wake of Mortal Engines and Welcome to Marwen breaking down. He’s set to make a seventh weekend of $8.8M, -25%, for a running take of $253.8M, just $6.2M shy of the domestic B.O. for Ron Howard’s 2000 live-action version of the green guy.

STXfilms

STX’s Second Act made $2.4M on Friday for a $7.1M weekend. STX supposedly spent around $19M in P&A, with iSpot estimating that the studio’s TV spot spend was around $6.5M — the least of any major studio with a wide entry this weekend. Break-even is $30M, per STX, as they sold off foreign to cover north of 50% of the pic’s production cost. Rivals are screaming that there’s no way P&A could be that low unless it’s for a targeted demo spend, and Second Act had spots on ESPN SportsCenter.  They think P&A is more in the $30M range, with break-even closer to $40M. Still, it’s a thrifty play next to Marwen. 

The studio is crossing their fingers and hoping that a rare romantic comedy in the marketplace, buoyed by a B+ CinemaScore (better than what critics thought at 41% Rotten) will leg this Jennifer Lopez feature out. Women turned out at 70% with the crowd 72% over 25. Caucasians repped 49% on PostTrak, 26% Hispanic, 10% Asian and 9% African-American.

Lopez and Vanessa Hudgens have been working O.T. selling this film, unlike what occurred with STX’s Happytime Murders, where Melissa McCarthy was busy shooting another pic during that puppet comedy’s late August release. JLo has a social media draw of 172M, per RelishMix, and Hudgens around 55M. The pic has a strong social media universe of 300M across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube views, higher than the 62M for the average comedy. Says RelishMix, “Lopez’s social media presence makes up 57% of Second Act’s total reach. So, it’s a good thing that her Instagram feed is loaded with interviews for the movie, not to mention pictures of her photos in an immense pink gown for the premiere – which are being parodied and imitated by fans. Lopez also performed the pic’s song, “Limitless,” on Ellen. The STX TV spot, which features the song, has been earning 500K views a day since its post on Dec. 14.”  Again, STX kept it low, and JLo has been keeping her budgets low for her vehicles lately: her Blumhouse/Universal thriller The Boy Next Door was made for $4M and grossed $35.4M domestic, $52.4M WW.

Universal

Universal/DreamWorks’ Welcome to Marwen wasn’t welcomed at all by moviegoers at 1,911 theaters, with $912K yesterday and a truly lackluster $2.66M over FSS. From a distance, this adaptation, directed and co-written by Robert Zemeckis, of the 2010 documentary Marwencol looked like Forrest Gump in its fantasy drama, an awards season destination. Both the doc and this film follow the true story of Mark Hogancamp (here played by Steve Carell) who was brutally attacked and healed his PTSD through art therapy, constructing miniature WWII scenes of mostly female dolls. Hogancamp’s intent is that these figures would have his back should he ever be attacked again. Hogancamp wound up creating a successful art show out of this project. However, the doc didn’t necessarily translate to screen via Zemeckis’ prism. A cut was shown to the awards media back in November, and they largely rejected it, which unfortunately spells death for a feature such as this. We heard last year that the awards media weren’t wild about Greatest Showman, but that pic rebounded off Hugh Jackman’s star power and a hummable, anthem-fueled soundtrack. Joel Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal rants about Marwen: “Mind-numbingly immense, joylessly violent, and utterly lifeless… You’ve got to see it to believe it, though I wouldn’t advise doing so.” CinemaScore audiences gave Marwen a B-, and PostTrak even lower, with 2 stars and 57% positive, and an awful 37% definite recommend. Females 25+ made up 41% of all moviegoers, followed by M25+ (40%). Marwen cost around $40M and it will no doubt lose money. What’s bad here is that it’s a back-to-back disaster for Uni after Mortal Engines last weekend. However, if you’re going to release a bomb, do it here over Christmas, because it’s probably the only time of the year when a studio will make an 8x multiple or more off a pic’s opening.

Annapurna Pictures

On the specialty side, Annapurna’s If Beale Street Could Talk added one theater, the BAM in NYC, for a total run of five locations, on its way to a second weekend of $112K, -50%, for a per-screen of $22,4K, still the strongest of the weekend. Amazon’s Poland foreign film Oscar entry Cold War is seeing $52K at three NY/LA locales over FSS, for a per-screen of $17,3K.

wEEKEND B.O. FOR DEC. 21-23

thumb rank film dis. screens (chg) fri (% dy) 3-day (-%) total wk
1 Aquaman WB 4,125 $27.8M $70M $74.7M 1
2 Bumblebee Par 3,550 $8.4M $22.7M $22.7M 1
3 Mary Poppins Returns Dis 4,090 $6.7M $21.7M $30.4M 1
4 …Spider-Verse Sony 3,813 $4.8M (-62%) $18M (-49%) $66.1M 2
5 The Mule WB/Bron 2,656 (+68) $2.7M (-53%) $10M (-43%) $35.7M 2
6 The Grinch Uni/Ill 2,780 (-900) $2.4M (-11%) $8.8M (-25%) $253.8M 7
7 Second Act STX 2,607 $2.4M $7.1M $7.1M 1
8 ralph Breaks the Internet Dis 2,495 (-866) $1.3M
(-35%)
$4.8M (-48%) $162.2M 5
9 Welcome to Marwen Uni/DW 1,911 $912K $2.66M   $2.66M 1
10 mary Queen… Focus 795 (+729) $755K (+228%) $2.56M (+266%) $3.8M 3
11 The Favourite FSL 790 (+349) $623K (-26%) $1.9M (-25%) $9.9M 5
12 Bohemian Rhapsody Fox 1,168 (-1045) $513K (-56%) $1.88M (-56%) $184.7M 8
13 Mortal Engines Uni/MRC 3,103 $513K (-82%) $1.8M (-76%) $12.1M 2

2ND UPDATE, Friday 8:31 AM after previous Friday 7:30 AM and Thursday night exclusive with exits demos: Warner Bros and DC’s Aquaman, as we saw it, is coming in with $9 million in previews, and when counting all of its Amazon and Wednesday paid sneaks of $4.7M, that’s $13.7M for the DC oceanic superhero to date stateside. Imax hubs brought in $1.7M of the film’s Thursday night box office haul, or about 19% of its night.

The DC hero’s Thursday is in line with the $9.4M made by Doctor Strange and the $10M earned by Sony’s Venom. Both pics’ Thursdays accounted for roughly 30% of their Friday, which coincidentally were both $32.5M. Doctor Strange wound up with a 3-day total of $85M, while Venom saw $80.2M, so that gives you an idea of Aquaman‘s scales over three days at 4,125 theaters.

Exits were huge per PostTrak, with Aquaman earning 5 stars from kids and parents, who made up 15% of the audience last night, and 4 stars from overall audiences who repped 85%. Biggest draws were in order: Males 25+ (35%), Males 25- (27%), Females 25+ (21%), Females 25- (17%). Diversity demos were 40% Caucasian, 23% Hispanic, 19% African American and 12% Asian. Females over 25 loved Aquaman the most at 85% positive (mmmm, maybe for Jason Momoa?). Definite recommend here is a solid 69%. Again PostTrak polls throughout the weekend, so these demos will adjust.

Bumblebee
Paramount

Paramount is reporting $2.15M for Bumblebee last night and with its $700K December 8 sneaks is at $2.85M to date; Bumblebee and Aquaman had previews starting at 5 PM. Saturday matinees are key as the studio sees this as a family pic. Who would have thought that a Transformers movie would have the best reviews of the weekend? But that’s what Bumblebee can boast at 94% Certified Fresh. The pic will be playing in 2D and 3D this  weekend at 3,550 theaters.

PostTrak saw a bigger share of families turning out for Bumblebee than Aquaman at 36%, with general audiences repping 63%. Four and half stars and 86% and an overall 68% definite recommend indicate  Bumblebee will have plenty of gas into January. The last Transformers movie last year, The Last Knight, ended its domestic run at $130.1M. Prior to that, 2014’s Age of Extinction made $245.4M. Bumblebee on Thursday drew 34% M25+, 30% M25-, 21% F25-, and 15% F25+. Diversity demos were 34% Caucasian, 25% Hispanic, 21% African American and 14% Asian.

Last night, Bumblebee stars Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena teamed the Empire State Building and the Make-A-Wish foundation to light the New York monument in Bumblebee yellow with a blue Make-A-Wish star. Cena has granted 500 wishes to the Make-A-Wish foundation.

Meanwhile, Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns amid the competition of a big fish in the marketplace last night and Bumblebee remains quite very solid, with $4M at 4,090 locations, down 17% from Wednesday, for a two-day take of $8.8M. She led all films in regular release last night. Rotten Tomatoes has stamped Poppins with a 77% Certified Fresh score.

Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse spiked 4% over Wednesday, with an estimated $2.9M for a first-week total of $48.1M. Warner Bros’ The Mule was also steady, off 1% over Wednesday, with $1.76M and a solid first week of $25.7M for this BRON Studios-co-financed $50M production.

STX

STX’s Second Act earned $515,000 last night. Earlier-week projections saw the Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy with $10M+ over five days; STX is seeing $8M over FSS. They’re looking to recoup the $15.7M net production cost and P&A in the long run. Pic, directed by Peter Segal, plays in 2,607 theaters today. Previews last night started at 7 PM.

Universal/DreamWorks also had Robert Zemeckis’ drama Welcome to Marwen in previews last night, and as expected they weren’t very good with $190K at 1,600 theaters. The movie will play in 1,911 theaters. Critics loathe the film at 24% Rotten. After the disaster of last weekend’s Mortal Engines (which made $440K last night, -25%, for a first week of $10.2M), Universal can rely on Illumination’s The Grinch when it comes to any form of green. The beast was +19% over Wednesday with $1.5M and a running total through Week 6 of $245M.

Like we mentioned Thursday, this weekend is just a dress rehearsal to tee these pics off for play after Christmas; Aquaman being the exception because he’s going to drink up most of the water. That said, the holiday season is a game of chutes and ladders, and we’ll have some losers (sorry Marwen).

EXCLUSIVE, Thursday 7:48PM: At this point in time, we’re hearing that Warner Bros./DC’s Aquaman is hooking a Thursday night between $8M-$10M. Meanwhile, Paramount’s Bumblebee is driving to an evening total between $2M-$2.5M. Both pics started showtimes at 5PM looking to capitalize on 15% K-12 schools off today, in addition to 78% colleges on break per ComScore.

Note these are rough estimates that do not come from Warners or Paramount, and these industry projections exclusive to Deadline could fluctuate up or down by sunrise. What happened yesterday with Mary Poppins Returns was that most rivals were projecting a high single digit for the family musical sequel off its mid-afternoon tickets sales which were around $4M. What happened we hear is that by evening showtimes, Poppins didn’t puff up much; it was largely a matinee draw we hear with final PostTrak Wednesday exits showing 44% over 35. “It’s a very weird time of year,” said one box office source tonight about how holiday activities are the absolute monkey wrench when it comes to forecasting ticket sales.

From what we know, Aquaman‘s figure tonight doesn’t include the $2.9M made from last Saturday’s record Amazon Prime sneaks, nor Wednesday night’s paid sneaks. Based on pure Thursday ticket sales, the range for the James Wan-directed pic is in the vicinity of such superhero titles as The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($8.7M Thursday off shows starting at 8PM), Doctor Strange ($9.4M off shows that began at 7PM, repping 29% of its $32.5M opening day, for a FSS of $85M) and Captain America: Winter Soldier ($10.2M, repping 28% of its $36.9M opening day with a FSS of $95M).

The last two live-action DC features Warner Bros. released were last year: Justice League in November and Wonder Woman in June respectively drew $13M and $11M on their Thursday nights.  Justice League‘s Thursday repped 34% of its $38.4M opening day (for a $93.8M opening), while Wonder Woman‘s Thursday previews accounted for less at 29% of its $38.2M; a bulk of its $103.2M opening weekend fueled by women.

Paramount

Two things to remember about this weekend: First, it’s all about Aquaman winning, and mostly all other films opening such as Bumblebee, Mary Poppins Returns and Vice are another selection for moviegoers post Christmas. Second, this weekend at the B.O. is a dress rehearsal for Christmas, because after that point in time, every day is a Saturday.

The record books for previews at the B.O. are short spanning roughly a decade’s time. Most Christmas movies will get their starts on a Wednesday closer to the holiday. What we can say now about Bumblebee —and it’s partly an apples-to-oranges comparison– is that its preview cash projection will likely best that of such previous big pic holiday attempts as Passengers ($1.2M Tuesday preview) and Assassin’s Creed ($1.35M Tuesday preview). You can’t really comp Bumblebee‘s night to other Transformers movies since they launched without any other tentpole threats during their summer weekends.

Universal/DreamWorks’ Welcome to Marwen and STX Entertainment’s Second Act also held previews tonight starting at 7PM. From what we know, they’re extremely low next to Aquaman and Bumblebee since they’re geared toward adults, and for now at this point in time, each is making below $500K.