Sunday AM 4th update/writethru after Saturday and Friday updates: Refresh for updated chart After a nail-biting face-off between Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet and Universal/Ilumination’s The Grinch for No. 1 in the slowest of slowest weekends, Ralph won No. 1 by a distance, $16.1M to $15.1M. Essentially, Ralph 2 had the better Saturday over Grinch, with roughly $7.8M to $7.1M.  Similar to Thanksgiving openers before it, Moana and Coco, Ralph 2 notches a three-weekend No. 1 streak. Rivals believe that Ralph 2 will come in around $16.4M.

An interesting piece of B.O. trivia here is that it will rep the first time in box office history that two animated films have ruled the top two spots at the weekend B.O. for two weekends in a row. All previous instances where two feature toons shared the top two spots (i.e. Brave and Madagascar 3 in June 22-24, 2012; Beowulf and Bee Movie in Nov. 16-18, 2007; The Incredibles and Polar Express during Nov. 12-14, 2004 and A Bug’s Life and Rugrats Movie over Nov. 27-29, 1998) were only confined to one weekend, and never extended into a second.

Ralph 2‘s running total by today is poised to be around $141M, which would be 4% ahead of Coco at the same point in time (final domestic was $209.7M), and 2% behind Moana (final stateside $248.7M). This puts the Disney sequel’s final domestic tally between $215M-$240M, and at the rate that Grinch is going, industry projections figure the Green Guy could beat the Big Lug, with a final between $245M-$250M.

Sony

We’ll have three animated features in the top ten next weekend when Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse arrives with a projected opening of $35M+, the first of many event pics to ring in the year-end holiday season. The movie arrives already an awards contender, with a Golden Globe animated film nomination and NY Film Critics Circle win for Best Animated Film, and a 99% fresh on RT to top it off. The studio held paid sneaks on Friday night at 7PM and on Saturday at 2PM and we hear there was a terrific audience response, with multiple sellouts in various locations.

Aquaman
Warner Bros.

Warner Bros./DC’s Aquaman doesn’t hold sneaks until Dec. 15 stateside, but it’s already playing in China, and executives on the Burbank lot are so excited by the near $94M results, they’re doing water follies. Aquaman dominated 85% of the Middle Kingdom’s weekend business and drew $14M at 559 Imax venues, making it the best WB large-format debut ever in the market.

Paramount

Paramount’s Bumblebee also held paid 7PM sneaks last night at 325 theaters. We hear that seats began to sell out as the night drew near. Given the amount of theaters that Bumblebee was playing, its sneak B.O. is not at the $1M-plus level, as Sony’s Amazon-promoted launches of Jumanji 2 ($1.86M) and Hotel Transylvania 3 ($1.3M), only because those titles previewed at 1,000-plus major circuit theaters. Bumblebee holds its Hollywood premiere tonight. 15 reviews –five of them from top critics–are providing a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score at this minute.

Meanwhile, MGM/New Line’s Creed II had a great Saturday night of $4.7M, +65%, giving the Rocky spin-off a double-digit third weekend of $10.3M (-38%), for a running total by EOD of $96.4M, pacing 22% ahead of Creed at the same point in its B.O. cycle (final domestic was $109.7M). New York continues to be a really strong market for the sequel as well, as does Atlanta and Chicago. Burbank, CA AMC was also a standout theater as well here in the west.

Sony

Again, there’s zero wide entries this weekend, as studios prefer to blow their P&A closer to Christmas, when there’s a greater chance of moviegoers attending. Holiday activities are currently stealing moviegoers away, and it’s not worth the investment to introduce anything new. We were in a slightly similar situation last weekend, with Screen Gem’s The Possession of Hannah Grace in play at 2,065 locations. In its second outing, the horror movie is earning an estimated $3.1M in 9th place, -51%, which is great for a horror film, as they tend to sink on average -60% in weekend two. This despite the fact that audiences aren’t enjoying the movie, with a 36% overall positive and an awful 24% definite recommend. Males over 25 rep a third of ticket buyers, with Females under 25 behind with 26%. Again, the $6M pic was a small play for Sony, profit-wise, and it will be making north of $11M by EOD.

Interestingly enough, last weekend wasn’t the lowest-grossing one for 2018, with total ticket sales per ComScore of $118.2M. YTD, the weekend B.O. low water mark belongs to the third weekend of September, 21-23, which totaled $92.1M. Still, in what is shaping up to be a record year at the domestic box office with north of $11.4 billion, that wasn’t a bad low, when you consider that four weekends in 2017 made less than $90M each, with the penultimate weekend of summer, Aug. 25-27, bottoming out with $69.3M.

Distributors with potential awards contenders took advantage of this weekend’s slowdown and either launched new titles in New York and Los Angeles, or widened a title in response to its recent Golden Globes nominations.

Universal Pictures

Of the holdovers, Universal/Participant Media/DreamWorks’ Green Book had a great hold of 0%, fueled by five Golden Globe noms and an additional 116 theaters (for a total of 1,181), in weekend 4, with an estimated $3.9M in 7th and a running total that’s very close to $20M. Last weekend rivals were saying that the film wasn’t doing great everywhere, but c’mon, it’s very obvious word of mouth is working here. It’s the only movie at the weekend B.O. to be even with its results last weekend! What studio doesn’t want that kind of weekend hold?

Warner Bros.’ A Star Is Born, which also counts five noms for Best Drama, Best Actress Drama Lady Gaga, Best Actor Drama Bradley Cooper, Best Director Cooper (it’s the first time since Kevin Costner’s 1990 western Dances With Wolves that a director/actor/best picture trifecta has been nominated at the Globes), and the original song “Shallow” is seeing a 38% surge thanks to its Imax runs, for a 10th weekend of $2.5M in 11th and a running total of $197.1M. Imax runs made $800K, or 32% of the weekend’s business.

Atsushi Nishijima

Fox Searchlight’s expansion of Yorgos Lanthimos’ period comedy The Favourite from 34 to 91 locations off five Golden Globe noms for Best Comedy, Best Actress Olivia Colman, two Best Supporting Actresses with Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone and Best Screenplay and drew $1.43M in 12th, which is very good when you consider other female-skewing platform comps with similar weekend locations: The Theory of Everything earned $1.5M at 140 theaters in its weekend 3, and Wild did $1.5M at 116 locations in weekend 2 and The Shape of Water in weekend 3 at 158 theaters made $1.7M.

CBS Films’ At Eternity’s Gate starring Willem Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh, which recently notched the actor his third Golden Globe nomination, jumped from 48 sites to 174 in its fourth weekend grossing $310K (+66%) for a running total of $1M. The movie, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, is 82% certified fresh on RT.

Liam Daniel / Focus Features

Of the prolific frosh specialty fare, Focus Features’ Mary Queen of Scots is doing the best, with $200K at four NY/LA locations and a great screen average of $50K — and that’s without any Golden Globe noms. At Thanksgiving last year, the label launched The Darkest Hour, warmed by Gary Oldman’s sublime turn as Winston Churchill, which debuted to $175K and a $43.7K screen average. That movie rode Oldman’s awards momentum all the way to $56.4M at the domestic B.O., which turned out to be Joe Wright’s highest-grossing pic in U.S/Canada. Mary has a low Rotten Tomatoes score of 68% fresh, and if it doesn’t earn any kudos, it may not see the same B.O. fate as Darkest Hour. TBD.

Neon

NEON is reporting their dark drama Vox Lux, which stars Oscar winner Natalie Portman as a school shooting survivor turned pop star, with an opening screen average of $27K at 6 locations, or $162,2K. Portman’s Jackie, another dark tale about JFK’s widowed First Lady, posted a $55.7K opening screen average, or $278K at five theaters. 2010’s Black Swan, which Portman won an Oscar for, remains her top opening platform screen average at $80,2K from 18 theaters or $1.4M. Vox Lux also has a low RT score of 66% fresh.

Ben Is Back
Roadside Attractions

Roadside Attractions’ Ben Is Back, starring Lucas Hedges and Julia Roberts, about a drug-addicted teenager who shows up at his family’s home on Christmas Eve, made $80,9K at four NY/LA sites, for a per- screen of $20,2K, which is not good when you consider that the opening per-screen for Hedges’ Manchester by the Sea was $64K at 4 theaters, Roberts’ August: Osage County was $35.8K at 5, and Amazon’s recent Beautiful Boy (another tale of teenage drug addiction that earned Timothee Chalamet a Supporting Actor Golden Globe nom) opened to a $54,7K average at four sites. Ben Is Back has an 85% certified fresh RT score. However, to be solid at this season, these arthouse pics have to be around at least a $50K opening screen average.

Universal

Universal also has the 25th anniversary re-release of Oscar winner Schindler’s List at 1,029 theaters, and it only grossed $551K. That’s not spectacular for a re-release, but we have to consider the fact that it’s a serious drama, and it’s typically the blockbusters or the dashing epics (like Lawrence of Arabia) that receive a polished major studio re-release. No real comps here. Steven Spielberg’s 40th Anniversary re-release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind made $1.7M over the 2017 Labor Day three-day at 901 locations, which was also timed to a DVD re-release. Men over 25 at 42% and Women over 25 at 32% were the biggest draws here, but the re-release is only getting a 63% overall positive. The original movie, when it was released, earned an A+ CinemaScore.

WEEKEND B.O. FOR dEC. 7-9

thumb rank pic dis scrs(cg) fri sat sun 3day total wk
1 Ralph Breaks… Dis 3,795 (-222) $3.5M $7.8M $4.8M $16.1M (-37%) $140.8M 3
2 The Grinch Uni/Ill 3,841 (-93) $3.3M $7.1M $4.7M $15.1M (-15%) $223.4M 5
3 Creed II MGM/NL 3,572 (+176) $2.8M $4.6M $2.8M $10.3M (-38%) $96.4M 3
4 fantastic Beasts 2 WB 3,541 (-400) $1.7M $3.1M  $1.8M $6.8M
(-40%)
$145.2M 4
5 Bohemian Rhapsody Fox/NR/GK 2,953 (-54) $1.6M $2.8M $1.6M $6M
(-25%)
$173.5M 6
6 Instant Family Par 3,426 (+50) $1.5M $2.6M  $1.4M $5.6M (-22%) $54.1M 4
7 Green Book Uni/Part/DW 1,181 (+116) $1.1M $1.7M  $1.1M $3.9M (0%) $19.9M 4
8 Robin Hood LG 2,573 (-254) $959K $1.5M $1M $3.5M (-25%) $27.2M 3
9 …Hannah Grace Sony 2,298 (+233) $945K $1.3M $850K $3.18M
(-50%)
$11.5M 2
10 widows Fox/NR 2,161 (-232) $905K $1.4M $795K $3.1M (-30%) $38.1M 4
11 A Star Is Born WB 1,631 (+550) $680K $1.1M $730K $2.5M (+38%) $197.1M 10
12 The Favourite FSL 91 (+57) $458K $590K $382K $1.43M (+33%) $3.5M 3