‘Encanto,’ ‘Ghostbusters’ Repeats to Headline Early December Box Office Lull

With no major studio new releases to open the early December weekend box office, Disney/Pixar Animation’s Encanto and Sony Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Afterlife are projected to lead the domestic box office through Dec. 5.

Encanto, which opened to $40 million, remains a strong family-themed attraction, while Afterlife has shown consistency entering its third weekend with about $91 million in domestic ticket sales, $119 million worldwide.

While the major studios allow existing releases to widen their box office haul, Fathom Events is debuting faith-based Christmas With The Chosen: The Messengers across more than 1,500 screens nationwide. Fathom, which has created a niche market re-releasing classic movies in theaters backed by a live-event promotion, reported $1.5 million in advanced ticket sales for The Chosen.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Other returning weekend box office titles include Lada Gaga in House of Gucci with a projected $7.5 million box office in its second weekend of release, Disney/Marvel Studios’ Eternals ($4.1 million), Sony Pictures’ Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City ($2.7 million), and Paramount Pictures’ Clifford the Big Red Dog with $2.8 million.

‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Busts Box Office Projections With $44 Million Haul

Sony Pictures Entertainment’s bet delaying tentpole theatrical releases until the pandemic waned continues to pay off. The studio’s family sci-fi comedy movie Ghostbusters: Afterlife generated more than $44 million in projected opening weekend ticket sales across more than 4,000 North American screens the weekend of Nov. 19-21. Sony had projected around $30 million in ticket sales. Media reports suggest 3.5 million went to see the movie.

The fourth film in the “Ghostbusters” franchise saw director Jason Reitman continue the storyline of the original 1984 film with a return to a family-themed fantasy starring Paul Rudd and a young ensemble cast (making it the third film in that arc, after 1989’s Ghostbusters II).

The box office tally is slightly below the 2016 remake Ghostbusters: Answer the Call ($46 million), which didn’t have a COVID cloud hanging over it. With Afterlife heading into the Thanksgiving week/weekend, the movie is projected to have strong legs with children out of school for the holiday.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The movie follows Sony’s successful Oct. 1 release of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, which ranks as the year’s No. 2 at the domestic box office with $204 million in revenue.

Separately, a competing new release, Warner Bros. Pictures’ King Richard, a biopic about tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams and their driven father Richard Williams, played by Will Smith, realized about $5.7 million in ticket sales across 3,300 screens. It’s no grand slam, but par for Warner’s $5 million to $10 million projection. The movie is concurrently streaming for no extra charge to subscribers of HBO Max — a release strategy some observers say has undermined Warner’s non-tentpole releases.

Richard was not able to fend off the third week of Disney/Marvel’s Eternals at $10.8 million ($135.8 million North American total) or the second week of  Paramount Pictures’ Clifford the Big Red Dog, ($8.1 million/$33.5 million total).

Weekend Box Office: Is There a ‘Ghostbusters’ Afterlife?

The 2016 theatrical release of Ghostbusters featured an all-female cast, mixed reviews and underwhelming box office.

For the pandemic delayed Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Sony Pictures Entertainment has gone back to the franchise’s roots with director Jason Reitman looking to emulate the family-friendly appeal of his father, Ivan Reitman’s 1984 original Ghostbusters, starring Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver.

While Afterlife reviews have also been mixed, including a 66% Rotten Tomatoes social media score, the movie headlines Paul Rudd, who was just named People magazine’s “Sexist Man Alive,” and a young supporting cast entering the pre-Thanksgiving week when family holiday get-togethers often include a trip to the cineplex.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

When combined with the nostalgia surrounding the franchise, Afterlife should push Disney/Marvel Studios’ Eternals from atop the weekend box office results. Sony, which has only recently returned select tentpole releases (Venom: Let There Be Carnage) to the COVID-era box office, is projecting upwards of $28 million in opening weekend sales.

The conservative estimate falls below the original’s $30 million opener, as well the last film’s $46 million debut, but underscores the ongoing reduced expectations and realities in the current exhibition marketplace.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ King Richard, the biopic about Richard Williams, the tenacious father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, has a strong social media score (92%), popular lead star (Will Smith) and strong crossover appeal beyond sports fans.

The movie is also concurrently streaming for no extra charge to subscribers of HBO Max as part of WarnerMedia’s soon-ending 2021 distribution strategy that some observers contend has undermined the box office of recent Warner releases The Many Saints of NewarkCry Macho and Reminiscent, among others. The movie is projected to open from $5 million to $10 million in ticket sales this weekend, which would put it behind projections for Eternals ($11 million) and Paramount Pictures’ Clifford the Big Red Dog ($9 million) — the latter also streaming for subscribers on Paramount+.

Disney/Marvel’s ‘Eternals’ Expected to Again Lead Weekend Box Office as Disney Day Dawns

Disney/Marvel Studios’ ensemble actioner Eternals is projected to lead the domestic box office in its sophomore weekend release. The latest superhero movie has topped $175 million at the global box office, including $85 million in the U.S., since its Nov. 5 debut.

Eternals is also heading shortly to the subscription streaming service Disney+ as part of Disney’s accelerated theatrical window strategy optimizing select titles across streaming, premium VOD (Premier Access) and the cineplex.

The sci-fi fantasy movie featuring Selma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden and Kit Harington, among others, is merely a prelude to today’s marketing event Disney+ Day (Nov. 12), which features myriad content announcements and companywide specials through Nov. 14 in celebration of the streamer’s two-year anniversary.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

All new Disney+ subscribers get the first month of service for $1.99, followed by the normal $7.99 pricing thereafter.

Disney+ Day includes first-time Disney+ access (outside PVOD) to Jungle Cruise and separately, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — the top-grossing movie at the domestic box office thus far in 2021. Disney+ is also bowing documentary, Marvel Assembled: The Making of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Disney+ will play host two new original series, Marvel’s “Hawkeye” on Nov. 24, and the latest “Star Wars” adventure, “The Book of Boba Fett” on Dec. 29. Over the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, Disney+ will debut of The Beatles: Get Back, Peter Jackson’s highly anticipated three-part documentary.

“Under the Helmet: The Legacy of Boba Fett”

Today, Disney+ debuts Under the Helmet: The Legacy of Boba Fett, and Marvel Studios Legends: Hawkeye, two short films tied to the new series. In addition, there is The Making of Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles, a short film about singer Billie Eilish’s concert movie.

Other Disney+ Day specials include the sixth installment in the “Home Alone” franchise, Home Sweet Home Alone, short films Olaf Presents and Ciao Alberto, from Pixar’s Luca; and Disney Channel original movie Spin, which follows an Indian-American girl with a dream of becoming a DJ. In addition, the streamer is offering Frozen Fever, Paperman, The Ballad of Nessie, Feast, Get a Horse!, The Little Matchgirl, Tick Tock Tale and Tangled Ever After, among other films.

Separately, Disney+ is bowing another season of “The World According to Jeff Goldblum,” in addition to The Simpsons in Plusaversary, featuring the cast throwing a Disney+ Day celebration — without inviting Homer.

CEO Bob Chapek said Disney now expects to significantly increase the previously announced $8 billion to $9 billion in original content spending through 2024.

“In total, we are nearly doubling the amount of original content from our marquee brands, Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, and National Geographic coming to Disney+ in FY ’22, with the majority of our highly anticipated titles arriving July through September,” Chapek said on the fiscal call earlier this week.

‘Eternals’ Tops Weekend Box Office With $71 Million

Marvel Studios’ latest superhero movie, Eternals, topped the domestic weekend box office (through Nov. 7) with $71 million in estimated ticket sales — below expectations ranging from $75 million to $80 million, but among the top five openings in the pandemic era. The Chloe Zhao-directed ensemble surpassed $160 million in global revenue thanks to more than $90 million generated overseas.

Marvel-themed IP continues to resonate with moviegoers despite the pandemic, with Sony Pictures’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($90 million), Disney’s Black Widow ($80 million), and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ($75 million) leading the box office. Universal Pictures’ F9: The Fast Saga ($70 million) rounds out the top five.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures’ box office chart topper Dune sold $7.6 million worth of tickets to bring its domestic total near $84 million; $330 million globally.

MGM’s No Time to Die generated another $6.1 million to up its domestic haul past $143 million and $667 million globally. Daniel Craig’s last run as Agent 007 is expected to release on PVOD Nov. 9.

Let There Be Carnage added $4.4 million in the No. 4 spots to bring its domestic haul near $200 million, while 20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong sold another $3.6 million worth of tickets to up its North American haul near $18 million, $47 million globally.

Will the Weekend Box Office be Eternally Grateful?

Disney/Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest superhero movie, Eternals, got off to a strong start, generating a reported $9.5 million in Thursday (Nov. 4) pre-screenings. The 26th Marvel Studios theatrical release opens nationwide tonight (Nov. 5) across more than 4,000 North American screens, including Imax.

Written and directed by Oscar-winner Chloé Zhao (Nomadland), the ensemble cast release, spearheaded by Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Salma Heyak and Kit Harington, among others, is set to complete a trio of Marvel titles that includes Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and has resonated with moviegoers during the pandemic.

Similarly to Shang-Chi, Eternals will be shown exclusively at theaters, bypassing Premier Access VOD distribution to Disney+ streaming subscribers.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Black Widow generated an impressive $60 million in first-weekend retail sales to go along with an $80 million opening box office. Critics, however, contend PVOD undermined the film’s long-term theatrical business, while lead star Scarlett Johansson sued Disney, claiming the early in-home retail access deprived her a greater percentage of theatrical compensation.

Meanwhile, Eternals has generated the lowest Rotten Tomatoes critics score of any Marvel movie since Thor: The Dark World in 2013. That film, featuring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston and Stellan Skarsgård, went on to open at $85 million domestically and generate $645 million in total worldwide box office.

Eternals is reportedly projected to generate about $75 million this weekend, and won’t have a new tentpole competitor until Sony Pictures’ Ghostbusters: Afterlife on Nov. 19. The other notable new release includes Neon’s Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart.

Ongoing weekend competitors include Warner Bros. Pictures’ Dune, MGM’s No Time to Die, Universal Pictures’ Halloween Kills, Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Searchlight Pictures’ The French Dispatch, and Disney/20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong.

Movies entering their second weekend of release include Searchlight’s Antlers, Focus Features’ Last Night in Soho, and Funimation’s My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission.

‘Dune’ Outmaneuvers Halloween Box Office Sand Trap

With Halloween falling on a Sunday, the domestic box office saw Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures’ sci-fi reboot Dune generate $15.5 million in estimated ticket sales across a sluggish weekend. The tally upped director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s same-titled 1965 novel to $69.4 million in 10 days across North American screens, and $250 million worldwide.

The movie is streaming concurrently for free to HBO Max subscribers in the U.S. Warner and Legendary have already greenlighted a sequel for 2023.

Among new releases, Funimation’s My Hero Academia: World Heroes Mission saw led the small field with $6.5 million in ticket sales across 1,600 screens — underscoring the company’s ongoing success bringing anime content to the big screen. The result topped competitors Last Night in Soho (Focus Features) and Searchlight Pictures’ Antlers with $4.2 million in revenue, respectively. The latter’s Wes Anderson release, The Last Dispatch, generated $2.8 million in revenue across 788 screens.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Among theatrical returnees, Halloween Kills predictably topped all horror films, generating $8.5 million in North American revenue, and upping its domestic gross to $85 million and $115 million worldwide.

MGM’s latest James Bond movie No Time to Die generated $7.8 million in revenue across its fourth North American weekend, upping the total to $133 million, $539 million globally. Sony Pictures’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage added $5.75 million, to up its five-weekend domestic tally to $190 million; $360 million worldwide.

Warner’s ‘Dune’ Poised for Sluggish Second Weekend Box Office Win

After a month of $40 million+ domestic weekend box office movie openings, the Halloween period through Oct. 31 suggests a slowdown of sorts — led by the second weekend screening of Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures’ Dune.

Sony Pictures’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage opened the month with the studio’s first tentpole title release in the pandemic era to an impressive $90 million through Oct. 3. MGM’s latest James Bond actioner, No Time to Die, generated $55 million through Oct. 11, followed by Universal Pictures’ Halloween Kills with $49 million, and Dune at $41 million through Oct. 24.

Director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation Frank Herbert’s same-titled 1965 sci-fi novel is projected to generate another $18.4 million in ticket sales, ahead of Focus Features’ new release Last Night in Soho, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, among others, with a projected $8.3 million in revenue.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Dune again streams for free to HBO Max subscribers for the movie’s first month of release.

Funimation’s My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission is projected to open with $8 million in ticket sales, followed by Disney/Searchlight’s horror pic, Antlers, starring Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons, at $3.6 million, and Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch with $3.1 million.

Former chart toppers No Time to Die ($8.1 million), Halloween Kills ($7.8 million), Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($6 million), The Addams Family 2 ($3.2 million), along with 20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong ($4 million), round out the weekend.

Warner’s ‘Dune’ Opens to $40.1 Million North American Box Office

Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures’ sci-fi reboot Dune generated an estimated $40 million in opening weekend ticket sales across more than 4,100 screens — matching industry and studio projections. Director Denis Villeneuve’s big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s same-named 1965 sci-fi novel generated another $20 million in China to push its global box office earnings past $200 million. More than 22% of Dune moviegoers reportedly frequented Imax screens.

The results aren’t surprising, considering Dune generated more than $5 million in “sneak peak” Oct. 21 screenings, and had generated $130 million internationally ahead of launches in the United States and China.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The results represent a win for WarnerMedia, which is also streaming Dune free to HBO Max subscribers. The box office take tops Warner’s previous opening weekend box office leader Godzilla vs. Kong, which opened to $31.7 million in ticket sales.

WarnerMedia created controversy late last year when it announced its intent to simultaneously stream its entire 2021 theatrical release slate on HBO Max in the hopes of jumpstarting subscriptions and circumventing theaters handicapped by the pandemic.

After a strong start with Wonder Woman 1984 and Godzilla vs. Kong, subsequent releases seemed to underperform due in large part to their availability on HBO Max. As a result, in 2022 all major Warner releases will have a shortened 45-day exclusive theatrical window, while smaller releases will stream concurrently (and exclusively) on Max.

“I’m smiling,” Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros., said in a media statement. “Exhibitors are thrilled. The best part is, fans are loving what they’re seeing. They’re loving the big-screen experience. It’s been a winner of a weekend for movie-lovers.”

Warner’s ‘Dune’ Reboot Eyeing Lofty U.S. Box Office Debut

It’s been 37 years since Universal Pictures launched a big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel Dune — to underwhelming results. Warner Bros. Pictures’ pandemic-delayed reboot hopes to do better, hitting select domestic theaters Oct. 21 in special screenings ($5.1 million), with a North American debut happening today (Oct. 22).

Unlike the 1984 version, which generated less than $31 million in global ticket sales, director Denis Villeneuve’s Dune enters the North American having already generated nearly $130 million in revenue across 24 international markets. The movie is also already streaming free to HBO Max subscribers as part of WarnerMedia’s 2021 concurrent theatrical/streaming release strategy.

Dune brought in an estimated $5.1 million in Thursday previews, compared with $4.9 million for Halloween Kills, which raked in nearly $50 million in its debut weekend. Dune is projected to open in the $30 million to $35 million range, given its simultaneous availability on HBO Max.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

WarnerMedia pushed up the movie’s Max availability date to further jumpstart subscriptions after reporting a loss of Max subs following the service’s exit from the Amazon Channels platform that gives Prime members direct access to third-party SVOD apps.

While social media buzz and reviews surrounding Dune and its ensemble cast (Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, and Zendaya, among others) headlined by Timothée Chalamet have been positive, the fiscal question is whether the film can generate appeal among mainstream moviegoers.

Warner’s top-opening movie in 2021 has been Godzilla vs. Kong, which generated $34.1 million across four days in early April. Dune is projected to generate around $40 million through Oct. 24.

Another new weekend release, 20th Century Studios’ animated Ron’s Gone Wrong, is projected to generate north of $6 million over the weekend. Holdovers, including Universal’s Halloween Kills ($16 million), MGM/United Artists Releasing’s No Time to Die ($12 million) and Sony Pictures’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($9 million) are all expected to do better in ticket sales.