Universal Pictures (Again) Leads Pandemic Weekend Box Office

Universal Pictures continues to drive the domestic weekend box office with a larger slate of new releases than any other studio — including seven of the top eight revenue-generating titles from Dec. 4 to 6.

That’s more than a little ironic, considering that Universal was the first studio to significantly cut the theatrical window on new movie releases in exchange for expedited premium VOD access into consumer homes.

The move, followed by threats of a boycott and then a landmark revenue-sharing deal with theater chains, was the pandemic-related entertainment story of 2020 until Warner Bros. decided to shelve the theatrical window altogether, beginning with Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day and continuing throughout 2021

The DreamWorks Animation sequel The Croods: A New Age, distributed by Universal, again led ticket sales the first weekend of the month, generating an estimated $4.4 million across more than 2,000 screens, according to industry data. The title has generated $20.4 million in revenue domestically ($41 million worldwide) since debuting Nov. 25.

Other titles, included Focus Features’ Half Brothers with $670,000 across 1,369 screens; and Vince Vaughn-starrer Freaky with $450,000 across 1,502 screens, bringing the film to $7.7 million in tickets sold in the U.S., and $12.6 million globally.

Additional Universal/Focus titles included All My Life ($350,000); Come Play ($231,000), the latter generating $11 million globally since launching Oct. 30; Let Him Go ($210,000; $9.6 million worldwide since Nov. 6 debut); and 2018 re-release The Grinch ($59,000; $512 million globally since original debut), starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, rounded out Universal’s top performers.

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101 Studios’ The War With Grandpa was No. 5 with $335,000 in revenue from 1,285 screens. The Robert De Niro comedy has sold $26.1 million in tickets globally since debuting Oct. 9.

The weekend box office totaled $7.2 million, down about 45% from $13.2 million during the previous-week period, Nov. 27-29.

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