AMC Theaters has found a new winning formula: take highly successful artists with concerts that seemed to sell out, or at the very least have ticket prices that no ordinary person could afford, film those concerts and give the artists creative control along with a favorable contract for the theatrical release and bypass the studios to make it a win win for both sides. That formula worked in October when they launched their first film: Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour to a massive $92.8 million domestic on its way to a record shattering domestic haul of $178.2 million ($248.9 million worldwide) and now it has worked again, although not to those same levels as Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé has taken in a reported $21 million, a solid debut, but not enough to take down the first week of December record set by 2003’s The Last Samurai ($24.2 million).
While that number pales in comparison to the massive number taken in by Taylor Swift just a month and a half ago, it falls in line with the concert films released in the last 10-20 years. The good news for Beyoncé is that she looks to have a two week runway as there really isn’t another tent pole-ish movie on the horizon until December 15th when Wonka opens.
Second place belongs to The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes with $14.5 million, which is a solid hold, dropping just 50% of its audience from its surprise victory last week. Despite middle of the road reviews (including a 5/10 from our own Tyler Nichols), the film is seeing some solid word of mouth which is propelling this $100 million budgeted films to a profitable conclusion.
Third place belongs to the original city stomping Kaiju, Godzilla Minus One is seeing a domestic opening weekend of $11 million. The film has already seen record breaking numbers in its native Japan (breaking the live action Imax opening weekend record) and it seems North American audiences have fully embraced the film.
Rounding out the top five is Trolls Band Together with an additional $7.6 million followed by a pair of films seeing larger than normal drops in their sophomore frames. Napoleon is looking to drop 65% this weekend with a second week take of $7.1 million, as audiences just don’t seem to be fully embracing the Ridley Scott directed epic with a 58% audience score. Disney’s Wish saw a very underwhelming debut last week and it doesn’t seem the animated tale is looking to gain any ground this weekend as it drops a horrible 61%, that is a steeper decline than last years bomb Strange World (58%). Sadly, Wish doesn’t seem to have the same hit soundtrack Encanto had just 2 years ago when the hit song We Don’t Talk About Bruno helped that film gain an audience once it hit home video.
Coming in a bit lower on the list are the niche audience films Animal and The Shift ($6 million and $4.3 million respectively). As we continuously say, these Indian Language films (Animal) and Faith based films (The Shift) have their built in audiences that will come out whenever a film is released that caters to them. While these aren’t Sound of Freedom or RRR level numbers, they are solid debuts for films that could easily be lost in the shuffle.
Sadly, the return of John Woo to American theaters with his Christmas adjacent film Silent Night was met with, well… silence, as the dialogue free film could only muster a $3 million debut. You can check out Chris Bumbray’s 7/10 review here.
Rounding out the top ten is the Eli Roth film Thanksgiving that is losing 63% of its audience for a $2.6 million, likely due to its namesake holiday being over. But that doesn’t matter, as the nearly $30 million made by this $15 million budgeted film, is more than enough for a sequel to have been given the go ahead earlier this week.
Did you make it to theaters this weekend or did you stay in and watch Eddie Murphy’s latest Candy Cane Lane? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to take our weekly poll where we ask: What is your Favorite Concert Movie?