This weekend was a relatively slow one with Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron landing in first place with $12.8 million. While that number may seem a little low for a first place finish, it is actually quite the feat as it becomes GKIDS (American distributor of Indie Animation titles) and Studio Ghibli’s (Japan Animation Studio) highest domestic opening of all time. The film also becomes Academy Award Winner Miyazaki’s highest domestic opening of all time while only about $5 million away from becoming his highest grossing domestic release of all time (a title currently held by 2008’s Ponyo with $15.7 million)
The story of The Hunger Games; The Battle of Songbirds and Snakes is an interesting one. The movie was released three weeks ago where it came in under predictions with just a $44.6 million domestic debut. The following week, Thanksgiving week, the movie was expected to have a pretty large drop off considering there were new releases from Disney and Ridley Scott entering the marketplace, but to the shock of everyone, this prequel came in first place with a very healthy $29 million ($42.2 for the entire 5-day Thanksgiving weekend). Since then the film has posted small week to week drops with this weekend coming in at $9.4 million, or just a 34% drop. Worldwide, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is seeing a very lucrative $279 million off just a $100 million budget.
Third place belongs to Godzilla Minus One with a solid decline of just 27% and a second weekend domestic take of $8.3 million while becoming the highest grossing live action Japanese film of all time at the domestic box office with a running total of $25.3 million.
Posting another solid hold is Trolls Band Together with a drop of just 21% and a weekend take of $6.2 million. This is another film that had a bit of a softer than anticipated opening and was expected to drop hard in the wake of a new Disney movie, but it seems audiences have spoken and decided that Disney’s Wish just isn’t worth the money while this Anna Kendrick/ Justin Timberlake threequel is.
Coming in fifth is Disney’s Wish with $5.3 million. For Disney, we now have a streak emerging as their last two Thanksgiving releases have been absolute bombs (last year’s Strange World only managed $73 million worldwide off a reported $180 million budget while Wish currently sits at $85 million worldwide off a $200 million budget). With no Disney release currently on the schedule for next Thanksgiving, Disney may have realized they no longer own the holiday the way they did in the days of Frozen (of course when Frozen 3 comes out, I’m sure it will restore the mouse house to the top of the charts.)
Now for the bad news (or good news if you are a cynic), just about two months ago AMC got into the distribution game by releasing a theatrical version of Taylor Swift’s: The Eras Tour. That release saw summer blockbuster level numbers in its debut with over $92 million in its first week. People wondered if the concert film was front loaded, but despite a second week drop of 64.2%, it still saw a solid second week take of $33.2 million before finishing its domestic run with a little under $179 million, making it the highest grossing domestic concert film of all time. At the time, AMC saw another concert tour that was raking in big bucks and decided to make a film of that tour for the masses.
Last week saw the release of Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé which opened to an okay $21.8 million. That opening made it the second highest grossing opening for the first weekend of December, a feat many (even us) made sure to put a positive spin on. But the truth is, that was a steep decline from the Taylor Swift release and meant that only die hard Beyoncé fans were going. Well, this week we see just how bad things are for this film as it dropped a massive 77% with a $5 million weekend take, a far bigger drop than we anticipated in our Thursday predictions. That number shows that nearly everyone who wanted to see the movie, did so last week. The release strategy AMC employed for these concert films was a curious one. They charged a premium price for these tickets and didn’t allow any of their AMC A-List members to use one of their spots to see the film. It also only played on weekends with no weekday showings, as they tried to make these movies an event. That may have worked for Taylor Swift, but not so much for Beyoncé.
Coming in seventh place is Ridley Scott’s Napoleon with $4.2 million followed by the Bleecker Street/ Fathom events release of Waitress: The Musical with $3.2 million. The film is a live recording of the hit Broadway play of the same name that is based off the 2007 film directed by the gone too soon Adrienne Shelly. While the top ten is rounded out by the Indian language Animal with $2.2 million and the faith based film The Shift which is seeing a second week decline of just 50% with a $2.1 million take.
Ouside the top ten is the limited release (9 screens) of Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things, the R rated take on Frankenstein’s monster starring a sure to be Oscar Nominated Emma Stone saw a weekend take of around $644,000, which equates to about $72,000 per screen. A very solid number for a film that has garnered some strong reviews (including a 9/10 from our own Chris Bumbray) and an 88% audience score. While this film may not have true mainstream appeal, you can expect it to play decently throughout awards season as it is expected to feature prominently.
Did you make it to theaters this weekend or are you saving your theater going experiences for the big holiday releases such as Wonka, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, The Color Purple and Ferrari? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to take our weekly poll where this week we ask: What Was the Worst Movie of 2023? (The answer is Skinamarink, that was the worst movie of 2023!)