December 23, 2018
Among other holiday offerings, 'Welcome to Marwen' wipes out, while Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy 'Second Act' opens in seventh place.
Warner Bros.' Aquaman splashed down at the U.S. Box Office with $67.4 million from 4,125 theaters, easily enough to win the pre-Christmas weekend. Including paid sneaks, the tentpole's early domestic total is $72.1 million.
Box Office: Aquaman Opens to $67M; Mary Poppins Edges Past Bumblebee
The combination of Aquaman, Mary Poppins Returns and Transformers spinoff Bumblebee nearly made up for there being no Star Wars film. Revenue for the weekend was almost on par with the same frame last year, when Star Wars: The Last Jedi ruled. At the same time, all three films came in slightly behind tracking.
There's still plenty of time to make up the difference. Christmas is unlike any other time of year at the box office. The weekend before the holiday can be somewhat slow as consumers focus on holiday preparations. Traffic at the multiplex will pick up in earnest on the afternoon of Dec. 25, and stay at peak levels through New Year
After what looked to be a close race, Disney's musical Mary Poppins Returns flew high enough to beat Paramount's Bumblebee with a weekend gross of $22.2 million from 4,090 theaters for a five-day debut of $31million (the sequel opened Wednesday).
Bumblebee, facing tough competition from Aquaman, followed with $21 million from 3,550 locations.
Aquaman is directed by James Wan and stars Jason Momoa in the titular role alongside Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson and Dolph Lundgren. The male-fueled pic, costing at least $200 million to produce, has now amassed $410.7 million, including another $67.4 million this weekend, for a global total of $482.8 million. The DC superhero tentpole is doing big business in Imax theaters; in the U.S. alone, the premium exhibitor accounted for $10 million.
Mary Poppins Returns hopes to emulate other musicals in terms of enjoying a long run at the box office, such as The Greatest Showman last year.
The follow-up to the classic 1964 film stars Emily Blunt as the iconic nanny, alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emily Mortimer, Ben Whishaw and Angela Lansbury. Dick Van Dyke, who starred opposite Julie Andrews in the original pic, makes a cameo appearance in the film, which cost $130 million to produce. Nearly 20 percent of Friday's audience was under the age of 17, while females made up more than 60 percent of ticket buyers.
Directed by Travis Knight, Bumblebee is an origin story starring Hailee Steinfeld. The $137 million film boasted the best Rotten Tomatoes score — 94 percent — of any film opening nationwide this weekend. At the same time, it was forced to vie with Aquaman for male attention.
Aquaman, Mary Poppins and Bumblebee all received A- CinemaScores.
Sony's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse placed No. 4 in its second weekend, declining 54 percent to an estimated $16.5 million for a 10-day total of $65 million.
Warners and Clint Eastwood's The Mule rounded out the top five in its second outing, dipping 47 percent to $9.3 million for a domestic total of $35 million.
Illumination and Universal's The Grinch remained a strong player in its seventh weekend, coming in No. 6 with $8.2 million for a domestic total of $253.2 million. Overseas, it earned $23.7 million from 62 markets for a global tally of $422.5 million.
STXfilms' holiday romantic comedy Second Act, starring Jennifer Lopez, opened at No. 7 with $6.5 million from 2,602 cinemas, somewhat behind tracking. The film, costing a modest $16 million to make, has been snubbed by many critics and received mediocre exit scores on Comscore. It fared somewhat better in terms of its CinemaScore grade, earning a B+.
The team behind Second Act believes it will pick up once Christmas is over (a common refrain for almost every new film).
Universal and DreamWorks' Welcome to Marwen — the fifth new film of the weekend — got wiped out in its debut, Directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Steve Carell, the dramedy debuted to at terrible $2.4 million from 1,911 locations. Marwen ties with Paramount's Action Point to mark the lowest nationwide opening of the year for major Hollywood studio release.
Marwen comes on the heels of box-office dud Mortal Engines, from Universal and MRC. The big-budget tentpole tumbled 77 percent in its second weekend to $1.7 million for a domestic total of just $11.9 million and global total of $54.3 million. (MRC is a division of Valence Media, which also owns The Hollywood Reporter.)
At the specialty box office, Amazon Studios and Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski's Cold War opened in three theaters for a theater average of $18,575, a solid showing for a foreign-language entry.
In its sophomore outing, Annapurna and Barry Jenkins' If Beale Street Could Talk scored the top location average of any film — $111,902 — from five cinemas.
Among other awards contenders, Focus Features' Mary Queen of Scots rose to No. 10 in its third weekend upon expanding into 795 theaters. The film earned $2.2 million for an early domestic total of $3.5 million.
Another royal drama, The Favourite, also expanded nationwide. The Fox Searchlight release earned $2 million in its fifth weekend from 790 theaters for a domestic total of $10 million.
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