Warner Bros. and DC may have finally hit their stride with ‘Wonder Woman’, but as this weekend showed, moviegoers are still slightly leery of the direction the DC Cinematic Universe is headed. This showed in the domestic returns of their latest team feature, which fell short of expectations and debuted under the $100 million mark.
At the same time, this weekend’s feel-good family flick defied expectations and made a big splash ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. No, I’m not referring to the talking animal nativity movie. That headache had a so-so debut and doesn’t stand a chance once ‘Coco’ opens this Wednesday.
The long-awaited ‘Justice League‘ easily took the top spot at the box office, but couldn’t live up to the $110 million expectation that was set leading into the weekend. The first of DC’s Cinematic Universe movies to not open above $100 million, it finished with $96 million. $13 million of that came from Thursday night showings. The new expectation from its theatrical run places it bowing just over $200 million. This should come as a blow to Warner Bros., which reportedly pumped $300 million into the production ($25 million is said to come from Joss Whedon’s reshoots alone), not including marketing costs. However, as we now have it, domestic box office isn’t everything. Tentpoles like this now rely on international ticket sales, which ‘Justice League’ easily found in mass quantities in 65 markets. Playing in nearly all of the big markets, it grossed $185.5 million, for a $281.5 million worldwide opening. Only $470 million to go before it turns a profit.
Considering the popularity of the novel, it should come as no surprise that Stephen Chbosky’s ‘Wonder‘ did well. Defeating the almighty ‘Thor’, it debuted in second place with $27 million, a great number that points to a theatrical run north of $100 million. Produced with a light $20 million budget, this is another hit for the author-turned-filmmaker. Now let’s see if he can get some awards love.
‘Thor: Ragnarok‘ held strong over its second week, but ‘Justice League’ definitely stole some of the God’s thunder. Taking a 62% dip in attendance, ‘Ragnarok’ landed in third place with $21.7 million. The film’s domestic total is up to $247.3 million, while the international total is on the brink of crossing the $500 million mark (currently $490.7 million). The $180 million threequel has made $738 million worldwide so far.
‘Daddy’s Home 2‘ dropped 50% in attendance over its second week, which is rough for the $69 million comedy. With another $14.8 million, its domestic run is up to $50.5 million. The sequel has yet to open overseas.
Following a strong opening last week, Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express‘ fell a similar 52%. The $55 million whodunnit added $13.8 million to its ten-day domestic total, which sits at $51.7 million. Foreign ticket sales are up to $96.5 million, giving the mystery drama a $148.2 million worldwide total.
Sony’s goofy faith-based nativity story ‘The Star‘ debuted at #6 with $10 million, which is $9 million more than I expected to see. The $20 million animated picture has yet to open internationally.
In limited release, ‘Roman J. Israel, Esq.‘ had a so-so opening from four locations. The Sony picture made $65,000 for a per-screen average of $16,250. With a price tag of $22 million, it will need a healthy expansion and international turnout if it’s going to turn a profit.
1. ‘Justice League’ (Warner Bros.) – $96,000,000
2. ‘Wonder’ (Lionsgate) – $27,050,000
3. ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ (Buena Vista) – $21,786,000
4. ‘Daddy’s Home’ (Paramount) – $14,800,000
5. ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ (Fox) – $13,800,000
6. ‘The Star’ (Sony) – $10,000,000
7. ‘A Bad Moms Christmas’ (STX) – $6,890,000
8. ‘Lady Bird’ (A24) – $2,529,915
9. ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ (Fox Searchlight) – $1,115,000
10. ‘Jigsaw’ (Lionsgate) – $1,070,000