In a rush to get in for Oscar contention, new releases flooded theaters.
We’ll break down the yearly numbers in the coming week, but 2019 looks to have gone out strong. Star Wars Rise of Skywalker took a big dip but retained its top spot. Across the top ten, a flurry of new wide releases, national expansions, and limited releases surpassed expectations, giving the number counters something to toast on New Years.
This Week in Box Office History.
Remember how last week we said holidays are a pain for comparisons? Yeah, now add in the extra headache of trying to compare a holiday weekend where some of the weekends you’re comparing fall in two different calendar years.
Ignoring the long holiday weekend, the box office was a down slightly compared to last weekend, about 20%. A lot of this comes from a hefty decline for Episode 9. While it didn’t tank quite as hard as The Last Jedi (a 61% fall in its second week) it did dip 59%, which is pretty significant for a movie of that size and clout.
Compared to last year, the box office grew a modest 6%. We’ll crunch the end of year results to see if the better than excepted debuts for Little Women, Spies in Disguise, and Uncut Gems was enough to close the gap between 2018’s record setting yearly revenue and 2019’s end total.
Top Film One Year Ago: Aquaman.
Top Film Ten Years Ago: Avatar.
Top Three Films.
The mediocre reviews for The Rise of Skywalker may have come back to haunt it. The film fell 59%, taking in 72 million dollars. The long holiday weekend did have the predicted bounce effect, helping Episode 9 close the gap with Episode 8…which also had a big drop in its second weekend.
Jumanji: The Next Level remained in second place. It actually picked up steam, gaining 35% over last weekend. There is just something about the new Jumanji franchise; the last film kept powering along long after you’d expect a minor blockbuster to have petered out.
Frozen II also got some fresh wind in its sails. It gained 30% in revenue, keeping it anchored in the top three for another weekend.
Outside of the repeat offenders in the top three, we start to see all of the new films. Greta Gerwig’s Little Women beat pessimistic studio projections with 16 million dollars for the traditional weekend and a fantastic 30 million dollar holiday weekend.
Spies in Disguise landed at number five, pulling down 13 million for the three day and 22 million for the long weekend.
The Safdie Brothers‘ Uncut Gems jumped up eight spots after its national expansion, taking the seventh spot. It garnered nearly ten million dollars over the three day, making it A24’s biggest 5-day earner. A24 has seen explosive growth for a small production studio, making both awards show gains and monetary strides with films like The Witch, Midsommar, and Moonlight.
Notoriety may have been a boon to Cats, which did not plummet out of the top ten as expected. It managed to land on its feet at number eight, taking in another 5 million dollars. The 17 million dollar domestic total is still well short of the outrageous 95 million dollar budget.
Limited releases for Oscar hopefuls such as 1917, Just Mercy, and Clemency landed outside the top ten. 1917 should make big waves in January when it expands nationally, with a swell of critical praise at its back.
Top Ten Films.
- Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker (72.3)
- Jumanji: The Next Level (35.3)
- Frozen II (16.8)
- Little Women (16.7)
- Spies in Disguise (13.5)
- Knives Out (9.8)
- Uncut Gems (9.5)
- Cats (4.8)
- Bombshell (4.8)
- Richard Jewell (3.0)