Box Office Wrap Up: Thor Ragnarok Leads Solid Weekend.
While Thor’s grip on the throne was not in doubt, Murder on the Orient and Daddy’s Home 2 had good weekends as well.
This week probably put a lot of studio execs at ease. After a week October and a disastrous summer, there was a real possibility that only Disney would have a happy holiday season. Thor: Ragnarok did indeed enjoy a strong second weekend, making itself the highest earning entry in the franchise after just ten days, it didn’t prevent other films from making impressive debuts. Murder on the Orient Express and Daddy’s Home 2 both had better than expected earnings, and the box office showed signs of strengthening as the holidays approach.
This Week in Box Office History.
This frame was not as impressive for its earnings as it was for the distribution of those earnings. The box office was down 20% versus last week and about the same amount versus last year. The comparison is slightly wonky, though, since Doctor Strange was making its premier this time last year. Thor 3 actually outpaced Doctor Strange’s opening, and we’re left comparing a strong second week to a decent first week in the MCU.
The encouraging news for studios was that the money got shared around much more evenly this weekend. Both second and third place movies managed to earn better than 25 million dollars, which is better than the spread compared to both last week and last year. Looking further down the list, several smaller releases and niche films also had good returns. This may indicate that viewers are coming to the theater for more than just the big Disney tent-pole films.
Top Three Movies.
Thor: Ragnarok took the crown, adding another 57 million dollars to its treasure room. It dropped a touch more than 50%, which is pretty standard for a movie of that size and saturation. It sits at 212 million dollar in domestic earnings, which places it just outside the top ten earning Marvel movies in only its second weekend. Its foreign earnings have been astounding, taking in nearly half a billion dollars.
Second place went to Daddy’s Home 2, which was quite a shock given how absolutely terrible the reviews have been. This film spent the first couple days sitting at a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes and has only risen to about 17% currently. Audiences out for a holiday laugh apparently didn’t care. The returns for DH 2 were just a shade under the original, earning back 30 million dollars against a 69 million dollar budget. It had better hope audiences want seconds, as that is a ridiculously high budget for a comedy.
Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express pulled into station at the third spot, netting 28 million dollars against a 55 million dollar budget. The film has had middling reviews and is performing better abroad than at home. That said, the 28 million dollar finish was better than initial predictions from the studio. I don’t know if we’ll ever cruise down the Nile with Branagh’s version of Poirot, but at least he was able to keep this train ahead of schedule.
There are two bits of bad news: Geostorm and Blade Runner 2049 continue to struggled domestically. Both have made their budget back on foreign ticket sales, but the persistent lack of an audience in the US will probably prevent any future films for either production.
Films with modest budgets continued to clean up, as Jigsaw, Bad Mom’s 2, Boo 2, and Happy Death Day all remained in the top ten. It seems that a budget below 30 million dollars is a safe gamble, even for played out series or unknown properties.
The tenth spot held one more bright light: Lady Bird, and indie film starring Saoirse Ronan, made a strong second week showing. The film managed to climb into the top ten with 1.1 million dollars…despite only showing in 37 theaters! That is a phenomenal take, considering marketing has been mostly quiet on this film.
Top Ten Movies.
1. Thor: Ragnarok (57.0)
2. Daddy’s Home 2 (29.6)
3. Murder on the Orient Express (28.6)
4. A Bad Mom’s Christmas (11.4)
5. Jigsaw (3.4)
6. Tyler Perry’s Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween (2.0)
7. Geostorm (1.6)
8. Blade Runner 2049 (1.4)
9. Happy Death Day (1.2)
10. Lady Bird (1.1)