The winter holiday session is Hollywood’s second blockbuster season and, with an underperforming year, stretching this schedule to begin on the week after Halloween is just what the industry needs. A comic hero blockbuster is the proper shot in the arm, but the question will be whether this will carry the rest of the schedule for the studios, and can it float things enough to mitigate the drop in numbers for the year.
Marvel has super hero-charged things in its usual and expected fashion, while another adult comedy has fallen prey to that sub-genre struggling mightily in recent years. This early jump on the holiday will be watched to see if it becomes a case of a rising hero lifting all characters, or if studios will continue to struggle to sell tickets as the pattern of the year has been.
1. THOR: RAGNAROK – $121 Million
Coming into this weekend this Marvel title had moved from a probable hit to an all-out guaranteed smash. Early trailers for this sequel actually drew more eyes than that for “Beauty and the Beast”. In a rarity this third installment has opened better than each of the first two entries, and it becomes the seventh Marvel title to debut over $100million. Quality is written all over it and shows things will be in place for a long run in theaters. Critics have this set over 93% on RottenTomatoes, and audiences scored the film with an “A” grade, which is also higher than the first two Thor films. It will become a battle royale in a couple of weeks, when Warner Brothers unleashes “Justice League”.
2. A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS – $17.03m
The trend of late has been brutal for adult comedies. These films have struggled almost uniformly. While not a blazing performance all things considered this is as respectable a return as expected in the shadow of a blockbuster. It will be a struggle for this title to see a profit however as it will need at least $55-60million to break even, which was a mark the same film makers fell short of last year with “Office Christmas Party”.
3. JIGSAW – $6.7m
A steep drop of -61% is not at all shocking given horror titles are first-week events, and Halloween has ebbed interest. Considering this opened lower compared to the rest of the “Saw” franchise this actually could have been a worse number.
4. TYLER PERRY’S BOO2! A MADEA HALLOWEEN – $4.65m
Easing back strongly due to the tie-in theme of last week’s holiday means this is going to struggle making it to $50million, which is lower on the Tyler Perry scale.
5. GEOSTORM – $3.0m
This Gerard Butler disaster film (but I repeat myself) has dropped 600 screens already, and has just crawled over the $25million line. It cost $150million. Like I said – disaster.
6. HAPPY DEATH DAY – $2.81m.
Running out of gore this horror offering has already turned a profit on a meager budget. The companies behind it are happy.
7. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE – $2.26m
The military-themed drama has not generated the needed interest and it is on the verge of falling off the radar entirely.
8. BLADE RUNNER 2049 – $2.23m
This was an expensively divisive release, with plenty of praise but diminished interest. It will be considered one of the bombs of the year, so the only saving grace will be if it develops into a cult hit like the original film.
9. ONLY THE BRAVE – $1.91m
Another heroic-based drama that will be quietly brushed aside in the avalanche of noise.
10. LET THERE BE LIGHT – $1.63m
Kevin Sorbo was the force behind this faith-based title about an atheist having a personal awakening. It expanded its very limited run to just under 650 venues. That said it would be placed #3 based on the strong per-screen average.