Despite this being the normally lucrative holiday season for the second week it is relatively quiet in the form of major releases. Most studios are leery of putting out something now just ahead of the new Star Wars entry “The Last Jedi”, which will vacuum up all the money in the coming weeks.
On the independent side, however, there is plenty of activity, with numerous titles straining to earn those coveted awards nominations and qualifying for the year-end lists. Any notoriety becomes an instant marketing tool as these low budget titles in limited release strain to build any kind of hype for ticket sales. So with a field of holdovers and rumblings from a number of boutique pictures here are the numbers for the last modest weekend of the year.
1. COCO – $18.3Million
The Pixar hit has been showing good long-term strength. The measurement has been against last year’s Disney’s holiday release “Moana”. It opened about 12% lower than that title but has been closing the gap, now sitting about 7% behind at the same amount of days in release.
2. JUSTICE LEAGUE – $9.59m
More tepid returns for this DC event picture, as it fails to break $10million in just its fourth week of release. Not much more is expected going forward once “Jedi” lands next week. For a comparison, “Thor” drew more on its fifth weekend, and that was not a character-launch, universe expansion title. It may seem off, for some people, to consider a title grossing over $200million is a disappointment, but considering the expectations and expense behind this it is underperforming. At Warner Brothers Jon Berg is out as the head of the comic books division, as a sign of the concern.
3. WONDER – $8.45m
Continues to be an impressive small picture, this drama has crossed the $100million mark, which nobody really saw coming for this smaller budget effort.
4. THE DISASTER ARTIST – $6.43m
Expanding into just 840 screens this title has been getting serious buzz for months. Based on the book about the making of “The Room”, one of the worst films of all time, the Franco brothers seem to have treated the source material expertly. The book by Greg Sestero featured the making of the famous debacle and the man – Tommy Wiseau – who was behind it all. The per-screen average was the highest of any title this weekend.
5. THOR: RAGNAROK – $6.3m
Getting in one last week before The Force rolls in this now pushes the film over $300million. The comparisons to “Justice League” are going to happen and Marvel is coming out looking far better as a result.
6. DADDY’S HOME 2 – $6.0m
This comedy just keeps chugging along, with a slight drop of -20%. Being the only true comedy out helps.
7. MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS – $5.1m
Since the opening it has been inseparable from “Daddy’s Home”, and both films are going to be poised to cross the $100m mark at the same time by next weekend.
8. THE STAR – $3.67m
Quietly operating in the low portion of the chart this one has lingered and is gradually getting into profitability. Oddly it actually added 150 screens in its fourth weekend.
9. LADY BIRD – $3.54m
This small indie film has turned into a hit, and since it is assured to earn a number of nominations in the coming weeks there will be more success ahead. The screen average was #5 for the week.
10. JUST GETTING STARTED – $3.18m
The only true new release this weekend it opened on over 2,100 screens, and nobody went to see it. A cast with Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, and Rene Russo cannot elevate what was a weak script. Scorched by critics you see how bad this performed when compared with “Lady Bird” appearing on 600 fewer screens, and already out for 6 weeks.