Things are finally looking better at the box office, though once again, it took a Marvel Studios superhero movie to turn things around, helped by the Veterans Day holiday on Friday.
This Past Weekend
Filmmaker Ryan Coogler went into Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the sequel to his $1.3 billion-grossing superhero blockbuster, Black Panther, without that film’s star, Chadwick Boseman, who tragically died in 2020. Still, he found a way to create a Black Panther movie sans that titular character for a good 65% of its 161-minute runtime.
Disney released Wakanda Forever into 4,396 theaters on Friday with full confidence that it would dominate the box office like its predecessor. Sure enough, it made $28 million in Thursday previews that began at 4pm – only a million less than Thor: Love and Thunder did in Thursday previews in July. That number contributed to the movie’s $84 million opening Friday, which was boosted by Veterans’ Day, and on Sunday, Disney announced that Wakanda Forever had grossed an estimated $180 million in its opening weekend, with $14.2 million of that amount coming from IMAX screens. Wakanda Forever made another $150 million overseas for a global opening weekend of $330 million. (UPDATE: Actual weekend figure for Wakanda Forever is $181 milllion.)
Reactions to the sequel were generally good, with the movie receiving 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the movie also rating an “A” on audience polling site, CinemaScore. (Above the Line’s Isaac Feldberg gave the movie a “D+”, while Below the Line’s J. Don Birnam was more favorable towards it.)
It should come to no surprise that Dwayne Johnson’s own superhero movie, Black Adam, dropped to second place with $8.6 million, down 53% after three weeks at #1. It has grossed $151.1 million, making it the only movie to open since Labor Day (besides Wakanda Forever) to hit that milestone. (UPDATE: Black Adam has grossed closer to $8 million with actual box office reported, that’s down 59% from last weekend.)
Universal Pictures has itself a decent rom-com hit in Julia Roberts and George Clooney’s Ticket to Paradise, which took third place with $6.1 million (down 29%) in its third weekend to bring its domestic cume to $56.5 million. (It’s a shame the studio couldn’t score a similar success with Billy Eichner’s rom-com Bros.)
Sony’s Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile popped back up to fourth place with $3.2 million (-5%), helped by the school holiday on Friday but also the lack of other family films in the market. It has grossed a soft $36.4 million, but it has at least one more weekend to make money before Disney’s Strange World steals that family business over Thanksgiving.
The horror films Smile and Prey for the Devil from Paramount and Lionsgate, respectively, took fifth and sixth place with $2.3 and 2 million. Smile has managed to cross $100 million milestone with $102.7 million in seven weeks, while Prey has stalled out at just under $17 million.
Searchlight Studios continues to do decently with Martin McDonagh’s Banshees of Inisherin, starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. It retained seventh place with $1.7 million, down just 17% from last weekend, and it has grossed $5.8 million with potential for future expansion.
Crunchyroll‘s anime feature, One Piece Film Red, achieved an unenviable milestone by scoring one of the five worst second-weekend drops ever, falling almost 85% to eighth place with $1.4 million. This was similar but worse than this past summer’s Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, which opened in first place but then fell to fifth place in its second weekend.
Once again, the bar for getting into the top ten has fallen below a million dollars, so that U.A. Releasing’s Till, starring Oscar hopeful Danielle Deadwyler, managed to take ninth place with just $620,000, a 66% drop after losing nearly 800 theaters on Friday. It has grossed $8 million, so far.
Universal released Steven Spielberg’s latest, the semi-autobiographical The Fabelmans, into four New York and L.A. theaters. Starring Gabrielle LaBelle, Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, and Judd Hirsch in a scene-stealing role, the movie opened with $160,000 or $40,000 per theater. That’s just a skosh ahead of where Todd Field’s TÁR opened in early October, and that movie hasn’t done that well in nationwide release. In fact, it’s only made $4.5 million while losing over 60% of its theaters on Friday. (For a comparison, Banshees of Inisherin opened with $184,454 in four theaters and has done better in its nationwide expansion.)
|Rank||Entry||Distributor||Revenue||Theater Count||Total Revenue|
|1||Black Panther: Wakanda Forever||Walt Disney||$181,339,761||4,396||$181,339,761|
|2||Black Adam||Warner Bros.||$8,050,473||3,603||$150,573,563|
|3||Ticket to Paradise||Universal||$5,900,900||3,633||$56,313,345|
|4||Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile||Sony Pictures||$3,200,624||2,486||$40,840,233|
|6||Prey for the Devil||Lionsgate||$1,934,749||2,164||$16,885,993|
|7||The Banshees of Inisherin||Searchlight Pictures||$1,650,114||960||$5,734,777|
|8||One Piece Film: Red||Crunchyroll||$1,447,807||2,213||$12,768,073|
Marvel Studios’ Eternals, directed by Chloé Zhao, remained in first place for a second weekend with a 62% drop to $26.9 million, bringing its domestic total $118.1 million.
Paramount launched its holiday family film, Clifford the Big Red Dog, into 3,700 theaters, but it fell short of similar hybrid family films, opening with just $16.6 million or $4,494 per theater.
Third through sixth place were essentially the same as the previous week with everything down a notch, led by Dune in third place with $5.5 million, No Time to Die in fourth with $4.5 million, and Venom: Let There Be Carnage making $3.9 million to take fifth place.
Focus Features released Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical Belfast into 580 theaters, in which it made $1.8 million or $3,068 per theater, which was enough for it to open in eighth place, just ahead of NEON’s Spencer in its second weekend.
Few studios would be foolhardy enough to release a movie against the second weekend of Wakanda Forever, and yet, two studios are doing just that as Searchlight releases the dark comedy, The Menu, and Universal releases Maria Schrader’s She Said, starring Carey Mulligan and Zoey Kazan.
Directed by Mark Mylod (Game of Thrones, Succession), The Menu stars Ralph Fiennes as a reclusive celebrity chef, who invites 12 lucky individuals to his remote island restaurant, Hawthorne, for an exclusive and expensive menu tasting. The guests on this particularly eventful dinner are played by Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, John Leguizamo, Janet McTeer, Reed Birney, Judith Light, and more, while Hong Chau (Downsizing) plays Hawthorn’s humorless hostess, Elsa.
Searchlight is releasing The Menu into roughly 2,800 theaters on Friday, hoping for a strong second place against Wakanda Forever, which should be attainable with the movie’s strong genre elements in a trailer that’s played in front of many of the horror films released in Sept. and Oct.
Opening in closer to 2,000 theaters, the Maria Schrader-directed She Said might be of more interest to industry folks, rather than average moviegoers. It documents the early days of the #MeToo movement and the efforts by New York Times reporters Megan Twohey (Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Kazan) to uncover evidence against Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein.
Fortunately, both movies had world premieres at Sept. festivals, The Menu at TIFF in Toronto and She Said at the New York Film Festival, which means they’ve both been reviewed with The Menu currently at 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and She Said at 82%. The latter feels more like an Oscar contender, if only because it’s a movie about the entertainment industry, while restaurant workers and others should be quite tickled by the dark humor in The Menu.
Expect both movies to open under $10 million, although I’ll give a slight advantage to The Menu to open with around $8 million vs. maybe $4 to 5 million for She Said. (Note: Above the Line will have interviews with both directors sometime this coming week.)
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will remain #1 this coming weekend with somewhere around $80 million or possibly more.
Edward Douglas has been writing about the box office for 21 years at places like ComingSoon.net, The Tracking Board, and many others, but mostly under the banner of “The Weekend Warrior.” He’s also a film critic with bylines at Film Journal, The New York Daily News, Den of Geek, and other places.