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The feast at the 2018 box office continued over the Thanksgiving holiday as a pair of sequels — Ralph Breaks the Internet and Creed II — powered record holiday revenue in North America.
Ralph Breaks the Internet topped the Wednesday-Sunday chart with a hefty $84.5 million from 4,017 theaters, the second-best opening of all time for the five-day corridor behind fellow Disney Animation Studios’ 2013 blockbuster Frozen ($93.6 million), not adjusted for inflation. That includes $55.7 million for the weekend proper.
MGM’s Creed II took to the ring with a potent five-day opening of $55.8 million from 3,441 locations, the top Thanksgiving debut ever for a live-action film. (The 2008 rom-com Four Christmases was the previous champ with $46.1 million.) Fueled by a diverse audience, the boxing drama further cements the revival of the Rocky franchise, as well as Michael B. Jordan’s star power. Creed II‘s three-day gross was $35.3 million.
Total ticket sales for the Wednesday-Sunday holiday corridor hit $314 million, eclipsing the record set in 2013 with $295 million, according to Comscore. At this rate, 2018 domestic box office revenue is almost certain to set a new record.
Disney’s animation empire has become synonymous with Thanksgiving: Last year, Pixar’s Coco collected $72.9 million, and Disney Animation’s Moana took in $82.1 million in 2016. Overall, however, the five-day holiday crown still belongs to Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: The Catching Fire (2013), which grossed $109 million over the five-day corridor after debuting the weekend before Thanksgiving in 2013.
Ralph Breaks the Internet‘s tally compares to a $49 million debut for the original Wreck-It Ralph over the Nov. 2-4 weekend in 2012. The critically acclaimed follow-up sees John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman returning to lead the voice cast, while newcomers include Gal Gadot and Taraji P. Henson. The family film, directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston, received an A- CinemaScore and favorable reviews. Families made up 76 percent of ticket buyers.
“The filmmakers dove back into a world that is relevant to everyone and created new obstacles for the characters,” said Disney distribution president Cathleen Taff.
Overseas, Ralph Breaks the Internet opened in its first 18 markets — only three were major: China, Mexico and Russia — for an early foreign total of $41.5 million and $126 million globally. The pic topped the chart in China with $19.5 million.
Creed II opened well ahead of Ryan Coogler’s Creed, which took in $42 million over the five-day Thanksgiving frame in 2015. MGM once again partnered with New Line on the sequel, although this time, MGM handled distribution.
The well-received follow-up features stars Tessa Thompson and Sylvester Stallone returning alongside Jordan, with Steven Caple Jr. directing. The movie cost a reported $50 million to produce and nabbed an A CinemaScore. Caucasians made up 38 percent of ticket buyers, followed by African-Americans (29 percent), Hispanics (22 percent) and Asian/Other (11 percent), according to MGM.
“This is a timeless franchise for us at MGM, and it’s a thrill to see both its legacy and new generation of audiences continue to respond to Rocky Balboa and Adonis Creed in this time when we need uplifting stories,” said MGM film chief Jonathan Glickman.
Among holdovers, Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald came in narrowly at No. 3 for the five days with $43 million for a 10-day domestic tally of $117.1 million. However, it was edged out of that same three-day weekend spot to Universal’s The Grinch ($29.7 million versus $30.2 million). Internationally, Grindelwald stayed atop the chart with $83.7 million from 80 markets for a foreign total of $322.6 million and $439.7 million globally.
Bohemian Rhapsody continued to sing loudly in its fourth weekend, grossing nearly $20 million for the five days in North America and bringing its domestic total to $152 million. The Queen biopic amassed another $38 million offshore for a stunning foreign total of $328.2 million and $472.2 million globally. (Another music-themed pic, A Star Is Born, celebrated crossing $350 million worldwide over the weekend.)
Paramount’s Instant Family followed at No. 6 in North America with a holiday outing of $17.4 million to finish Sunday with a 10-day domestic cume of $35.8 million.
However, not everyone found a place at the holiday table.
Lionsgate’s big-budget Robin Hood bombed, earning $14.2 million from 2,857 theaters for the five days to rank No. 7 against a $100 million budget. The three-day weekend portion was $9.1 million. On the awards front, The Front Runner likewise bombed, while Green Book struggled badly.
Robin Hood, ravaged by critics and earning a ho-hum B CinemaScore, was directed by Otto Bathurst and stars Taron Egerton in the titular role. Jamie Foxx, Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson and Jamie Dornan co-star in the film, which was originally set to open in March of this year.
Director Peter Farrelly’s awards hopeful Green Book expanded Wednesday into 1,062 theaters for a disappointing five-day gross of $7.4 million, including $5.4 million for the weekend. The film stars Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen as an African-American classical pianist and Italian-American bouncer/driver, respectively, who embark on a road trip through the segregated South in the 1960s. DreamWorks and Participant partnered on the pic, with Universal handling distribution duties.
Earlier this month, Mortensen had to apologize after using the N-word during a post-screening discussion in Los Angeles.
Universal distribution president Jim Orr believes Green Book will have a long run throughout awards season, pointing to strong exit scores. Caucasians made up 59 percent of the audience, followed by African-Americans (20 percent), Hispanics (13 percent) and Asian/Other (8 percent).
Sony’s awards hopeful The Front Runner expanded Friday into a total of 807 theaters, earning a paltry $885,000 for the three-day weekend. Directed by Jason Reitman, the political drama stars Hugh Jackman as one-time Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart.
Focus Features’ Boy Erased had more luck as it upped its theater count to 672 sites. The conversion-therapy drama grossed $2.3 million for the five days for a cume of $4.5 million.
At the specialty box office, Fox Searchlight’s The Favourite stole the crown upon debuting Friday in four theaters in New York York and Los Angeles. The period drama, which was directed by Yargos Lanthimos and stars Olivia Coleman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, posted a location average of $105,500 — the best showing since La La Land ($176,221) almost two years ago.
Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma also debuted over the holiday in three cinemas in New York and L.A. — two Landmark locations and the IFC Center — although Netflix isn’t reporting grosses. If Netflix were to do so, the pic would no doubt also post a stellar per-screen average for a foreign-language film, considering many showings were nearly full or sold out.
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