Box Office: 'Ralph 2' Edges Past 'Grinch' to Top Quiet Pre-Holiday Weekend

Courtesy of Disney; Courtesy of Illumination and Universal Pictures
'Ralph Breaks the Internet' (left), 'The Grinch'

Elsewhere, 'Creed II' maintains a strong punch, while 'Green Book' gets big boost from top Golden Globe noms.

For the first time in history, a pair of animated pics — Ralph Breaks the Internet and The Grinch — claimed the top two spots on the box office chart for the second weekend in a row, underscoring the buying power of families.

Disney Animation Studios' Ralph 2 stayed No. 1 for the third consecutive weekend with $16.1 million for a domestic total of $140.9 million and a global cume of $117.3 million.

Illumination and Universal's holiday-themed The Grinch, benefiting from its holiday-themed story, took in $15.2 million in its fifth weekend for $223.5 million domestically and $322.4 million worldwide to date.

The two family films took advantage of there being no new nationwide releases on the marquee as Hollywood studios prepare for the Christmas crush. Likewise, Paramount used the lull in the action to sneak the Transformers spinoff Bumblebee, directed by Travis Knight and starring Hailee Steinfeld, in 326 theaters on Friday night. The studio and Comscore aren't reporting grosses, but they did say shows were sold out across the board. Reviews of the film began posting Saturday; Bumblebee's current Rotten Tomatoes score is a dazzling 100 percent.

The weekend's biggest headline was overseas, where Warner Bros. unfurled Aquaman in China two weeks before the movie is set to swim into theaters in the U.S. Aquaman debuted to a record $93.4 million in China, the best showing ever for a DC comic book adaptation and also a December record. Imax locations in the Middle Kingdom turned in nearly $10 million.

Back in North America, MGM and New Line's Creed II remained a formidable contender in its third outing, earning $10.3 million for a strong domestic total of $96.5 million.

Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald and Bohemian Rhapsody rounded out the top five with $6.8 million and $6 million for domestic totals of $145.2 million and $173.6 million, respectively. Bohemian Rhapsody's performance is particularly impressive, considering it is in his sixth weekend. Overseas, the Queen biopic earned another $29.2 million from 72 markets for a foreign tally of $423 million and $596.6 million globally.

Crimes of Grindelwald took in an additional $22 million offshore for a foreign total of $423.3 million and $568.5 worldwide.

Elsewhere, Universal's rerelease of Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List in more than 1,000 cinemas timed to the Oscar-winning film's 25th anniversary earned $551,000. (Rereleases don't generally do big business, and Schindler's List was no exception.)

Among awards contenders, DreamWorks and Participant Media's Green Book enjoyed a big boost at the box office after scoring top Golden Globe nominations last week. The film, distributed by Universal and playing in 1,181 locations, earned just as much as last weekend, $3.9 million, for a domestic total of $20 million.

Meanwhile, a clutch of indie titles debuted at the specialty box office as awards season heats up. Focus Features' Mary Queen of Scots turned in the frame's best location average, $50,045, from four cinemas. Neon's Vox Lux posted a screen average of $27,042 from six cinemas, followed by Roadside and LD Entertaiment's Ben Is Back with $20,243 from four sites.

The domestic box office will begin picking up in earnest next weekend with the release of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Clint Eastwood's The Mule and Once Upon in Deadpool, a PG-13 cut of Deadpool 2. Mary Poppins Returns is set to hit theaters on Dec. 19. And Aquaman and Bumblebee will follow on Dec. 21, among other entries.