Illumination and Universal’s CG animated The Grinch, the latest adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss holiday tale, is unwrapping plenty of green at the North American box office, where it grossed $18.7 million on Friday for a projected weekend bow of $67 million.
Friday’s gross included $2.2 million in previews.
With a Grinch voiced this time out by Benedict Cumberbatch, the $75 million movie, playing in 4,414 theaters, is the first family event film of the year-end corridor.
Directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney, the film’s voice cast also includes Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Angela Lansbury, Cameron Seely and Pharrell Williams, who narrates the tale about the infamous Grinch who tries to ruin Christmas for the residents of Whoville. The last film about the infamous grouch was Ron Howard’s 2000 live-action version How the Grinch Stole Christmas, voiced by Jim Carrey.
Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody will easily come in No. 2 with a rocking $29 million in its sophomore outing, a dip of 43 percent. The film, from 20th Century Fox, New Regency and GK Films, will finish Sunday with a 10-day domestic total of nearly $100 million.
Elsewhere, the J.J. Abrams-produced World War II-zombie pic Overlord earned $3.8 million Friday from 2,859 cinemas for a $10 million launch, enough to beat the weekend’s third new nationwide offering, The Girl in the Spider’s Web. At the same time, Overlord is nevertheless opening to decidedly muted numbers.
Starring Claire Foy, Girl in the Spider’s Web earned $3 million Friday from 2,929 locations for a disappointing domestic launch of $8 million-$8.5 million.
Overlord is in a close race for third place with Disney holdover The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. From Paramount, Overlord is the sole new offering for the younger genre crowd. It also lords over the other new offerings in terms of reviews, with a current Rotten Tomatoes score of 81 percent, versus 54 percent for The Grinch and 44 percent for Spider’s Web.
The film’s up-and-coming cast includes Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbaek, Mathilde Ollivier, John Magaro and Iain de Caestecker. Julius Avery directed the R-rated film, which follows a group of American paratroopers who drop into Nazi-occupied France on the eve of D-Day, only to discover the horrors of a Nazi lab carrying out terrifying and supernatural experiments that bring the dead back to life. It cost a reported $38 million to produce.
Spider’s Web is in a close race with A Star Is Born — now in its sixth weekend — for fifth place. It remains to be seen whether the $43 million, R-rated movie can sustain a long run and successfully revive The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo film franchise and book series.
Sony made Girl in the Spider’s Web, which continues the adventures of Swedish hacker Lisbeth Salander, in partnership with MGM and New Regency. Sverrir Gudnason, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks and Stephen Merchant co-star. The production budget is a reported $43 million.
New offerings at the specialty box office include Jason Reitman’s political pic The Front Runner, starring Hugh Jackman as scandal-ridden Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart. The awards hopeful, playing first in New York and Los Angeles, opened timed to Tuesday’s midterm elections.
The Front Runner, acquired by Sony at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, is headed for a weekend theater average of $10,000-$10,500. While one of the best averages of the weekend, it is nevertheless a disappointing number.
Among other awards contenders, Amazon Studios is expanding Beautiful Boy, starring Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carell, nationwide into roughly 840 theaters. Netflix is opening the Coen brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs in four cinemas in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London, but won’t report grosses. It is the first Netflix original movie to open first in cinemas a week ahead of its launch on the streamer.
Nov. 9, 1:20 p.m. Updated with revised weekend estimates.
Nov. 10, 8 a.m.. Updated with Friday grosses and revised weekend estimates.