Weekend Box Office: 'Daddy's Home 2' Laughs Past 'Orient Express' With $30M

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
'Daddy's Home 2'

'Thor: Ragnarok' wins overall with a sophomore-session haul of $56.6 million; 'Lady Bird' and 'Three Billboards' shine at the specialty box office.

The better-than-expected openings of Daddy's Home 2 and Murder on the Orient Express — which took in $30 million and $28.2 million, respectively, over the weekend — provided a much-needed balm after a string of fall films were spurned by audiences.

The losing streak, of course, doesn't apply to Disney and Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok. The tentpole won the frame with $56.6 million for a 10-day domestic tally of $211.6 million. Overseas, Ragnarok also topped the chart with $75.9 million for a foreign total of $438.5 million and a global cume of $650.1 million. In North America, the threequel has already surpassed the first two Thor films, as well as boasting the best hold of any title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (54 percent).

Paramount's Daddy's Home 2, playing in 3,565 theaters, came in second after laughing past Orient Express and fighting off the comedy curse, thanks to a strong family turnout. The movie landed the second-biggest bow of the year for a comedy behind Girls Trip ($31.7 million). Paramount was in sore need of a victory after such mishaps as Darren Aronofsky's mother! and George Clooney's Suburbicon.

The sequel sees the return of Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, with Mel Gibson and John Lithgow joining the cast. This time out, Dusty (Wahlberg) and Brad (Ferrell) join forces to create the perfect holiday for their kids,  but their alliance is put to the test when their own fathers show up. Linda Cardellini, John Cena and Alessandra Ambrosio also star.

Daddy's Home 2, rated PG-13, marks Gibson's best opening as an actor since Signs in 2002. (He made his comeback as a director last year with Hacksaw Ridge.)

The first Daddy's Home launched to $38.7 million over its Christmas 2015 weekend debut, but had the advantage of playing to families for the holidays. The follow-up scored an A- CinemaScore, compared to a B+ for the first one.

"The movie is satisfying the family audience and the comedy audience," says Paramount domestic distribution chief Kyle Davies. "And because of the holiday element, we wanted the most runway before the actual holidays."
 
Fox's star-studded Murder on the Orient Express, which placed third, is a victory for the sort of adult-skewing fare that has suffered with the advent of Netflix and other platforms. Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Agatha Christie's iconic train-set mystery, playing in 3,341 theaters, beat projections despite so-so reviews and a B CinemaScore. Overseas, the movie grossed $45.8 million from 57 markets — including a better-than-expected $19 million in China — for a global cume of $85.4 million.

In addition to directing, Branagh stars in the pic opposite Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr. and Daisy Ridley.

"This is a classic Hollywood movie with a big cast that's based on existing IP. All the elements came together," says Fox domestic distribution president Chris Aronson. "And Ken's achievement both behind and in front of the camera is pretty remarkable."

STXfilms' R-rated comedy Bad Moms Christmas impressed in its second weekend, grossing $11.5 million for a domestic total of $39.9 million. The sequel dipped 45 percent from its five-day debut and 31 percent from its first weekend proper.

Orient Express, Daddy's Home 2 and Bad Moms 2 are positioned to play through the Thanksgiving holiday.

At the specialty box office, Greta Gerwig's critically acclaimed dramedy Lady Bird continued to fly high as it expanded into a total of 37 theaters. From A24, the movie shot up to No. 10 with $1.2 million for a mighty screen average of $33,766 and a 10-day domestic total of $1.8 million.

Fox Searchlight's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, starring Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson, posted a stellar screen average of $80,000 in its debut in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles.

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