Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: Adding $51.5 Million, Aquaman Jets Toward No. 2 in the DC Universe

James Wan's superhero hit joins top 10 highest grossing December releases. Plus, Mary Poppins Returns and Bumblebee on track for $100 million club.

by | December 30, 2018 | Comments

James Wan’s Aquaman may have started with the lowest opening ever in the DC Universe, but seven days later, it is looking more like Michael Phelps than some lowly dog paddler. The film is entering very exclusive territory this weekend just as two more December releases join the $100 million club by the time the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. That makes 32 for 2018 with at least two more films still hoping to surpass last year’s (and 2014’s) total of 33 to become second only to 2013’s 35 $100 million-plus films. That record may come up short, but Hollywood has shot past its previous ticket sales record ($11.37 billion in 2016) and is now eyeing a $12 billion year at the box office.


King of the Crop: Aquaman Joins Impressive Club of December Releases

JASON MOMOA as Aquaman in Warner Bros. Pictures' action adventure "AQUAMAN," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Copyright: © 2018 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. (Jasin Boland/ ™ & © DC Comics)
(Photo by Jasin Boland/ ™ & © DC Comics)

After its first weekend, Aquaman  was $26 million behind Justice League. After weekend two it is now $17 million ahead and climbing. How high? Quite actually. Because as of this Sunday, Wan’s film is now the sixth highest grossing December release after 10 days, behind five little films: Star Wars trio The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and Rogue One, as well as Avatar and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. All seven December films to have made $150 million by this point have reached the $300 million mark, and Aquaman is $20 million ahead of The Two Towers. Peter Jackson’s film opened on a Wednesday, so that pace will tighten over the next couple of days. But Return of the King made $48.8 million in its second weekend and ended with $339.7 million. Aquaman grossed $51.5 million and is likely looking at a final gross in that vicinity, which would surpass both Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman for second highest grossing feature film in the DC Universe behind Wonder Woman. With $748 million worldwide, it is the seventh highest grossing film of 2018 and will be passing Mission: Impossible – Fallout and Venom soon with its eye then on a billion dollars.


Fresh Surprise: WWI Documentary Out-Performs New Releases

They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros. Pictures)
(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

Speaking of Peter Jackson, his WWI 3D documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old, has become one of the top-grossing documentaries of the year. After just two nights. Fathom Events held special single-night screenings on December 17, when it broke the company’s record with $2.3 million, and then again this past Thursday, when it broke it again with another $3.37 million. That was more than this week’s openers, Holmes & Watson and Vice, grossed on Thursday with a full day of screenings. With $5.7 million in two nights it has made nearly as much as partisan documentaries, Death of a Nation (with a 0% Tomatometer score) from pardoned felon Dinesh D’Souza ($5.88 million) and Michael Moore’s Fahrehheit 11/9 ($6.35 million). Warner Bros. will open the film in a few cities on January 11, and you can expect it to rise from the seventh highest grossing documentary of 2018 into the top five – and maybe even higher.


Rotten Returns: Holmes & Watson (aka the Anti-Aquaman)

Holmes and Watson (Columbia Pictures)
(Photo by Columbia Pictures)

Holmes & Watson opened in theaters without being screened for critics. Hey, Disney did the same thing for Christmas opener, Tombstone, back in the day, too. How bad could it be? Well, it is currently just the third wide-release of the year to score lower than 10% on the Tomatometer after Slender Man and Death of a Nation’s golden doughnut of 0%. That is where Holmes was with its initial set of reviews, but folks were already in the midst of paying good money to see it on Christmas Day. Around $6.4 million and 24 hours later, some were already calling it a “commercial flop” on Twitter despite the fact that only four of 23 films to open on Christmas to more than $6 million failed to reach $60 million.

That still would not have been enough to cover its $42 million budget in domestic dollars, but it’s not like it was Mortal Engines or Welcome to Marwen this month; however, Holmes & Watson’s audience numbers have been scaling down to its current Rotten Tomatoes score of 9%. Though $19.7 million after its first six days still has it pacing for somewhere between $40-60 million, its numbers are diminishing at the pace of Aliens Vs. Predator – Requiem, which finished with just $41.7 million after it opened on Christmas. So it will depend on international audiences to determine whether the film is “a commercial flop” or not.


The Top Ten and Beyond: Poppins & Bumblebee To Join $100 Million Club Soon

Mary Poppins Returns (Walt Disney Studios)
(Photo by Walt Disney Studios)

Mary Poppins Returns just missed becoming the 26th film opening in December to reach $100 million in its first 12 days; though it will do so on New Year’s Eve. Of the films in its 12-day company that had between $97 million to $107 million at this point, Poppins’ $28-million weekend is second only to Daddy’s Home’s $29.2 million. (Poppins is likely to fly past Daddy’s Home’s $150 million.) The next crop of films above them (sans Marley & Me) are all $200 million grossers. So as long as Rob Marshall’s film maintains its current pace it should rise high enough to be one of the three highest grossing films of the season.

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse did join the $100 million club this weekend. At $103.6 million it is in the company of Catch Me If You Can, Les Miserables (2012), Into the Woods, True Grit (2010), and Unbroken, but its third weekend of $18.3 million surpasses all of theirs, suggesting the film is headed for north of $160 million — an estimate that could continue to rise with the word-of-mouth it is receiving.

Bumblebee, with another $20 million this weekend, is also headed for $100 million like every other film from December to have $60 million after 10 days. Clint Eastwood’s The Mule, on the other hand, took 17 days to hit the $60 million mark, but it is not out of the running to become the 34th film of 2018 to reach $100 million. For a film that needs around $150 million to break even, $80 million seems to be the worst-case domestic scenario at this moment. As it is pretty closely aligned with the $100.7 million–grossing The Pelican Brief, there is still a possibility this will be Clint’s sixth film as a director to reach that height.

While Holmes and Watson was grossing $6.4 million on Christmas Day, Adam McKay’s award hopeful, Vice, was gathering up $4.7 million and a 64% score on the Tomatometer. It has made $18 million in its first six days and eyes somewhere around $50 million final domestic gross, but is already Annapurna’s highest grossing film to date surpassing this summer’s Sundance pickup, Sorry To Bother You. Ralph Breaks the Internet has fallen behind the pace of last year’s Coco, but is still $9 million ahead of Tangled, which keeps $200 million very much in the picture. It only takes Ralph and Poppins to break the single-year record of most films to reach the milestone in any year. A $300 million final gross may be out of reach for Illumination’s The Grinch, but its $266 million makes it undoubtedly one of the biggest hits of the season, even while it could end up being the company’s third-lowest grossing film to date; albeit one with still over $100 million in profit.

Beyond the Top Ten you will find both The Favourite ($15.2 million) and Mary Queen of Scots ($9 million) doing decent business in less than 850 theaters each. Both continue to do better than Robert Zemeckis’ Welcome to Marwen, which has grossed $7.7 million. There are still seven films this year further in the red than Marwen (including Ralph Breaks the Internet), though it is still little comfort being among the 10 biggest financial losers of 2018.

In further limited release news, we have the three best per-theater-averages of the week: The Ruth Bader Ginsburg drama, On the Basis of Sex (74%) averaged $20,909 this weekend and has made $1.5 million in 33 theaters since Christmas. Destroyer (76%) has been in three theaters since Christmas and has made $115,661. It averaged $19,491 this weekend. Then there is Stan & Ollie (89%), which opened on Friday in five theaters, averaging $15,935 for a total of $79,674. Aquaman had the fourth best average with $12,497, and Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk was fifth, adding 60 theaters (for a total of 65). It averaged $11,686 and has grossed nearly $2 million.


This Time Last Year: The Last Jedi Held Off Jumanji for the Last Time

Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Walt Disney Pictures)
(Photo by Walt Disney Pictures)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi maintained the top spot for a third straight week (and passed the $500 million mark), though Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle closed the gap with a $52.5 million-to-$50 million showdown. Christmas day openers, All the Money in the World and Molly’s Game made $12.7 million and $5.3 million, respectively, in their first full week of release. Steven Spielberg’s The Post and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread led the per-theater-average list with $62,342 (nine theaters) and $54,124 (four theaters). The Top Ten films grossed a total of $173.3 million over the weekend, which included New Year’s Eve, and they averaged 65.1% on the Tomatometer. This year’s Top Ten grossed $163.1 million and averaged 65.6%.


On the Vine: There Is No Escape From Horror in 2019

Escape Room (Columbia Pictures)
(Photo by Columbia Pictures)

The new year kicks off with horror about domains from which there appears to be no safe room, though do not expect to see a Tomatometer score for either until later in the week. The PG-13 Escape Room with Taylor Russell, Deborah Ann Woll, and Tyler Labine should get a score just before it opens. Then Eli, from the director of Sinister II, will get reviews from critics brave enough to check out the tale of a boy with auto-immune issues stuck in a dangerous home when it opens on Friday.

The Full Top 10: December 28-30

  1. Aquaman – $51.5 million ($188.7 million total)
  2. Mary Poppins Returns – $28.0 million ($98.9 million total)
  3. Bumblebee – $20.5 million ($66.7 million total)
  4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse– $18.3 million ($103.6 million total)
  5. The Mule – $11.7 million ($60.7 million total)
  6. Vice – $7.7 million ($17.6 million total)
  7. Holmes & Watson – $7.3 million ($19.7 million total)
  8. Second Act – $7.2 million ($21.7 million total)
  9. Ralph Breaks the Internet – $6.5 million ($175.7 million total)
  10. The Grinch – $8.1 million ($253.2 million total)

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on WGN Radio with Nick Digilio as well as on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]

Tag Cloud

Heroines adventure Music MSNBC directors aliens Acorn TV screen actors guild spy thriller all-time Song of Ice and Fire Set visit quibi Creative Arts Emmys politics independent 45 SXSW TCA Awards Endgame Superheroes Hear Us Out social media Marvel asian-american Podcast Women's History Month HBO Vudu nbcuniversal Extras Holiday halloween Nat Geo christmas movies Fantasy Hallmark Christmas movies war natural history cartoon See It Skip It Food Network Shudder Spring TV Holidays Pride Month dc Emmy Nominations SundanceTV true crime President YouTube Premium diversity Crunchyroll Interview Film Festival NYCC crime period drama TCA universal monsters Grammys GIFs TLC Pop Lucasfilm cancelled TV shows films HBO Max Rock Biopics richard e. Grant Baby Yoda zombies 2019 Television Academy fast and furious reviews ratings 2016 Academy Awards thriller Calendar Red Carpet New York Comic Con Sundance Now harry potter ghosts doctor who Travel Channel movie Ovation talk show YouTube Red Drama Star Wars Superheroe Crackle Pirates TBS mission: impossible satire hispanic Disney anime tv talk Lifetime Christmas movies dceu classics American Society of Cinematographers transformers emmy awards TV renewals sequel documentaries psycho CNN Arrowverse indie cats Writers Guild of America cops Cosplay singing competition Country Lifetime breaking bad screenings Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Tubi nature Turner Box Office Star Trek FX on Hulu Family cancelled Esquire blaxploitation Polls and Games movies Rocketman Paramount Hulu Rocky Cannes Marathons free movies Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Disney Plus Valentine's Day MCU Nominations Horror Certified Fresh child's play historical drama versus documentary justice league Sony Pictures OWN Film The CW Freeform X-Men ESPN Black Mirror docudrama Opinion biography A24 vampires dramedy Tumblr 20th Century Fox robots award winner MTV Mary poppins ABC romantic comedy twilight Schedule worst Syfy 71st Emmy Awards Logo sitcom slashers E3 The Witch FX streaming psychological thriller Spike Cartoon Network E! GLAAD binge Sundance TV Spectrum Originals Western The Walking Dead book Marvel Television miniseries 007 Kids & Family ITV Comedy Central LGBTQ Character Guide dragons mutant Disney Channel composers Quiz First Look Mystery WGN discovery teaser Shondaland Tarantino hollywood Columbia Pictures FOX joker NBC Apple video on demand Best and Worst DGA news Mary Tyler Moore YA batman facebook foreign CBS All Access die hard police drama stoner Discovery Channel based on movie video sports Mindy Kaling Avengers DC streaming service Photos RT History Britbox BBC America Disney streaming service anthology OneApp Bravo The Arrangement Elton John comic Animation TIFF History Epix spinoff Christmas Premiere Dates Masterpiece Pixar Ellie Kemper hist Comics on TV WarnerMedia indiana jones TruTV Universal First Reviews unscripted Video Games latino SDCC revenge Sci-Fi Lionsgate blockbuster USA Network Apple TV Plus toy story cancelled television Reality Competition disaster best Fox News Brie Larson werewolf Awards Amazon Prime Winners Captain marvel cinemax Amazon Studios finale romance VICE Thanksgiving CMT rotten movies we love golden globes festivals name the review IFC TCA 2017 comics boxoffice 2020 Showtime what to watch Comedy criterion game show technology Rom-Com critics space casting TV Land cancelled TV series stand-up comedy spanish language scary movies serial killer TNT canceled franchise AMC Funimation Toys Musical Fall TV Netflix Christmas movies Apple TV+ Turner Classic Movies mockumentary HBO Go Reality dogs Warner Bros. DirecTV spider-man animated renewed TV shows BAFTA CBS BBC parents GoT Amazon YouTube The Purge Stephen King Pet Sematary A&E Awards Tour cults Hallmark travel Anna Paquin Television Critics Association crossover comedies PBS TCM Walt Disney Pictures Trailer Action theme song Ghostbusters FXX adaptation CW Seed Adult Swim 2015 Infographic Super Bowl Martial Arts obituary Sundance BET Teen 4/20 Countdown concert crime drama series Election Watching Series ABC Family TCA Winter 2020 Tomatazos Trophy Talk stop motion south america laika Classic Film comiccon Chernobyl Musicals children's TV BBC One 2017 zombie kids DC Comics VOD Nickelodeon cars VH1 San Diego Comic-Con green book National Geographic sag awards zero dark thirty Amazon Prime Video strong female leads rotten Marvel Studios LGBT Emmys chucky IFC Films APB Oscars Year in Review PaleyFest Starz supernatural witnail 24 frames jamie lee curtis Disney+ Disney Plus USA Winter TV DC Universe Binge Guide Sneak Peek television Paramount Network reboot RT21 superhero El Rey canceled TV shows TV Black History Month sequels Mary Poppins Returns 2018 Trivia Summer Pop TV game of thrones elevated horror Netflix BET Awards political drama cooking spain medical drama Comic Book Dark Horse Comics crime thriller dark 21st Century Fox science fiction Mudbound a nightmare on elm street Peacock PlayStation 72 Emmy Awards