Weekend Box Office Report: December 18 – 20, 2020

The weekend box office report is provided by Daniel Garris, courtesy of BoxOfficeReport.com.

Weekend Estimates Update:

Sony’s Monster Hunter debuted with an estimated $2.20 million this weekend, which was just enough to hold off The Croods: A New Age for first place this weekend. With Monster Hunter, a theatrical adaptation of the popular video game franchise from Capcom, Screen Gems was attempting to attract the same fans who made Resident Evil a successful theatrical franchise from 2002 through 2017. Like the Resident Evil films, Monster Hunter also stars Milla Jovovich and was directed by Paul W. S. Anderson (who directed four of the six Resident Evil films and was involved with all six films in some fashion). While Monster Hunter opened lower than expected, expectations for the film had already been low to begin win (even by current standards).

Not helping matters for Monster Hunter this weekend was that the film opened in a modest 1,736 locations. That gave the film a per-location average of just $1,267 this weekend (even with the aid of playing on IMAX screens). Also not helping matters for Monster Hunter was the decision to open the film the weekend before Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984 and Universal’s News of the World both arrive in theatres on Christmas Day. Monster Hunter was previously scheduled to open on December 30, before being moved up to open on Christmas Day and ultimately being moved up fairly last minute to December 18. In hindsight, the last minute move likely hurt the opening weekend performance of Monster Hunter, but could also lead to the film having better holding power over the next few weeks during the holiday season (as long as Monster Hunter can hold onto screens and showtimes throughout the holidays).

After leading the weekend box office for the previous three frames Universal and DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age fell one spot to second place this weekend with an estimated $2.00 million. Unless The Croods: A New Age can sneak into first place when actuals are released on Monday (The Croods: A New Age currently trails Monster Hunter by just $200,000), this weekend will end the seven-weekend streak of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group leading the domestic box office. The Croods: A New Age declined 35 percent this weekend. That represents a very solid hold, especially given that The Croods: A New Age saw its showtimes per location average dip at many theatres this weekend and that The Croods: A New Age arrived on PVOD this weekend. The estimated 26-day total for The Croods: A New Age stands at a stronger than expected $27.03 million. The Croods: A New Age played in 1,906 locations this weekend, which gave the film a per-location average of $1,049 for the frame. Like Monster HunterThe Croods: A New Age will look to hold onto screens and showtimes throughout the holidays.

Internationally, The Croods: A New Age took in an estimated $3.2 million from 12 international markets. The film’s international performance continues to be led by China, where the film grossed an estimated $2.52 million this weekend and has grossed $49.81 million to date. The Croods: A New Age grossed $0.334 million in its second frame in Mexico and has grossed $1.68 million in the market to date. In the coming week, The Croods: A New Age will open in Spain on Wednesday (December 23), in Russia on Thursday (December 24) and in Australia on Saturday (December 26).

Lionsgate’s Fatale debuted in third place this weekend with an estimated $0.925 million. The R-rated thriller was directed by Deon Taylor and stars Hilary Swank and Michael Ealy. Much like Monster Hunter, already modest potential for Fatale was further kept in check by the film’s modest location count (1,107) and by Fatale also being scheduled fairly last minute for release on December 18. With that said, Fatale opened more in line with expectations than Monster Hunter did; and with a per-location average of $836, this weekend’s per-location average for Fatale wasn’t that much lower than that of Monster Hunter (which had the added advantages of playing on IMAX screens and having more showtimes per location than Fatale at many theatres). The opening weekend performance of Fatale came in a bit under the $1.31 million start of The Empty Man back in October, which opened under similar circumstances (but also had the relative advantage of opening in 2,027 locations). Fatale represented the first wide theatrical release for Lionsgate since I Still Believe back in March and will arrive on PVOD on January 8, 2021.

In international news, Warner’s highly anticipated Wonder Woman 1984 started off its international performance with an estimated $38.5 million from 32 markets this weekend. Nearly half of this weekend’s international grosses came from China, where Wonder Woman debuted with $18.8 million. However, it should be noted that the film’s start in China was 37 percent below the $29.8 million debut of Tenet back in September. Additional estimated starts by market for Wonder Woman 1984 this weekend included $3.6 million in Taiwan, $2.0 million in Thailand, $1.7 million in Brazil, $1.6 million in Japan, $1.6 million in Mexico, $1.3 million in Singapore, $1.2 million in the United Kingdom, $1.1 million in Spain, $1.0 million in the United Arab Emirates and $1.0 million in Saudi Arabia. Wonder Woman 1984 grossed an estimated $5.0 million from international IMAX screens, which represented 13 percent of the film’s overall international gross this weekend. IMAX screens in China were responsible for $3.8 million of the film’s IMAX total this weekend. In the coming week, Wonder Woman 1984 will open in additional international markets (including Australia and South Korea) and domestically day-and-date on Christmas Day in theatres and on HBO Max.

Back on the domestic front, while official studio estimates still aren’t being reported for the film, unofficial estimates have Warner’s re-issue of 2003’s Elf in fourth place this weekend with roughly $0.370 million. That represents a slim decline of 8 percent from last weekend, which is especially impressive since Elf was playing in significantly fewer locations this weekend than it did last weekend. Unofficially, the 38-day total for the re-issue of Elf is in the area of $2.2 million. Other unofficial estimates for fellow Warner Bros. re-releases this weekend include roughly $0.220 million each for both 2004’s The Polar Express and 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (which would place those films in sixth / seventh this weekend).

Focus’ Half Brothers was down three spots from last weekend to round out this weekend’s top five with an estimated $0.260 million. After holding up very well last weekend, the buddy comedy lost significant momentum this weekend by declining a sizable 47 percent. This weekend’s sharper percentage decline was due in part to Half Brothers playing in 243 fewer locations than the film did last weekend and to Half Brothers starting to see its showtimes per location average take a hit this weekend. The estimated 17-day total for Half Brothers stands at $1.80 million.

Estimated grosses for holdovers this weekend also included $0.170 million for 101 Studios’ The War with Grandpa and $0.165 million for Universal’s FreakyThe War with Grandpa was down a very solid 34 percent from last weekend, while Freaky declined 48 percent. Respective current total grosses stand at $18.19 million for The War with Grandpa (through 73 days) and at $8.51 million for Freaky (through 38 days).

Meanwhile, Disney’s re-issue of 1992’s The Muppet Christmas Carol started out with just an estimated $92,000 from 725 locations. That gave the re-issue a per-location average of only $127 this weekend. The Muppet Christmas Carol didn’t perform all that well for a Muppets film back in 1992 (the film opened with $5.0 million and went on to gross $27.3 million domestically), but has seen its popularity grow over the years as a seasonal favorite (though that didn’t help the re-issue at the box office this weekend).

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