Eternals Wins Again At The Box Office, But It's Not All Good News

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe having proven itself a non-stop box office juggernaut over the last 13 years, competing studios have definitely adjusted their release schedules accordingly. When it’s time for a new MCU blockbuster to land, the movie calendar metaphorically clears the runway, as little else in the industry can presently contend with the franchise directly. It’s because of this mentality that Chloé Zhao’s Eternals premiered last week with no other debut features in wide release – but it’s extended to the movie’s second Friday-to-Sunday as well, as it has easily won its sophomore weekend thanks to there not being much out to put up a real fight.

Scope out the full Top 10 below, and join me after for analysis!

Weekend Box Office November 12-14 Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)
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1. Eternals$27,500,000 $118,765,255 14,090
2. Clifford The Big Red Dog$16,420,000 $22,000,775 Row 1 - Cell 3 3,700
3. Dune$5,500,000 $93,126,283 23,282
4. No Time To Die$4,620,862 $150,476,875 32,867
5. Venom: Let There Be Carnage$4,000,000 $202,707,190 42,538
6. Ron’s Gone Wrong$2,200,000 $20,785,420 52,430
7. The French Dispatch$1,840,000 $11,614,570 61,225
8. Belfast$1,800,000 $1,800,000 Row 7 - Cell 3 580
9. Antlers$1,200,000 $9,638,534 91,825
10. Halloween Kills$1,070,000 $91,447,175 71,994

As you can see, the only new film to be released this past Friday in more than 2,000 theaters was Walt Becker’s Clifford The Big Red Dog, and it really didn’t put up much of a fight against the latest Marvel Studios blockbuster – earning only about 60 percent of what Eternals pulled in domestically during its second weekend. That side-by-side comparison definitely makes the new comic book movie look good, as does the fact that it has now won two box office crowns domestically, but, as the headline suggests, it’s not all good news.

When Destin Daniel Cretton’s Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings was released this past September, there were a lot of eyes focusing on its second weekend performance – particularly in light of the shocking 68 percent dip taken by Cate Shortland’s Black Widow during the summer (an occurrence that was heavily attributed to Black Widow’s hybrid distribution strategy). Shang-Chi, which was exclusively released in theaters, was deemed a success when its second weekend only saw a 54 percent fall in the numbers… but the results for Eternals aren’t quite as positive.

Eternals saw its box office totals drop 61 percent weekend-to-weekend.

The new blockbuster (also a “big screen only” event for now) also succeeded in doing better than Black Widow in its weekend, but going from its $71.3 million opening to $27.5 million in its second Friday-to-Sunday calculates to a 61 percent drop, which isn’t a great number – especially when you take into consideration the aforementioned limited competition. It’s certainly dominating the market as it exists right now, but there might be some folks at Marvel Studios pulling on their shirt collars concerned about the project’s legs.

Angelina Jolie as Thena in Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

According to The Numbers, the film is just the tenth domestic release in 2021 to eclipse nine figures at the box office, having earned $118 million to date. That total has pushed the title past Adam Wingard’s Godzilla vs. Kong ($110.1 million) and Jaume Collet-Serra’s Jungle Cruise ($117 million) on the year-to-date chart, and it will very likely take over seventh place in the next week as it surpasses Shawn Levy’s Free Guy ($121.3 million).

Globally, Eternals has now made $209.5 million, which means that on the worldwide chart it is now ranked as the sixteenth biggest blockbuster of the year.

Clifford The Big Red Dog had a solid start for a hybrid release.

Steering back to Clifford The Big Red Dog, the film got a head start on the weekend, having been released this past Wednesday instead of this past Friday (explaining the differential in its weekend and domestic total grosses) – but it’s a big screen release that has an important handicap. Like with Cal Brunker’s Paw Patrol: The Movie this past summer, Paramount opted to give audiences two options to see their latest family-friendly feature: they can either check it out at their local multiplex, or stream it for free with a subscription to Paramount+.

We don’t have access to either subscription or traffic data from the streaming service, but it seems fair to assume that the call took at least a bite out of Clifford’s potential big screen earnings otherwise. That being said, it appears that the film might be on pace to at least out-perform Paw: Patrol, which finished its theatrical run domestically having earned $40.1 million after a $13.1 million opening weekend.

The only other new release to make it on to the Top 10 chart this weekend is Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, which was able to nab eighth place by making $1.8 million while playing in just 580 cinemas nationwide. The movie is earning plenty of award season buzz, and is off to a solid start. It’s not doing nearly as well as Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, which was able to make about 75 percent of Belfast’s total while playing in a tenth the number of locations, but its per theater average of $3,103 is more than what Pablo Larrain’s Spencer did last weekend while playing on 996 screens ($2,113).

No Time To Die and Venom: Let There Be Carnage hit box office milestones.

On the milestone front, this past weekend saw two big movies hit two significant totals – namely Cary Joji Fukunaga’s No Time To Die and Andy SerkisVenom: Let There Be Carnage. Having made $4.6 million in the last three days, the final James Bond adventure starring Daniel Craig has now made $150 million domestically – though that still leaves it about $17 million short of matching the business done by Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale (which means it is still the lowest earner of the Craig era, but that’s pretty typical given these days due to the continuing impact of the pandemic).

Venom: Let There Be Carnage remains the only sequel released this year that saw its opening weekend box office numbers surpass its predecessor's, and that hot start has allowed the film to be one of only two titles in 2021 to make more than $200 million domestically. It won’t ultimately be able to do better than Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, which has the #1 spot locked down having made $224.4 million in North America to date, but the success is still notable, and it seems extremely likely right now that the film will close out December in the Top 5 of the domestic chart (if not the Top 3).

One of the most significant potential challengers to the comic book movie’s position is set to be released this Friday, as Jason Reitman’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife will be hitting theaters nationwide following its multiple COVID-related delays. Will it be able to make a major mark on the marketplace? Be sure to return here to CinemaBlend next Sunday to find out.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.