Illumination Entertainment might night get the same kind of rave reviews for their films that Pixar gets on a regular basis, but what they definitely do get is massive box office results. They have a massively successful franchise in place thanks to the Despicable Me franchise, but even their other original and adapted material finds an audience. The latest to do so is Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier's The Grinch, which crushed competition this weekend with a haul twice as big as any of its competitors. Check out the full Top 10 below, and join me after for analysis!
It was easy to predict that The Grinch was going to take the top spot at the box office - as I did in my closing remarks in last week's report - but what the film managed to do is still outpace high expectations. In the days before the animated feature hit theaters it was said that it was going to make something in the range of $50-60 million, and as you can see above the film wound up making a tad bit more than that. It's not exactly a record breaking performance, as it is only the sixth best debut for an Illumination title, and is only the 22nd best November opening of all time, but the folks at Universal Pictures will surely be pleased with the results.
Interestingly, the results are basically on-par with the last attempt Illumination Entertainment made at a Dr. Seuss adaptation. Chris Renaud's The Lorax made a bit more than The Grinch did, with a $70.2 million pull in its first three days, and basically got the same reaction when it came to critical response (The Lorax received a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes, while The Grinch is currently at 55%). But while the environment friendly 2012 feature went on to make $348.8 million in its full worldwide run, it's not entirely clear how the story of a fuzzy green creature will ultimately play out.
While The Lorax had some room to dominate for a spell when it was initially released, coming out a few weeks ahead of Gary Ross' The Hunger Games, The Grinch is going to very quickly find itself facing off against titles that will definitely steal large portions of its audience. The first is David Yates' Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which has an entire history of Harry Potter successes at its back, and is set to clash with the animated feature in its second weekend. The other title that the Christmas-themed adventure needs to worry about is Ralph Breaks The Internet, which is coming out in time for Thanksgiving and may steal the attention of big families looking for a night out at the movies. There's a part of me that wonders if this is a movie that would have been better off with a December release, close to the holiday it's celebrating - but looking at the release calendar full of titles like Aquaman, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Mortal Engines, Bumblebee, and Mary Poppins Returns, it probably wouldn't have had much more luck.
The Grinch is the 11th film released this year to open above $60 million, which is great news for the industry. Unfortunately, the other wide release titles that came out on Friday didn't do quite as well. Julius Avery's Overlord, for starters, was no match for Bryan Singer's Bohemian Rhapsody in its second week, and only managed to make about a third of what the musical biopic took in. The sci-fi World War II feature received positive marks from both critics and audiences (81% on Rotten Tomatoes and a "B" on CinemaScore), but it didn't translate to huge box office earnings. It's definitely a step down for these kinds of smaller Bad Robot productions, as the Cloverfield movies, for example, were way more successful in their first three days (earning $40 million and $24.7 million, respectively).
At the very least the movie's performance is stronger than what Fede Alvarez's The Girl In The Spider's Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story did this weekend, making just a little over $8 million. The movie has a reported budget $5 million more than Overlord - $43 million versus $38 million - and received less positive reviews, and will ultimately be seen as a significant disappointment. Sony Pictures was surely hoping that this film would give them the chance at growing a new studio tentpole franchise (something that isn't related to Spider-Man), but much like how things played out with David Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, that didn't really work.
There is, however, some good news for Sony this week, and it concerns Ruben Fleischer's Venom. Though it has eclipsed $200 million, the movie is fading pretty fast here in the United States, and may get bumped from the Top 10 next week, but it's only getting started in China, which just provided a massive box office boost to its international numbers. The loose Marvel Comics adaptation added a hearty $111 million to its global total this past weekend, which brings its total gross up to $673.5 million. It definitely looks like the studios plan for Spider-Man movies without Spider-Man is working, and it likely means will be getting a whole lot more of them in the near future. Editorially speaking, it's pretty annoying when you consider how it will creatively take away from potential developments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the adventures of Tom Holland's version of the wall-crawler, but clearly the audiences has spoken here.
As mentioned earlier, this upcoming weekend should be one of the most significant of 2018 - and could very well see results that are among the biggest of this fall season. Not only will we see the arrival of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in more than 4,000 theaters nationwide, but there will also be the buzzed-about Mark Whalberg-Rose Byrne comedy Instant Family, and Steve McQueen's acclaimed heist thriller Widows. There is going to be a lot of money spent on movie tickets, so be sure to come back next Sunday to see how it all shakes out.