‘Aquaman’ wins big in Chinese box office, ‘Ralph’ stays No. 1 in U.S.

In the calm before the Christmas storm at the box office, "Ralph Breaks the Internet" remained No. 1 for the third straight week, while the upcoming DC Comics superhero film "Aquaman" arrived with a cannonball-sized splash in Chinese theaters. For the second week in a row, no new wide releases opened in North American theaters, … Continue reading “‘Aquaman’ wins big in Chinese box office, ‘Ralph’ stays No. 1 in U.S.”

In the calm before the Christmas storm at the box office, "Ralph Breaks the Internet" remained No. 1 for the third straight week, while the upcoming DC Comics superhero film "Aquaman" arrived with a cannonball-sized splash in Chinese theaters.

For the second week in a row, no new wide releases opened in North American theaters, allowing Disney's animated sequel to again lead domestic ticket sales with $16.1 million, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The top six films at the box office were all unchanged. Universal's "The Grinch," still a major draw in its fifth weekend, trailed in second with $15.2 million.

But the weekend's biggest new arrival was in China, where Warner Bros.' "Aquaman" debuted with $93.6 million in ticket sales. That marked a new opening-weekend record for both Warner Bros. and DC in China. Considering the checkered recent history of DC films ("Justice League," ''Suicide Squad"), the big launch in China was a promising sign for the spinoff starring Jason Momoa.

"Adding to the success of 'Wonder Woman,' this is a really solid performance and portends big numbers for North America in two weeks when it opens," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. "This is a movie, along with 'Mary Poppins Returns' and 'Bumblebee' and other movies, that's going to give December that boost that a 'Star Wars' movie would give us."

"Aquaman" will expand to 40 international countries next week and arrive in North American theaters Dec. 21.

"Aquaman" wasn't the only big-budget holiday season release receiving a lift this week. Paramount's "Transformers" prequel "Bumblebee" played a one-night sneak preview in 326 theaters nationwide ahead of its Dec. 21 release.

Paramount declined to share ticket figures but domestic distribution chief Kyle Davies said theaters were mostly sold out. Perhaps more importantly, the film directed by Travis Knight and starring Hailee Steinfeld aided its word of mouth with largely glowing reviews — a rarity for the "Transformers" franchise.

Disney's "Mary Poppins Returns," due out Dec. 19, also helped its cause with four Golden Globe nominations Thursday, including best picture, comedy or musical, and acting nods for Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The feel-good interracial road trip period tale "Green Book" fared even better at the Globes (five nominations, including best picture, comedy or musical, and acting nods for Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen) and had good results at the box office to show for it. In its fourth week of release, "Green Book" held with a rare 0 percent drop, earning $3.9 million in 1,181 theaters. It has grossed $20 million in total.

Yorgos Lanthimos' comic period drama "The Favourite" continued to pick up steam. The acclaimed Fox Searchlight release, starring Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, expanded into 91 theaters over the weekend to gross $1.4 million ($15,000 per theater).

A more traditional royal drama, "Mary Queen of Scots," also opened strongly in limited release. The Focus Features title, starring Saoirse Ronan as Mary Stuart and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I, debuted in four theaters with a robust $50,045 per-theater average. Lis Bunnell, president of distribution for Focus, said the film's modern spin "made it resonate with audiences in a powerful way paralleling so much of what is still going on today for women."

Also opening in limited release were "Ben Is Back," the family addiction drama with Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges (a $20,243 per-theater average in four theaters), and the caustic pop music critique "Vox Lux," with Natalie Portman (a $27,000 per-theater average in six theaters).

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List," Universal re-released the Holocaust epic in 1,029 theaters. But it failed to turn out large crowds, grossing a modest $551,000.

Next weekend, the box office is expected to be significantly busier with the release of "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," ''Once Upon a Deadpool" and Clint Eastwood's "The Mule" and "Mortal Engines."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.

1. "Ralph Breaks the Internet," $16.1 million.

2. "The Grinch," $15.2 million ($25.9 million international).

3. "Creed II," $10.3 million ($5.2 million international).

4. "Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald," $6.8 million ($22 million international).

5. "Bohemian Rhapsody," $6 million ($29.2 million international).

6. "Instant Family," $5.6 million ($1.7 million international).

7. "Green Book," $3.9 million.

8. "Robin Hood," $3.6 million ($7.5 million international).

9. "Possession of Hannah Grace," $3.2 million ($4.8 million international).

10. "Widows," $3.1 million ($4.5 million international).

‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ tops a slow post-Thanksgiving box office

On a typically sleepy post-Thanksgiving weekend in movie theaters, leftovers led the box office with Disney's "Ralph Breaks the Internet repeating as No. 1 with $25.8 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The "Wreck-It Ralph" sequel dropped steeply (54 percent) after nearly setting a Thanksgiving record last weekend. But with only one new film in wide release, nothing came close to "Ralph Breaks the Internet," which sends John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman's video-game characters into cyberspace. In 11 days of release, the $175 million film has cleared $207 million worldwide.

Still going strong in its fourth week of release, Universal's "The Grinch" came in second with $17.7 million in ticket sales. "The Grinch," the Illumination animated production with Benedict Cumberbatch as the Christmas curmudgeon, surpassed $200 million domestically and edged in front of last week's No. 2 film, the "Rocky" sequel "Creed II."

Like "Ralph Breaks the Internet," MGM's boxing drama also slid sizably after a big holiday opening, declining 53 percent. "Creed II," with Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, took in $16.8 million in its second weekend. It has thus far grossed $81.2 million on a $50 million budget.

The week's lone new wide release, the Sony Screen Gems horror film "The Possession of Hannah Grace," opened modestly with $6.5 million. Orion Picture's "Anna and the Apocalypse," a well-reviewed indie mash-up — your standard zombie-comedy-musical — debuted in five theaters, with about $50,000 in ticket sales.

"Crazy Rich Asians," Warner Bros.' breakout summer hit, was a dud in China. Warner Bros. said the acclaimed romantic comedy, which earned $173 million domestically, debuted in China with just $1.2 million. John M. Chu's Singapore-set film, which opened Aug. 14 in the U.S., took months to secure a release date in China, a delay some have attributed to the film's depiction of extremely wealthy Chinese Singaporeans.

"Crazy Rich Asians" was a hit at the Singapore box office, but, like most comedies, it hasn't been as much a sensation abroad as it was in the U.S.; it's earned $64 million overseas. The film's performance in China, though, is potentially worrisome for Warner Bros. Its planned sequel, "China Rich Girlfriend," aims to better capitalize on the world's second-largest film market.

One film that didn't dip much on the weekend was Universal's "Green Book," which grossed $3.9 million on 1,065 screens, dropping 29 percent. The uplifting 1962 road trip drama, starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen, has struggled to match Oscar buzz with box office. But last week, "Green Book" was named best film of the year by the National Board of Review, and Universal is hoping it holds strongly in the coming weeks.

"Free Solo" became the year's fourth documentary to cross $10 million. Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin's documentary about Alex Honnold's ropeless ascent of Yosemite National Park's El Capitan rock face, has joined the most lucrative batch of documentaries ever released in a year: "Three Identical Strangers," ''RBG" and "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.

1. "Ralph Breaks the Internet," $25.8 million ($33.7 million international).

2. "The Grinch," $17.7 million.

3. "Creed II," $16.8 million.

4. "Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald," $11.2 million.

5. "Bohemian Rhapsody," $8.1 million.

6. "Instant Family," $7.2 million.

7. "Possession of Hannah Grace," $6.5 million.

8. "Robin Hood," $4.7 million.

9. "Widows," $4.4 million.

10. "Green Book," $3.9 million.

‘Wreck-It Ralph’ and ‘Rocky’ sequels top the Thanksgiving box office

Movie sequels are having their own Thanksgiving feast at the box office and fueling record industry-wide grosses for the long weekend.

"Ralph Breaks the Internet" and "Creed II" took the top two spots on the North American charts, beat the openings for the original films and helped the five-day Thanksgiving box office totals cross the $300 million mark for the first time ever.

Studios on Sunday said Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph" sequel earned an estimated $55.7 million over the three-day weekend and $84.5 million since its Wednesday opening to take first place and become one of the biggest Thanksgiving openings of all time.

Its five-day Thanksgiving grosses are the third highest of all time, behind "Frozen" and "Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

The film sees the return of the vocal talents of John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman, and it scored with audiences and critics.

"We're very thankful for this weekend," said Cathleen Taff, who oversees Disney's theatrical distribution. "It was a fantastic start and a great way to kick off the holiday season."

The Rocky spinoff "Creed II," starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, placed second with $35.3 million from the weekend and $55.8 million since Wednesday, far surpassing the first film's Thanksgiving debut in 2015. The sequel directed by Steven Caple Jr. has Jordan's Adonis Creed fighting the son of Ivan Drago.

"This is a timeless franchise for us at MGM, and it's a thrill to see both its legacy and new generation of audiences continue to respond to Rocky Balboa and Adonis Creed in this time when we need uplifting stories," Jonathan Glickman, president of MGM's Motion Picture Group, said in a statement.

Third place went to Illumination Entertainment's "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch," which earned $30.2 million in its second weekend, and just barely beat out the "Fantastic Beasts" sequel, "Crimes of Grindewald" ($29.7 million) which is also in weekend two.

There was little left at the table for the latest version of "Robin Hood," starring Taron Egerton. The poorly reviewed pic from Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment grossed only $9.1 million over the weekend and $14.2 million in its first five days in theaters against a reported production budget of nearly $100 million.

Universal's crowd-pleaser "Green Book," starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen, expanded to 1,063 locations after a limited start and took ninth place with $5.4 million.

Peter Farrelly directed the film based on a true story of a road trip through the Jim Crow-era South. With awards buzz, good reviews and an A+ CinemaScore for the movie, Universal's distribution chief Jim Orr said he expects it to have a long life at the domestic box office.

Another awards season movie, Fox Searchlight's acclaimed period piece "The Favourite," with Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Oliva Colman, opened in four locations to $420,000.

Overall, it was a remarkable Thanksgiving frame at the box office for the industry. It's the first time ever that the total domestic box office has surpassed $300 million over the five days counted around the Thanksgiving holiday. Box office tracker Comscore is projecting a $314 million total.

"This is a perfectly fitting Thanksgiving for a year that's had its share of records being broken," said Comsore's senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "Ralph Breaks the Internet," $55.7 million.

2. "Creed II," $35.3 million.

3. "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch," $30.2 million.

4. "Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindewald," $29.7 million.

5. "Bohemian Rhapsody," $13.9 million.

6. "Instant Family," $12.5 million.

7. "Robin Hood," $9.1 million.

8. "Widows," $8 million.

9. "Green Book," $5.4 million.

10. "A Star Is Born," $3 million.