Box Office

Weekend Box Office: ‘Ragnarok’ Remains Number One

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The North America box office continued its resurrection this weekend thanks to Paramount’s Daddy’s Home 2, Fox’s Murder on the Orient Express and Thor: Ragnarok, all which pulled in strong business.

Disney/Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok added $56.6 million in its second session on 4,080 screens. Off a moderate 54% from its massive opening one week ago, the acclaimed action comedy has pulled in a great $211.5 million to date. Ragnarok has already passed the final totals for both Thor ($181 million) and Thor: The Dark World ($206 million).

Ragnarok brought in $76 million this weekend, bringing its foreign haul up to $438.5 million. In just three short weeks, the third Thor standalone film has already passed the foreign hauls for fellow 2017 superhero flicks Logan ($391 million) and Wonder Woman ($409 million). It will pass Guardians of the Galaxy Volume Two’s $473 million by next weekend. The top five foreign markets for Ragnarok are China ($95 million), the United Kingdom ($34 million), South Korea ($31 million), Brazil ($24 million) and Australia with $20 million.

Thor and friends will come up against their first direct threat this week with the arrival of Warner’s Justice League, which should command the global box office by a wide margin next weekend. While the arrival of DC’s finest will steal a portion of Thor’s box office thunder, it probably will not be enough to prevent Ragnarok from clearing at least $300 million in North America and another $650 million overseas by the end of the year.

Two years ago, Paramount opened the Mark Wahlberg/Will Ferrell comedy Daddy’s Home on Christmas Day. Despite opening at a time where Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the dominant multiplex force, Daddy’s Home opened well and became a $150 million blockbuster. Naturally, a sequel was immediately green lighted.

While Paramount opted not to open Daddy’s Home 2 opposite the upcoming The Last Jedi, it did decide to launch between the openings for Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League. Did the strategy work? A solid $30 million from 3,575 theaters says “yes.”

There’s no real need to break down the critical response to this sequel, which brings back Wahlberg and Ferrell and adds John Lithgow and Mel Gibson to the mix. They hated the film. But then again, they also hated the first Daddy’s Home. Obviously, ticket buyers could care less what the press has to say which is a relief to Paramount, who desperately need a hit film following a year that has included box office bomb (Ghost in the Shell) after bomb (Transformers: The Last Knight) after bomb (mother!, Suburbicon).

Close behind Daddy’s Home 2 was Fox’s remake of Murder on the Orient Express with $28.2 million from 3,341 screens. Kenneth Branagh (Thor, Cinderella) directed and stars in the latest take on the classic Agatha Christie mystery tale which includes an all-star cast featuring Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer and Judy Dench. Reviews were mixed on the $55 million production, which earned a 58% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, a 53/100 on Metacritic and a “B” from ticket buyers on CinemaScore. Orient Express pulled in $46 million internationally this weekend, which pushed its total to $57 million after three weekends.

In fourth place was STX’s A Bad Moms’ Christmas, which had a strong hold in its second weekend on 3,615 screens. The R-rated comedy dipped a mere 31% from its opening to bring in an estimated $11.5 million. The domestic total for the sequel stands at $40 million so far with a possible finale near $70 million in the cards.

Rounding out the top five was Lionsgate’s Halloween offering Jigsaw with $3.4 million from 2,651 theaters. Off 48%, the Saw sequel has bagged $34.3 million so far.

  1.  Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween (LGF) $2 million (-54%); $46 million
  2.  Geostorm (Warner) $1.5 million (-52%); $31.6 million
  3.  Blade Runner 2049 (Warner) $1.4 million (-39%); $88 million
  4.  Happy Death Day (Universal) $1.3 million (-51%); $55 million
  5.  Lady Bird (A24) $1.29 million; $1.8 million

Actress Greta Gerwig’s highly acclaimed directorial debut entered the top ten while only playing on 37 screens. The future awards contender will expand to more theaters next weekend before going wide on Thanksgiving.

Next weekend, one thing is for certain: Justice League will command the box office while Thor steps down to second place. One thing that isn’t a certainty: just how big will League’s opening be? Early forecasts pegged the action epic to open around $120 million, but given the hype it may climb higher. Or it could open lower than Thor: Ragnarok. Hard to say until the dust settles next Sunday. One thing is for certain: given the marketing and production costs, Warner is hoping the League starts higher than Wonder Woman ($103 million), Suicide Squad ($133 million) and even Batman V Superman ($166 million). Anything below those three would be disastrous.

Also opening next weekend are the Sony animated feature The Star and the Lionsgate drama Wonder starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson.

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