When anticipating the performance of Marvel Studios’ Eternals this weekend, the question was never whether the superhero flick would dominate the early November frame – that, as with all MCU releases, was a given – but rather how high it would fly.
We now have our answer. According to estimates, the ensemble pic grossed $71M from 4,090 locations – the fourth-highest opening of the pandemic to date after Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($90.3 million), Black Widow ($80.37M) and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ($75.39M). Though it came in at the low end of expectations and ranks as a relatively small number in the grand scheme of MCU titles — which routinely grossed $100 million or more in their opening weekends pre-pandemic — in the age of Covid-19 that counts as a win no matter what film you’re talking about. Of the weekend total, $7.6M, or 11%, came from IMAX screens.
Though some earlier predictions had Eternals potentially opening as high as $100M, once reviews hit that possibility became more and more remote. Importantly, this is the first of the MCU movies to boast a “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where it currently stands at 48%. Importantly, that makes Eternals the first MCU movie ever to receive a “splat” on the review aggregator (the previous low for the franchise, 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, came in nearly 20 points higher at 66%.) While the series’ hardcore fanbase will turn out for these movies regardless of the critical reception, the underwhelming reviews may have dampened enthusiasm among more casual viewers.
Another factor worth mentioning is the Eternals “brand,” which – while positioned as one part of the serialized, interlocking MCU franchise – simply doesn’t resonate with general audiences in the same way as an Avengers or a Spider-Man. Luckily, the Marvel brand is strong enough on its own to pull in massive crowds regardless of built-in awareness, and this weekend’s solid opening number is a testament to the conversation-dominating power of the franchise in the cultural imagination. Demo-wise, a whopping 73% of the opening weekend audience for the film was under the age of 35, while it skewed heavily male (61% vs. 39% women).
Whether Eternals can hold up in subsequent weekends is another question entirely. A valuable comparison on that front is this year’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. That film, which was also exclusive to theaters and featured a lesser-known character, opened to $75.4M in September and was buffeted by stellar reviews and positive word-of-mouth. That film has now taken in $223.42M domestically, a nearly 3x multiplier, and it’s easy to see why when factoring in the positive buzz. Eternals, on the other hand, seems less likely to enjoy a sturdy run in the long term, at least when factoring in indicators including its “B” Cinemascore (vs. Shang-Chi’s “A”) and 81% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes (vs. 98% for Shang-Chi).
Luckily, Eternals has the next couple of weekends more or less to itself. The next major tentpole slated to hit theaters, Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, doesn’t arrive in multiplexes until November 19.
After reigning for two weeks at No. 1, Dune fell to the runner-up spot this weekend with an estimated $7.62M. That’s a smaller drop than last weekend (51% vs. 62%), as word-of-mouth remains strong for the Warner Bros. title, which debuted day-and-date on HBO Max. The sci-fi adaptation has $83.95M to date.
MGM/UA’s No Time to Die finished in third place with an estimated $6.18M — a drop of just 20% from last weekend — bringing the total for the James Bond title to $143.15M so far. Just behind it in fourth place was Venom: Let There Be Carnage, which grossed an estimated $4.47M in its sixth weekend of release. With $197M to date, the Sony blockbuster is inching towards the $200M mark, which would make it just the second film of the pandemic after Shang-Chi to hit that milestone.
20th Century Studios’ family-friendly sci-fi/comedy Ron’s Gone Wrong came in fifth place with an estimated $3.6M in its third weekend. While it dropped just 5% from last weekend, the animated title has had a disappointing run overall, with its tally standing at just $17.6M.
Searchlight Pictures’ The French Dispatch expanded from 788 to 1,205 locations this weekend and finished at No. 6 with an estimated $2.6M, giving the star-studded Wes Anderson-directed anthology film a total of $8.47M to date. The specialty release had a per-screen average of $2,158 this weekend.
Seventh place went to Halloween Kills, which brought in an estimated $2.3M in its fourth weekend of release. With the titular holiday having passed, the horror sequel now has $89.71M and is primed to finish its run just shy of $100M.
In eighth place was Neon’s Spencer, which stars an awards-tipped Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana. The hype around Stewart’s performance has generated substantial interest for the specialty title, which took in an estimated $2.15M from 996 locations for a per-screen average of $2,158.
The remainder of the top 10 is comprised of two sophomore holdovers: Antlers ($2M) and Last Night in Soho ($1.8M), both of which debuted to soft numbers last weekend. Their respective tallies stand at $7.6M and $7.7M.
Internationally, Eternals opened at No. 1 in all key markets, tallying $90.7M from 46 territories. Top-performing markets included Korea ($14.4M), the U.K. ($7.1M), France ($6.7M), Mexico ($5.7M) and Australia ($5M). Disney reports that the film opened 26% ahead of Shang-Chi and 8% ahead of Black Widow in like-for-like markets. Eternals was also the highest opening weekend of the pandemic to date in Italy ($4.6M), Brazil ($4.2M) and Hong Kong ($3.4M). It has yet to open in China, where the release date is currently TBD. Next weekend, it debuts in Indonesia and UAE while it opens tomorrow in Russia.
No Time to Die grossed an estimated $27.23M from 72 territories — another fantastic international weekend for the film, which has taken in a phenomenal $524.3M overseas $667.1M worldwide. In China, the 007 entry dropped 59% to $11.45M in its second weekend, giving it $49.28M in the country. Totals elsewhere include $122.06M in the U.K. and Ireland, $67.68M in Germany, $30.02M in France and $21.72M in Japan.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage took in an additional estimated $11.4M from 54 markets this weekend, bringing its international tally to $227.6M and its global total to $424.6M. Top markets to date for the Sony title include Russia ($31.5M), Mexico ($22.8M), the U.K. ($22.1M) and South Korea ($17.8M). Forthcoming releases include Australia (November 25) and Japan (December 3).
Dune took in an estimated $11.1M from 75 markets, bringing its international total to a terrific $246.5M and its global total to $330.4M.
Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates: November 5-7, 2021
|Title||Estimated weekend||% change||Locations||Location change||Average||Total||Weekend||Distributor|
|No Time to Die||$6,180,899||-20%||3,007||-500||$2,056||$143,152,307||5||United Artists Releasing (MGM)|
|Venom: Let There be Carnage||$4,465,000||-22%||2,640||-638||$1,691||$197,007,635||6||Sony Pictures|
|Ron’s Gone Wrong||$3,600,000||-4%||2,650||-910||$1,358||$17,577,325||3||20th Century Studios|
|The French Dispatch||$2,600,000||n/c||1,205||417||$2,158||$8,469,072||3||Searchlight|
|Last Night in Soho||$1,800,000||-57%||3,016||n/c||$597||$7,638,635||2||Focus Features|
|The Addams Family 2||$1,440,868||-53%||1,807||-950||$797||$54,943,101||6||United Artists Releasing|
|Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings||$502,000||-53%||440||-675||$1,141||$223,734,907||10||Walt Disney|
|The Last Duel||$151,000||-73%||220||-730||$686||$10,528,876||4||20th Century Studios|
|Free Guy||$80,000||9%||5||-180||$16,000||$121,504,769||13||20th Century Studios|
|The Souvenir Part II||$40,794||54%||15||12||$2,720||$73,244||2||A24|
|Jungle Cruise||$34,000||20%||75||-25||$453||$116,945,973||15||Walt Disney|
|Dear Evan Hansen||$29,000||-1%||220||-72||$132||$14,947,020||7||Universal|
|The Beta Test||$18,500||25||$740||$18,500||1||IFC Films|