Amid the most crowded theatrical marketplace of new releases since the start of the pandemic, Sony/Marvel’s record-breaking Spider-Man: No Way Home predictably remained the top draw at the box office over the Christmas weekend, pulling in an estimated $81.5M over the three-day and $138.7M over the five-day in its sophomore frame.
The superhero blockbuster towered over all newcomers, though the Universal sequel Sing 2 proved a popular alternative option for families. Mixed results were in store for the remainder of this weekend’s crop of fresh releases, which included the long-awaited reboot The Matrix Resurrections, action prequel The King’s Man, faith-based football biopic American Underdog and fact-based drama A Journal for Jordan. Meanwhile, United Artists expanded the arthouse hit Licorice Pizza to 786 locations. (For a rundown of box office results for this weekend’s specialty releases, head here.).
Hovering over the packed lineup was the rising threat posed by the Omicron variant, which has resulted in a major surge of Covid-19 infections across North America and likely caused many to rethink their plans to hit the multiplex over the weekend, particularly with families gathered in close quarters for the holiday. Not to mention, Christmas Eve fell on a Friday this year, which inevitably dampened turnout.
Nonetheless, Spider-Man: No Way Home, which debuted to a massive $260.1M last weekend – the second largest of any film to date – continued drawing crowds to rival any pre-pandemic release with a first-place finish from 4,336 locations, though it did fall a steeper-than-expected 69% from its opening frame. Its ten-day gross is the third-highest of all time, the second-highest in December and the third-highest for a superhero movie.
While falling short of the vaunted $100M threshold – a number surpassed by only six films in domestic box office history – No Way Home‘s sophomore weekend is still impressive, particularly given the current heightened state of the pandemic. Through Sunday, the latest installment in the sprawling MCU franchise has taken in an incredible $467.3M, putting it about $14M ahead of the pace of 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, which had $453.1M at the same point in its run. It boasted the third-highest Christmas Day gross of all time on Saturday with an estimated $31.7M.
Globally, Spider-Man: No Way Home surpassed the $1B threshold in only its second weekend with $1.05B to date, including $587.1M from overseas. Internationally, No Way Home grossed an estimated $121.4M from 61 territories this weekend, with a drop of 57% across repeating markets. Here’s a breakdown of the top territories:
|Market||Weekend||Cume to Date|
Opening in second place was Sing 2, which took advantage of the family-friendly Christmas corridor and posted an estimated $23.76M over the three-day weekend and $41M since Wednesday from 3,892 locations (those numbers include $1.6M from November sneak previews). While that three-day start is lower than the first film in the series, which grossed $32.2M over the same weekend in 2016, it bears repeating that Omicron concerns likely depressed turnout among family audiences given that many children still aren’t fully vaccinated – while children under the age of 5 aren’t yet eligible to receive the vaccine at all.
While Sing 2 debuted lower than many analysts had expected, this was a relatively good result for the follow-up, which clearly profited from being the first major animated film to hit theaters since Disney’s Encanto debuted over the Thanksgiving frame. It debuted just a couple of notches lower than that film, which had a three-day opening of $27.2M. Predictably, nearly two-thirds of the audience (64%) was made up of parents and children under the age of 12.
On the positive side, Sing 2 has the remainder of the holiday corridor to take advantage of schools being closed. If it can boast anywhere near the legs of its predecessor – which legged it to a terrific $270.5M domestic total – it may well remain a sturdy performer over the next few weeks, particularly given its exclusivity in theaters. Sing 2’s 67% Rotten Tomatoes score is just a tick below that of the first film, which finished with a 71% average. Its audience rating on Cinemascore, meanwhile, is a perfect A+, while its RT Audience Score is 97%, boding well for the film’s word-of-mouth potential.
Overseas, Sing 2 took in an additional $19.2M from 38 territories, including 22 new openings, bringing its international tally to $24.8M and its global total to $65.8M. The film opened to $6M in France (including $2.1M from sneak previews), $3.6M in Mexico (including $1.1M in previews), $2.4M in Russia, $1.6M in Spain (including $0.7M in previews) and $1.3M in Australia (including $0.6M in previews).
The Matrix Resurrections debuted in third place with an estimated $12M over the three-day weekend and $22.5M over the five-day from 3,552 locations. That’s the lowest three-day opening for an installment in the long-dormant franchise by far, though of course the film’s day-and-date opening on HBO Max – among other factors – made that an all but inevitable outcome.
So, what are those aforementioned other factors that may have dampened turnout for Resurrections this weekend? Aside from the obvious – that being the Omicron surge – what remains undeniable is The Matrix series’ checkered history with fans. After wowing audiences with its first entry in 1999 and rising to sleeper-blockbuster status, the franchise reached its box office peak with Reloaded four years later but dropped off sharply with third installment Revolutions, which wound up grossing less than the first film thanks to poor word-of-mouth, with fans largely decrying the sequels’ convoluted plots. That may have led audiences who saw the original trilogy to sit out the latest entry (at least in theaters).
Another indisputable element affecting turnout for Resurrections is the fact that it’s been nearly two decades since the last sequel was released, meaning a substantial portion of the Gen Z audience is simply unfamiliar with the series. That made marketing to the younger demographic a challenge, particularly with a film like Spider-Man: No Way Home currently sucking up all the theatrical dollars. Lastly, while reviews for Resurrections were on the positive side of mixed, they probably weren’t glowing enough to convince reticent moviegoers, including those who felt burned by Reloaded and Revolutions, to buy a ticket.
The overall Cinemascore for Resurrections was a B-, while the under-25 segment of the audience, which comprised just 18% of the opening weekend crowd, gave it a B. Meanwhile, men made up the majority of the audience at 61%.
Internationally, Resurrections grossed an estimated $35M from 75 markets, bringing its total overseas gross to $47.3M and its global tally to $69.8M. Top-grossing markets this weekend included the U.K. ($3.9M), France ($3.1M), Mexico ($2.2M), Germany ($1.7M), Hong Kong ($1.5M), Brazil, Japan, Korea, Spain (all $1.4M) and Taiwan ($1.2M). Grosses in Australia, where the film opened today, are expected at $1.4M. Resurrections will hit theaters in China on January 14.
Landing in fourth place was the Disney-released 20th Century Studios title The King’s Man, a prequel to the popular Kingsman action series, which debuted exclusively in theaters. With an estimated $6.35M over the three-day frame and $10M over the five-day from 3,180 locations, the film came in well below previous entries Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kingsman: The Golden Circle, which grossed an estimated $36.2M and $39M, respectively, over their three-day opening frames. Reviews for the new installment were underwhelming – it has a 43% average on Rotten Tomatoes – though it garnered a 76% Audience Score on RT and a B+ Cinemascore from viewers.
It’s worth noting that The King’s Man lacked a footprint on premium screens, which are dominated by films like No Way Home and The Matrix Resurrections. Strong competition from those action-oriented titles also inevitably hurt the prequel’s box office chances this weekend. The film skewed heavily male over its opening frame, with men making up 65% of the audience. Fifty-four percent of the opening weekend crowd fell in the 18-34 age range.
Overseas, The King’s Man took in an additional $6.9M from seven territories, including Korea ($3.5M), Japan ($2.1M) and Indonesia ($0.6M); it opened at No. 2 in all three of those markets. The film also debuted in the U.K. today (Sunday), with the studio projecting an opening-day gross of $0.5M.
In fifth place was Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Company’s biopic American Underdog, which stars Shazam! lead Zachary Levi as NFL player and Super Bowl champion Kurt Warner. Landing squarely in faith-based audiences’ wheelhouse, the drama, released on Christmas Day, capitalized on its feel-good themes to reach an estimated $6.2M for the weekend, despite only playing on Saturday and Sunday. The opening-weekend audience was 52% male and 79% over the age of 25.
Sixth place went to Disney/20th Century Studios’ West Side Story, which took in an estimated $2.8M over the three-day frame (down just 24%) and $4.19M over the five-day in its third weekend. The total for the Steven Spielberg-directed musical to date is a disappointing $23.9M. Overseas, it took in an additional $1.7M for an international tally of $12.7M and a global total of $36.6M.
Expanding semi-wide on Christmas Day after playing in just 4 locations for four weeks was United Artists’ Licorice Pizza, which grossed an estimated $2.33M over the three-day from 786 locations and $2.35M over the five-day. That landed the Paul Thomas Anderson-directed film in seventh place, for a total of $3.67M through Sunday. The studio reports that Licorice Pizza skewed young this weekend, with 66% of the audience in the 18-34 age range.
In eighth place was the weekend’s final wide newcomer, A Journal for Jordan, which debuted with an estimated $2.2M from 2,500 locations after opening on Christmas Day. The Sony romantic drama, which stars Michael B. Jordan and was directed by Denzel Washington, garnered mixed reviews.
Disney’s Encanto, which began streaming for free to Disney+ subscribers beginning on Christmas Eve, dropped a steep 69% this weekend with an estimated $2M over the three-day weekend and $3.87M over the five-day, good for ninth place. That dropoff can be attributed to the film’s streaming availability as well as the entry of Sing 2 in the marketplace. The animated musical has $88.3M through the end of its fifth weekend. Internationally, Encanto grossed an estimated $4.6M from 45 territories for an international total of $105M and a global tally of $193.3M. It is now the sixth-highest-grossing film of all time in Colombia (where the film is set) with a total of $9.7M, as well as the second-highest-grossing animated film of all time in the country.
In tenth place, Reliance Entertainment’s Cricket World Cup-themed Indian drama ’83 grossed an estimated $1.76M over the three-day frame from 481 locations after opening on Friday.
Sunday’s Studio Weekend Estimates: December 24-26, 2021
|Title||Estimated weekend||% change||Locations||Location change||Average||Total||Weekend||Distributor|
|Spider-Man: No Way Home||$81,500,000||-69%||4,336||n/c||$18,796||$467,331,855||2||Sony Pictures|
|The Matrix Resurrections||$12,000,000||3,552||$3,378||$22,500,000||1||Warner Bros.|
|The King’s Man||$6,350,000||3,180||$1,997||$10,009,631||1||20th Century Studios|
|West Side Story||$2,800,000||-23%||2,810||-10||$996||$23,915,766||3||20th Century Studios|
|Licorice Pizza||$2,327,000||2609%||786||782||$2,961||$3,665,819||5||United Artists Releasing|
|A Journal for Jordan||$2,200,000||2,500||$880||$2,200,000||1||Sony Pictures|
|Ghostbusters: Afterlife||$1,235,000||-64%||1,728||-1,554||$715||$120,460,060||6||Sony Pictures|
|The French Dispatch||$40,000||-64%||70||-110||$571||$15,925,226||10||Searchlight|