Box Office Rewind: How Often Has a Studio Replaced Itself at Number One?

Diane Lane (left) stars as “Margaret Blackledge” and Kevin Costner (right) stars as “George Blackledge” in director Thomas Bezucha’s LET HIM GO, a Focus Features release. Credit : Kimberley French / Focus Features

How often does a distributor replace itself atop the box office?

In light of Focus Features accomplishing the uncommon feat this past weekend, Boxoffice PRO combed through every weekend since 2000 and calculated the answer: on average, a distributor replaces itself atop the box office only about twice a year. In the last four years, it’s happened 10 times.

From newest to oldest, here are those 10 most recent examples, followed by a full list of all 43 such occurrences since 2000 at bottom.

November 6, 2020: Let Him Go replaces Come Play (Focus Features)

On Halloween weekend, horror title Come Play topped the box office with $3.1 million. The very next frame, thriller Let Him Go, based on the Larry Watson novel of the same name, claimed the lead with $4.0 million. This marked the first time that Focus Features ever accomplished the back-to-back feat—made possible by the delay of Disney’s Black Widow from November 6 to May 7, 2021.

August 16, 2019: Good Boys replaces Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Universal)

The action spinoff led for two weekends, earning $25.2 million in its sophomore frame before ceding the top spot to the R-rated comedy with $21.4 million. Universal’s The Purge replaced Fast & Furious 6 on June 7, 2013. The franchise’s next installment, F9, is scheduled for release May 28, 2021.

April 19, 2019: The Curse of La Llorona replaces Shazam! (Warner Bros.)

Warner Bros.’ Shazam! led for two weekends, earning $24.4 million through its sophomore frame, before the Conjuring franchise installment debuted with $26.3 million. Shazam: Fury of the Gods is scheduled for release June 2, 2023, while the Conjuring installment The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is scheduled for release June 4, 2021.

Courtesy: Universal

September 28, 2018: Night School replaces The House with a Clock in its Walls (Universal)

Family-friendly dark comedy Night School debuted with $26.6 million and was followed by the $27.2 million debut of the Kevin Hart-Tiffany Haddish comedy Night School. 2018 proved a good year for Universal, which earned more than $1 billion globally with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and would win the Academy Award for Best Picture for Green Book.

September 7, 2018: The Nun replaces Crazy Rich Asians (Warner Bros.)

The romantic comedy spent an impressive three weekends atop the box office, earning $21.9 million in its third frame, until being unseated by The Nun‘s $53.8 million debut. An untitled Nun sequel is in development, though a release date has not yet been officially announced. Crazy, which was the replacee in this case, had been the replacer mere weeks earlier…

August 17, 2018: Crazy Rich Asians replaces The Meg (Warner Bros.)

The shark thriller starring Jason Statham, who also starred as Deckard Shaw in the aforementioned Hobbs & Shaw, took a bite out of the box office with a $45.4 million debut. The next frame, the romantic comedy debuted with $26.5 million, the first of three straight chart-topping frames.

July 20, 2018: The Equalizer 2 replaces Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (Sony)

The animated comedy sequel opened with $44.0 million, after which the Denzel Washington action sequel debuted to $36.0 million. Hotel Transylvania 4 is scheduled for release August 6, 2021.

December 15, 2017: Star Wars: The Last Jedi replaces Coco (Disney)

Pixar’s animated tale spent three weekends at #1, with $18.4 million in its third frame, but of course it was no match for the biggest box office franchise of all time. The Star Wars sequel debuted with $220.0 million, at the time the second-biggest domestic opening of all time behind only predecessor The Force Awakens. (It now ranks fourth, behind Avengers: EndgameAvengers: Infinity War, and Force.) Coco earned $734 thousand in an October 2020 re-release tied to Halloween.

October 27, 2017: Jigsaw replaces Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween (Lionsgate)

Two frames before Halloween 2017, the comedy-horror film started with $21.2 million. Then, during the frame right before Halloween, the “actual” horror film and eighth installment in the Saw franchise cut to $16.6 million. The franchise’s ninth installment Spiral is set for release on May 21, 2021– the first film in the series to be released outside of October.

December 16, 2016: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story replaces Moana (Disney)

Disney’s animated musical starring the voice of Dwayne Johnson, who played Luke Hobbs in the aforementioned Hobbs & Shaw, spent three weekends atop the box office, including $18.5 million in its third frame. When the Star Wars spinoff began with $155.0 million, it began a run that culminated in its becoming the highest grossing film of the year domestically and second-biggest globally behind Captain America: Civil War.

All weekends when a distributor replaced itself at #1 at the box office, since 2000:

Weekend New #1 film Prior #1 film Distributor
9/8/2000 The Watcher Bring It On Universal
4/20/2001 Bridget Jones’s Diary Spy Kids Miramax
7/6/2001 Cats & Dogs A.I.: Artificial Intelligence Warner Bros.
12/7/2001 Ocean’s Eleven Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Warner Bros.
7/5/2002 Men in Black 2 Mr. Deeds Sony
4/25/2003 Identity Anger Management Sony
9/19/2003 Underworld Once Upon a Time in Mexico Sony
11/19/2004 National Treasure The Incredibles Disney
2/11/2005 Hitch Boogeyman Sony
2/10/2006 The Pink Panther When a Stranger Calls Sony
4/28/2006 R.V. Silent Hill Sony
9/15/2006 Gridiron Gang The Covenant Sony
3/23/2007 TMNT 300 Warner Bros.
4/13/2007 Disturbia Blades of Glory Paramount
11/16/2007 Beowulf Bee Movie Paramount
4/11/2008 Prom Night 21 Sony
2/13/2009 Friday the 13th He’s Just Not That Into You Warner Bros.
10/2/2009 Zombieland Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Sony
5/21/2010 Shrek Forever After Iron Man 2 Paramount
10/22/2010 Paranormal Activity 2 Jackass 3D Paramount
2/11/2011 Just Go With It The Roommate Sony
2/25/2011 Hall Pass Unknown Warner Bros.
10/28/2011 Puss in Boots Paranormal Activity 3 Paramount
12/16/2011 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows New Year’s Eve Warner Bros.
1/6/2012 The Devil Inside Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Paramount
8/31/2012 The Possession The Expendables 2 Lionsgate
6/7/2013 The Purge Fast and Furious 6 Universal
1/17/2014 Ride Along Lone Survivor Universal
6/20/2014 Think Like a Man Too 22 Jump Street Sony
9/11/2015 The Perfect Guy War Room Sony
1/29/2016 Kung Fu Panda 3 The Revenant 20th Century Fox
2/12/2016 Deadpool Kung Fu Panda 3 20th Century Fox
5/6/2016 Captain America: Civil War The Jungle Book Disney
12/16/2016 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Moana Disney
10/27/2017 Jigsaw Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween Lionsgate
12/15/2017 Star Wars: The Last Jedi Coco Disney
7/20/2018 The Equalizer 2 Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Sony
8/17/2018 Crazy Rich Asians The Meg Warner Bros.
9/7/2018 The Nun Crazy Rich Asians Warner Bros.
9/28/2018 Night School The House with a Clock in its Walls Universal
4/19/2019 The Curse of La Llorona Shazam! Warner Bros.
8/16/2019 Good Boys Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Universal
11/6/2020 Let Him Go Come Play Focus Features
Diane Lane (left) stars as “Margaret Blackledge” and Kevin Costner (right) stars as “George Blackledge” in director Thomas Bezucha’s LET HIM GO, a Focus Features release. Credit : Kimberley French / Focus Features

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