Early Weekend Estimates: The Croods: A New Age Exceeding Pandemic-Era Expectations w/ $14M+ 5-Day Domestic / $35.8M Global Bow through Sunday

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures ("The Croods: A New Age")

Saturday, November 28: Universal updates this morning with an early weekend estimate of $9.73 million for the three-day frame, part of an overall estimated $14.23 million five-day domestic opening for The Croods: A New Age.

Globally, the studio projects a $35.83 million total through Sunday.

As mentioned in yesterday’s update, these figures — particularly on the domestic side — come in well ahead of pandemic-era expectations. While they remain a far cry short of what would be traditionally expected over a major holiday frame in the United States, they are nonetheless an indication of families showing willingness to venture out to theaters where safe to do so. Demand for a major family-driven feature film, combined with eight months of lockdowns, are no doubt driving interest.

Notably, if these estimates hold, the animated sequel will surpass Tenet as the top domestic opener during the pandemic. The Christopher Nolan epic bowed to $9.35 million (a figure yet to be confirmed by Warner Bros., but cited in an official Universal email today) during its first wide weekend after a Canadian release and weekday preview grosses in the United States.

International Update

Overseas, the Croods follow-up is pacing for $21.6 million through Sunday across seven markets. $20 million of that comes from China alone. The studio estimates a finish atop the box office in that country, topping local titles Caught in Time and One Second.

Additionally, the Croods sequel is trending 14 percent higher than Hotel Transylvania 3, 15 percent higher than Coco and Finding Dory, and 18 percent north of Toy Story 4 in China. Universal also notes this debut is in line with those of Ralph Breaks the Internet and Incredibles 2. It will become the third highest debut in China for a Hollywood film after Tenet and Mulan.

Updated estimates to follow from Universal — and presumably other studios — on Sunday morning.

Friday, November 27: Universal has checked in during this holiday break with a brief update on the early performance of The Croods: A New Age, reporting that the film has earned $4.6 million in its first two days of domestic release.

Broken down, that sum has been reached through a $1.9 million Wednesday opening and a $2.7 million Thursday haul. While Wednesday’s result was already slightly ahead of expectations, Thursday’s 42 percent increase was unexpected and quite atypical for Thanksgiving.

Traditionally, most films post a decline on the holiday — particularly those opening on the Wednesday immediately before, and especially franchise films with wide appeal. For example, Pixar’s Coco dropped over 32 percent from Wednesday to Thursday during the 2017 holiday week, and Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet slid 44.5 percent the year after. Both films, like Croods, opened the day before Thanksgiving.

What this translates to is another development of new trends during the pandemic in a market where less than half of theaters are currently operating due to the record surges of the virus and moviegoers are exercising caution, while open cinemas are limiting attendance. Front-loading is a term we haven’t used in a long time, nor are likely to again until sometime next year.

Ordinarily, we would expect a major Friday surge from Thursday after past Thanksgiving runs, but it’s difficult to tell if that will be the case this year. The aforementioned examples of Coco and Ralph more than doubled their Thanksgiving Day gross on Black Friday.

Our final forecast called for an $8.3 million five-day domestic opening (Wednesday through Sunday), a figure that looks increasingly possible (if not likely) for the sequel to top.

China Release

Meanwhile, the Croods follow-up is also starting its international run in China. The film opened to $3 million on opening day Thursday in the Middle Kingdom, marking the third best opening day for a Hollywood release in 2020 behind Tenet and Mulan.

Universal notes that the sequel’s opening Friday is on par with the original film’s first day gross back in 2013, which landed on a Saturday. A New Age is in a close race with local titles Caught in Time and One Second for the top spot at the Chinese box office, and is earning healthy pre-sales for Saturday and Sunday.

The Croods: A New Age will open in another six markets this weekend, followed by a staggered rollout over the next couple of months.

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