WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: Three Top Circuits Pass on Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon in Underwhelming Debut

Image Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

With theaters in New York City and San Francisco reopening at limited capacity this weekend, three new studio releases took advantage of the expanded footprint and lifted the overall box office to one of its highest levels of the pandemic to date. Chief among these was Raya and the Last Dragon — Disney’s first domestic theatrical release since last March’s Onward — which debuted in first place with an estimated $8.6 million from 2,045 locations. (Read Boxoffice Pro‘s interview with Raya‘s creative team here.)

If $8.6 million sounds like a disappointing number in light of Tom & Jerry’s strong $14.1 million opening last weekend (the second-best debut of the pandemic to date after Wonder Woman 1984) that’s because the theatrical picture for Raya and the Last Dragon was considerably more complicated. As Deadline reported last week, only two out of the six largest circuits in North America played the film this weekend, with major exhibitors including Cinemark, Harkins, and Cineplex refusing to book the animated film due to stalled negotiations with Disney over licensing terms they deemed unfavorable (Regal, the second-largest circuit in North America, remains closed for now). As a result, the film opened in roughly 22% fewer locations than Tom & Jerry, thereby placing a lower ceiling on its potential grosses despite the reopening of those major coastal markets.

Were it not for Disney’s kerfuffle with exhibitors, Raya — which boasts a terrific 95% “Fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes and comes from the top family entertainment brand in the world — would have easily outperformed Tom & Jerry’s opening last weekend. Like that film, Raya was also made available for at-home viewing, though unlike Tom & Jerry, it came with an additional $30 PVOD fee for Disney+ subscribers, narrowing the gap between the theatrical and at-home viewing prices and theoretically making a trip to the multiplex more attractive. It’s just that in this case, many potential moviegoers simply didn’t have access to a major theater playing the film within a reasonable distance, unless they were close to an AMC or Marcus location, where Raya and the Last Dragon played in 509 and 61 sites, respectively. In light of this, it would be interesting to know just how the film played on PVOD this weekend, though of course there’s little chance Disney will be forthcoming with that data.

Following its far better-than-expected opening last weekend, Tom & Jerry fell to second place with an estimated $6.6 million from 2,563 locations, a 53% drop, as it contended with Raya and the Last Dragon’s entry into the marketplace. The top 10 DMA markets for the Warner Bros. release, which is also available on HBO Max, were New York, Dallas, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Detroit, Salt Lake City, Greater San Francisco/Bay Area, Philadelphia and Atlanta. The Warner Bros. live-action/animation hybrid now has $23 million through its first ten days of release.

Opening in third place was the YA sci-fi title Chaos Walking starring Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland, which grossed an estimated $3.83 million in 1,980 theaters (representing over 2,730 screens, including 217 IMAX and 400 PLF) — about what was expected heading into the weekend. Despite the presence of its two popular lead stars, the film may well have been dinged by a disappointing 23% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Lionsgate reports that the opening-weekend audience for the film was 54% male and 58% over the age of 25.

The final major new opener, Focus Features’ Boogie — the new drama from Fresh Off the Boat creator Eddie Huang — debuted in 1,252 theaters and grossed an estimated $1.2 million, placing it in fourth. The reopening of New York City theaters this weekend seems to have had a profound effect on the film’s box office, with the market accounting for nearly 20% of the weekend gross, while 7 out of its 20 top-grossing theaters were in Manhattan. The newly reopened San Francisco market, meanwhile, was the second-highest DMA for Boogie, accounting for roughly 4% of the weekend tally.

Crowded by dual competitors for the family demo this weekend, The Croods: A New Age dropped to fifth place with an estimated $780k, falling out of the top 3 as well as below the $1 million weekend threshold for the first time since it opened over Thanksgiving weekend last year. To date, the leggy Universal/Dreamworks Animation sequel has $53.61 in North America and $157.68 million worldwide.


Tom & Jerry grossed an estimated $5 million internationally, bringing its overseas cume to $34.3 million and its global tally to $57.3 million.

Chaos Walking opened to an estimated $2.6 million overseas from markets including Australia, Mexico, South Korea and New Zealand. Upcoming major markets include Russia (3/25), Finland (4/2) and Brazil (4/8).

Studio Weekend Estimates (Domestic)

Friday, March 5 – Sunday, March 7, 2021

Title Estimated weekend % change Locations Location change Average Total Weeks Distributor
Raya and the Last Dragon $8,600,000   2,045   $4,205 $8,600,000 1 Walt Disney
Tom and Jerry $6,615,000 -53% 2,563 88 $2,581 $22,957,000 2 Warner Bros.
Chaos Walking $3,825,000   1,980   $1,932 $3,825,000 1 Lionsgate
Boogie $1,200,000   1,252   $958 $1,200,000 1 Focus Features
The Croods: A New Age $780,000 -38% 1,604 -308 $486 $53,611,445 15 Universal
The Little Things $550,000 -41% 1,448 -405 $380 $13,686,000 6 Warner Bros.
Wonder Woman 1984 $511,000 -28% 1,217 -317 $420 $44,446,000 11 Warner Bros.
The Marksman $500,000 -29% 1,040 -374 $481 $13,002,509 8 Open Road
Judas and the Black Messiah $282,000 -44% 984 -366 $287 $4,465,000 4 Warner Bros.
Monster Hunter $260,000 -43% 1,074 -164 $242 $14,396,626 12 Sony Pictures
News of the World $160,000 -22% 838 -154 $191 $12,194,845 11 Universal
Land $150,000 -57% 1,015 -334 $148 $2,360,895 4 Focus Features
Wrong Turn $117,467 -6% 144 2 $816 $488,448 6 Saban Films
Crisis $110,471 -42% 210 -6 $526 $357,442 2 Quiver
Promising Young Woman $100,000 -4% 519 -56 $193 $5,388,530 11 Focus Features
The War with Grandpa $98,384 -29% 511 -110 $193 $20,636,091 22 101 Studios
The Mauritanian $90,000 -25% 252 -35 $357 $659,787 4 STX Entertainment
Blithe Spirit $28,334 -59% 86 -152 $329 $239,800 3 IFC Films
My Salinger Year $27,813   123   $226 $27,813 1 IFC Films
Fatale $25,000 -60% 196 -315 $128 $6,299,512 12 Lionsgate
The Vigil $6,952 -70% 24 -31 $290 $37,735 2 IFC Midnight
My Zoe $4,633 -86% 91 -146 $51 $48,240 2 Blue Fox Entertainment
Dara Of Jasenovac $1,017 -77% 9 -10 $113 $50,553 5 101 Studios
Image Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios
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