Weekend Estimates: ‘Aquaman’ Targets $69M+; ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ & ‘Bumblebee’ Race for Second; ‘Spider-Man’ Looks to Swing Another $17M+

Saturday Update: Aquaman is king of the box office waters following an estimated $28 million opening day on Friday. That figure is inclusive of Thursday night’s $9 million start, which brings the sneak preview-included domestic total gross to $32.7 million thus far. We’re lowering projections slightly back down to previous tracking levels of around $69 million, but we continue to emphasize that holding patterns are challenging this close to Christmas — particularly given this title’s two nights’ worth of fan-driven sneaks not included in the Friday gross. Due to those factors, it’s still possible the film could exceed $70 million for the three-day frame, which would be an excellent start.

You can also read our overseas update on Aquaman.

Bumblebee is off to a positive start with $8.46 million on opening day Friday. For comparison, Night at the Museum 3 took in $5.7 million on opening Friday before Christmas back in 2014. Our projection for the weekend is around $22.5 million for now, but signs are emerging that it has some potential to over-perform and open in second place this weekend. Early word of mouth is very encouraging, underlining expectations that the family-friendly reboot could eventually leg out to $100 million or more domestically before the end of its run.

Part of the reason for that is due to Mary Poppins Returns, which with $6.7 million on Friday continues to perform at the most conservative end of expectations. With $15.5 million in the domestic bank after three days, its Friday-Sunday frame is looking to register around $23 million — well below our initial forecasts ahead of release. In fairness, Disney’s own expectations for the title are being met (they expected around $35 million for the first five days). That said, despite strong tracking and pre-sales reports that rivaled those of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle last year, the film is in a tight race for second or third place this weekend. On the optimistic side, we remain encouraged by potential for staying power in the weeks ahead due to the film’s older audience and positive word of mouth.

In fourth place yesterday, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse added $4.85 million for an updated $52.95 million domestic total. Sony expects $17.45 million this weekend.

As The Mule capped the top five with $2.76 million yesterday, STX’s Second Act earned $2.49 million on opening day in sixth place. The moderately budgeted $16 million film is successfully counter-programming with its target audience, aiming for an $8 million frame (per studio projections).

Meanwhile, The Grinch added $2.36 million for an updated $247.4 million domestic cume, while Welcome to Marwen bowed to $909K on Friday. The Favourite and Mary Queen of Scots rounded out the top eleven with $625K and $622K from 790 and 795 locations, respectively.

Early weekend estimates are below. Follow Boxoffice for more updates throughout the Christmas and New Year’s corridor.

Early Weekend Estimates (Domestic)
FRI, DEC. 21 – SUN, DEC. 23

WIDE (1000+)

1 Aquaman $69,000,000 4,125 $16,727 $69,000,000 2 Warner Bros.
2 Mary Poppins Returns $23,000,000 4,090 $5,623 $31,814,671 1 Disney
3 Bumblebee $22,500,000 3,550 $6,338 $22,500,000 1 Paramount Pictures
4 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse $17,450,000 -51% 3,813 0 $4,576 $65,550,063 2 Sony / Columbia
5 The Mule $10,500,000 -40% 2,656 68 $3,953 $36,203,465 2 Warner Bros.
6 Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch $9,100,000 -23% 2,780 -979 $3,273 $254,139,975 7 Universal
7 Second Act $8,000,000 2,607 $3,069 $8,000,000 2 STX Entertainment
8 Ralph Breaks the Internet $5,300,000 -43% 2,495 -1080 $2,124 $162,794,930 5 Disney
9 Welcome to Marwen $2,710,000 1,911 $1,418 $2,710,000 1 Universal Pictures
10 Mortal Engines $1,900,000 -75% 3,103 0 $612 $12,164,960 2 Universal
11 Bohemian Rhapsody $1,900,000 -56% 1,168 -1045 $1,627 $184,731,798 8 20th Century Fox
12 Once Upon A Deadpool $800,000 -70% 1,428 -138 $560 $5,764,257 2 20th Century Fox

LIMITED (100 — 999)

1 Mary Queen of Scots $2,300,000 229% 795 729 $2,893 $3,603,755 3 Focus Features
2 The Favourite $2,200,000 -16% 790 349 $2,785 $10,227,140 5 Fox Searchlight
3 Green Book $1,400,000 -50% 732 -483 $1,913 $27,523,971 6 Universal Pictures
4 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald $830,000 -78% 682 -1924 $1,217 $154,422,713 6 Warner Bros.
5 A Star is Born $340,000 -67% 262 -580 $1,298 $200,061,727 12 Warner Bros.
6 The Nutcracker and the Four Realms $250,000 -56% 241 -403 $1,037 $54,208,430 8 Walt Disney Pictures
7 Robin Hood $95,000 -92% 230 -1490 $413 $30,414,419 5 Lionsgate / Summit

PLATFORM (1 — 99)

No records.


Friday Report: Warner Bros.’ Aquaman is off to a big start domestically with a reported $9.0 million Thursday night debut. That’s not far behind Venom ($10.0 million) and Ant-Man and the Wasp ($11.5 million), especially when considering that figure excludes $2.9 million earned from Amazon Prime screenings on December 15 and an additional $1.8 million from December 19 previews. In total, the DC pic has already earned $13.7 million stateside prior to Friday’s first full day of release, maintaining a course to exceed previous tracking and line up with more optimistic final pre-release forecasts.

Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, while technically the second place film of the day, added $4.053 million in its second full day of release Thursday. The sequel was down 15 percent from Wednesday’s opening, another early indicator that the five-day and seven-day first week through Christmas will likely land on the conservative end of expectations. Through two days, the domestic total is $8.82 million.

Paramount reports that Bumblebee scored a solid $2.15 million start last night, excluding $700K from December 8 screenings. In all, the prequel to five previous Transformers films is performing as expected thus far with a $2.85 million head-start into the weekend and holiday corridor.

Rounding out the openers, Second Act took in $515K for STX and Welcome to Marwen earned $190K from 1,600 locations for Universal/DreamWorks.

Keep following Boxoffice for more updates.