For the second time in the last three weeks, four new wide-release titles opened this weekend. If quantity were a guarantee of results, theatres would be in great shape. Alas, the actual box office was less impressive.
Variance/AMC released RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ, their second high-profile concert movie in the last six weeks, while Toho/Emick brought the Japanese import GODZILLA MINUS ONE, Angel Studios offered their sci-fi thriller THE SHIFT and Lionsgate stirred the actioner SILENT NIGHT into the mix.
All films in theatres this weekend generated $94.7M, which compares favorably with the $55M earned on the same weekend last year. Next year when the industry may still be struggling with the effects of the 2023 labor strikes, we may look back longingly at our good fortune to have four new wide releases on the same weekend.
As predicted, RENAISSANCE: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ finished in first place with a three-day total of $21M. By comparison, TAYLOR SWIFT: THE ERAS TOUR took in $92.8M in its opening weekend six weeks ago. Had it been five years ago when these two singers faced off, Beyoncé might have come out ahead of her pop rival, but 2023 has been “The Year of Taylor Swift.”
RENAISSANCE had to contend with THE ERAS TOUR itself, which was still playing in hundreds of theatres across North America. An even bigger factor was the $30 list price for tickets to see the Beyoncé movie, which was $10 higher than the $20 charged to see Taylor Swift’s movie.
Beyonce sold approximately 700,000 tickets in its opening three days, compared to 4.6M for Taylor Swift. Beyonce wound up grossing 23% of Swift’s box office, but only 15% of Swift’s attendance. A lower price ticket would have resulted in higher attendance and perhaps a bigger overall box office number.
This is not to say that Beyonce’s concert film is any less enjoyable. It earned an exceptionally rare 100% score from both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes, even better than the 99%/98% scores for THE ERAS TOUR. RENAISSANCE’s box office helped exhibitors stave off the usual post-Thanksgiving drop-in box office before the pre-Christmas openings arrived.
With a $10M-$20M production cost, roughly the same as THE ERAS TOUR, RENAISSANCE will generate a healthy profit and represents another achievement in Beyoncé’s wonderous career.
THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES finished in second with $14.5M, a decline of 50% from last weekend. The fantasy sequel finished #1 in its first two weekends and has now amassed $121.2M domestic and $216M worldwide. The 50% drop is better than some had expected and positions it to continue at most locations through Christmas.
After opening in Japan last month, Toho’s GODZILLA MINUS ONE came ashore in North America to sell $11M and earn a third-place finish. This is the 37th feature in the past 70 years for the Japanese dino star, whose origin story emerges from the fallout of American nuclear tests in the Pacific.
The plot of MINUS ONE pays homage to the original 1954 movie, set amidst the devastation of post-war Japan which is further impacted by the arrival of the giant monster. MINUS ONE has already earned $27M in Japan, against a modest $15M production budget. Most everyone loves the new movie, with critics and audiences giving it an extremely solid 97% and 98% respectively on Rotten Tomatoes.
TROLLS BAND TOGETHER finished in fourth with an additional $7.6M and a decline of 57% from last weekend. The cute little buggers have grossed $74.8M domestic over the past 17 days. Disney’s WISH could only manage fifth place in its second weekend, with $7.4M in new sales and a 12-day total of $42M domestic.
Shockingly, WISH’s 62% drop was greater than the 58% weekend #2 drop experienced by last year’s flop STRANGE WORLD. Even though WISH has already surpassed the total domestic run of $38M for STRANGE WORLD, its sharp drop assures that Universal’s TROLLS BAND TOGETHER will come out ahead of Disney’s WISH to win the battle between the two animated family films of the season.
The remaining two wide opening films were not able to crack the top five, with Angel Studios’ THE SHIFT collecting $4.4M and an 8th place finish and Lionsgate’s SILENT NIGHT bringing in a meager $3M to finish in 9th place.
Where Are We as of 11/30
After 47 weeks, the 2023 year-to-date box office stands at 123% compared with the same point in 2022 and 82% compared with 2019.