As anticipated, BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER held onto the top spot at the box office for its second weekend. Going up against the only marginal new competition, WAKANDA FOREVER grossed $67.3, which is a rather severe drop of 63% from last weekend’s opening. Certainly, this is a disappointment both for Disney and exhibitors.
After besting the original BLACK PANTHER on its opening day, by the end of its first weekend, the sequel wound up with 90% of the gross earned by the original in its opening. After one full week, that number had dropped to 76%. After ten days, the decline, by comparison, continued with WAKANDA FOREVER earning only 71% off BLACK PANTHER’s grosses from 2018.
While no one dared to dream that the sequel would bring in BLACK PANTHER’s $700M the in the U.S. and Canada, many were projecting a theatrical run for the new film of $500M, which would have provided a bountiful Thanksgiving until the arrival of James Cameron’s AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER on December 16th.
It now appears that WAKANDA FOREVER will earn approximately $425M for its total theatrical run, which would add up to only 61% of BLACK PANTHER’s gross. Even this result cannot be taken for granted and will require strong ticket sales to continue through Thanksgiving and for the weekends of 12/2 and 12/9. Alarms are sounding after seeing a superhero blockbuster that is this well made and well-liked both by critics and audiences fail to live up to its lofty expectations. Studios may hesitate to invest $250M or more to create a can’t-lose blockbuster when the payoff is uncertain.
Searchlight’s black comedy THE MENU finished in second place with $9M in its opening weekend. The film stars Ralph Fiennes as a mysterious chef who serves his guests dinner… and then some… at an exclusive restaurant. Critics praised the creative plot and compelling performances, giving a 89% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. Moviegoers were slightly less enthusiastic, delivering an 81% audience score. Ticket sales for its opening weekend were largely in line with pre-release expectations, and its future grosses will benefit from the four-day holiday weekend ahead.
Angel Studios’ THE CHOSEN finished in third place with $8.2M at 2,039 theatres across North America. The theatrical release is made up of the first two episodes from the third season of a very popular TV series, whose first two seasons are available to stream on Amazon Prime, Tubi TV, Pureflix and Angel Studios’ own online channel.
The series focuses on the life of Jesus Christ and the drama of his relationship with the disciples. The show’s first two seasons have been viewed online over 440 million times and its creators had the brilliant idea to “eventize” its third season by bundling its first two episodes as a theatrical release, which is being distributed by Fathom Events.
The faith-based historical drama has developed a passionate audience, who have contributed $40M in crowdfunding to help offset its production costs. This is another example of a successful streaming series crossing over to become a theatrical release. Only a few weeks ago, Yellowstone on Paramount+ followed a similar path when it played on a more limited basis as a one-night-only cinematic event. Based on THE CHOSEN’s box office success this weekend, we can expect other successful TV series to dip their toe into the pool of theatrical distribution.
BLACK ADAM finished in fourth place with $4.5M, a drop of 44% from last weekend. It appears that BLACK ADAM’s total run will wind up with approximately $170M domestically, on the lower end of the expectations prior to its release five weeks ago. TICKET TO PARADISE came in fifth place for the weekend, with $3.2M. SHE SAID had a very disappointing opening weekend, coming in sixth place with only $2.3M. Universal’s story of the Harvey Weinstein investigation may be too serious for moviegoers trying to get into the holiday spirit.
In our limited-release watch, THE FABLEMANS continued to play for a second week at four select theatres in N.Y. and L.A. Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical coming-of-age story brought in $98K this weekend, which was 40% lower than ticket sales at those same theatres last weekend. Its true box office test will arrive on Wednesday when THE FABELMANS expands to more than 600 new locations.