In non-Spider-Man box office news for Christmas, Illumination’s Sing 2 continued to be the honorable runner-up over the year-end blitz. Universal’s $85 million jukebox musical earned another $19.6 million over its second Fri-Sun weekend, dropping just 12% for a new $89.6 million domestic cume. Yes, Sing rose 22% in its second Fri-Sun weekend in late 2016/early 2017. However, Sing 2 held better than Little Fockers (-16% from a $30 million debut) in 2010, which was the last time Christmas and New Year’s were on Saturdays. If the Matthew McConaughey/Scarlett Johansson/Bono/etc. Animated sequel merely legs like the Ben Stiller/Robert De Niro threequel (1.45x its 12-day total), Sing 2 will end with $130 million.
That will A) be more than enough to sneak into the 2021 top-ten and B) bigger than any animated film since Frozen II ($477 million) in late 2019. Is that possible? Well, perhaps PVOD availability (as soon as this Friday) may impact grosses, but we’ve seen plenty of Universal titles thrive with concurrent theatrical/PVOD releases. Moreover, there’s nothing but nothing opening between now and Pixar’s Turning Red on March 11 that qualifies as specifically family-friendly/kid-friendly competition. The first two months will have R-rated (Scream, The 355, Jackass Forever) or older-skewing (The Batman, Death on the Nile, Moonfall) fare, films that will be more of a problem for Spider-Man: No Way Home than Sing 2.
The film has already earned $144.5 million worldwide, nearly doubling its production budget and putting it on the road to theatrical profitability no matter how well it fares in post-theatrical. No, it’s not getting anywhere near Sing ($271 million/$634 million in 2016), but that was never in the cards. $311 million worldwide would be a drop on par with The Secret Life of Pets 2 (from $875 million to $430 million) in non-Covid times. So, that feels like a “business as usual” bar for success, even if it will be profitable if it doesn’t hit that benchmark. It’s an obvious “don’t need to break records to break even” success story. It’ll open in South Korea and Brazil this week.
The King’s Man continued to flounder with just $4.5 million (-24%) in weekend two, bringing the film’s 12-day total to a mere $19.52 million. Kingsman: The Golden Circle earned $15 million on its first day in September 2017. Just because people liked The Kingsman for reasons specific to that series (Colin Firth and Taron Egerton in a present-tense ultraviolent, angrily political action-comedy riff on Roger Moore 007 movies) doesn’t mean they care enough about the IP to want to see a Joseph Fiennes-starring World War I-set prequel origin story. The Matthew Vaugn actioner, which to be fair is better than the previous sequel and is clearly a “one for me with an IP as an alibi” flick, has earned just $49 million worldwide.
American Underdog is living up to its title, earning $4.075 million (-31%) and placing above a handful of more high-profile titles. The faith-based (but not quite faith-centric) true-life NFL drama has now grossed $15 million nine-day domestic cume. The Zachary Levi/Anna Paquin flick will pass Will Smith’s King Richard ($14.6 million) and a slew of high-profile awards season titles (almost everything released over this awards season except for West Side Story, Dune, and House of Gucci) by the end. I wish football fans would have shown up for Lionsgate’s American Underdog *and* STX’s National Champions, but the latter is already available at home on PVOD. Lionsgate has exceled at selling aspirational (as opposed to confrontational) faith-based flicks, and this is no exception.
The Matrix Resurrections earned just $3.825 million (-64%). That’s on par with 67% drop (under far harsher conditions) for Wonder Woman 1984 (after a $16.4 million debut) last New Year’s weekend. This gives Lana Wachowski’s ambitious sci-fi deconstructive rom-rom a miserable $30.6 million 12-day cume. Covid and HBO Max aside, that’s worse than the $32 million 123-day cume for Keanu Reeves’ forgotten flop 47 Ronin in Christmas 2013. Yes, it’s doing better overseas, with a $75 million foreign gross and a $106 million global cume. But, alas, best case scenario is now a final global gross on par with Wonder Woman 1984 ($168 million) and The Suicide Squad ($167 million). I like all four Matrix films, but it’s clear nobody wanted a fourth installment.
Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner’s West Side Story will get a bit of year-end juice as it earns $2.1 million (-26%) over the weekend to put it at $29.5 million domestic and $47.1 million worldwide. At least now it’ll eventually be above In the Heights and Cats. It’s also, by default, the second-biggest awards season contender behind Dune ($107 million) and House of Gucci ($49 million). Ghostbusters: Afterlife will earn $1.155 million (+27%) in weekend seven for a $123.5 million domestic and $179 million worldwide cume. It won’t reach the domestic cume of Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, whose $126 million domestic and $229 million worldwide finish would have been fine had the remake not cost $144 million. Once again, overseas audiences don’t care about Ghostbusters.
Licorice Pizza will earn $1.249 million (-35%) for a $6.3 million cume while A Journal for Jordan will earn $1.175 million (-47%) for a $4.74 million nine-day cume. House of Gucci has passed $125 million worldwide, which is halfway decent for a $75 million, R-rated drama in this current environment. Meanwhile, Encanto is at $205 million worldwide, obviously an objectively miserable rate-of-return result but I expect it to be as leggy on Disney+ as was Luca this summer. The French Dispatch has earned $16 million domestic, almost tied with Rushmore ($17 million in 1998), while earning $41 million worldwide on a $25 million budget. It’s not a “hit,” but it’s good enough to encourage Disney to let Searchlight distribute the next Wes Anderson film.