"Frozen 2" blanketed multiplexes for the third straight weekend, continuing its reign at No. 1 with $34.7 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The Walt Disney Co. animated sequel has already grossed $919.7 million worldwide. It will soon become the sixth Disney release this year to cross $1 billion, a record sure to grow to seven once "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" hits theaters later this month. Early next week, Disney will cross $10 billion at the global box office this year.
But the weekend overall at the box office was yet another disappointing one for the movie industry. A handful of under-performing releases and a relatively thin wide-release schedule hasn't helped the 5.6% slide in domestic ticket sales from last year, according to data firm Comscore.
This weekend produced an outright flop in "Playmobil: The Movie," the week's only new wide release. The STX Films release was never expected to do well, but it bombed so thoroughly that it will rank among the worst-performing wide-releases ever. It grossed $668,000 in 2,337 venues, giving it a per-theater average of just $286.
A handful of companies combined to produce the $75 million French film, including Wild Bunch and Pathe.
The top five films were almost unchanged from last weekend.
Rian Johnson's acclaimed, star-studded whodunit "Knives Out" remained in second place with $14.2 million, declining a modest 47% in its second week of release. With $63.5 million cumulatively and $124.1 million worldwide, the Lionsgate release has been one of the season's bright spots.
So has James Mangold's "Ford v Ferrari," which stayed in third place with $6.5 million over its fourth weekend. The racing drama, starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale, has sped to a global take of $168 million for Disney, which acquired the film's original studio, 20th Century Fox, earlier this year. The film cost about $100 million to make.
Melina Matsoukas' outlaw romance "Queen & Slim" moved up to fourth in its second week with $6.5 million, swapping places with Marielle Heller's Mister Rogers drama "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" ($5.2 million in its third weekend).
Todd Haynes' true-story legal drama "Dark Waters," starring Mark Ruffalo as a defense attorney who takes on the DuPont chemical company, expanded nationwide to 2,011 theaters. The Focus Features release made $4.1 million.
Celine Sciamma's acclaimed period romance "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" opened at two locations with a very strong $33,552 per-theater average. Neon will release the French film wider in February.
Some of the weekend's most widespread movie watching may have been on Netflix, though the streaming service doesn't disclose viewership tallies or box-office receipts.
After a three-week theatrical run, Noah Baumbach's "Marriage Story," one of the year's most critically acclaimed films, began streaming Friday. On Friday, Nielsen said Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman" last weekend drew an average audience of 13.6 million viewers from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1. Netflix has said Nielsen numbers, which only estimate U.S. viewership, reflect an incomplete picture.
Amazon likewise didn't release ticket sales for "The Aeronauts," which opened in 52 theaters over the weekend. Tom Harper's film, which cost $40 million to make, stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones as 19th century balloonists.
A week before it opens in North America, Sony's "Jumanji: The Next Level" debuted in 18 international countries where it made $52.5 million. The sequel to 2017's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," which grossed $962 million worldwide, is expected to lead the box office next weekend.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included.
1. "Frozen 2," $34.7 million ($90.2 million international).
2. "Knives Out," $14.2 million ($18 million international).
3. "Ford v Ferrari," $6.5 million ($8.3 million international).
4. "Queen & Slim," $6.5 million.
5. "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," $5.2 million.
6. "Dark Waters," $4.1 million.
7. "21 Bridges," $2.9 million.
8. "Playing With Fire," $2 million.
9. "Midway," $1.9 million.
10. "Joker," $1 million.
"Jumanji: The Next Level," a sequel to the 2017 American adventure comedy film "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," topped the Chinese mainland box office Friday, according to the China Movie Data Information Network Saturday.
The film raked in 60.91 million yuan (about 8.65 million U.S. dollars) on Friday, its opening day, accounting for over 43 percent of the daily total.
The film tells of a team of friends who return to the dangerous virtual world of the video game Jumanji to rescue one of their own and need to brave parts unknown, from arid deserts to snowy mountains, in order to escape the game.
It was followed by Chinese crime drama "The Wild Goose Lake," which grossed about 43.81 million yuan.
Coming in third was "The Whistleblower," a thriller about a Chinese expatriate who discovers a conspiracy at the firm he is working for, which pocketed 9.23 million yuan on its first day of screening.
Henry Cavill is all-in on his Netflix fantasy series "The Witcher," but he says the "door hasn't closed"on a return as Superman in the DC cinematic universe.
Cavill last played the superhero in 2017's "Justice League" and it's unclear whether any upcoming movies will feature the character. There are several films based on DC superheroes in the works, including sequels to "Wonder Woman" and "Aquaman."
Cavill dons a long white wig to play monster hunter Geralt of Rivia in "The Witcher," an ambitious eight-episode adaptation of Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski's books. With intense magic, scheming political factions and epic battles, it's targeting the audiences that made "Game of Thrones" a worldwide phenomenon.
"I live in the fantasy genre anyway, that's my hobby. And so for me, it was always — it was always obvious. It was like yes, of course, these shows can be popular," Cavill said. "It was always a target. I always wanted to bring things like this to to the screen in one way, shape or form."
The show premieres on Netflix on Dec. 20, and production begins early next year on a second season.
The series features Cavill's Geralt engaging in intricately choreographed swordplay, relaxing in a bath and talking to his horse — all recognizable moments for fans of the acclaimed hit 2015 role-playing game "The Witcher 3." Cavill says his horse chats recalled his real-life dialogue with his American Akita dog Kal, who shows up regularly on his Instagram feed.
"That's exactly what I was channeling when I was interacting with Roach (the horse), it was 100 percent the relationship Kal and I have," he said. "Geralt may be a little harder. Generally, he's been living in a harsher world and hated by a lot of people for longer than I have."
Cavill was a fan of "The Witcher 3" before he landed the series. He says he imagined himself in the role while playing the game, which runs for dozens of hours.
"What CD Projekt Red did with the game was extraordinary," he said of the company that created the game series. "And so all the work is kind of done for you. It's all visualized in a spectacular world."
He added: "Every time I played the games, all I thought was how can I recreate this in a certain way? And where would it be possible? How is it possible? Is there anywhere in the world that looks like this?"
"Sky Fire," a Chinese-produced adventure film directed by renowned British director Simon West, is set to hit the big screen in China on Dec. 12, according to the China Film Distribution and Exhibition Association.
It tells the story of people at a tropical resort in Southeast Asia who get caught up in a volcanic explosion.
The cast is led by Wang Xueqi, Hannah Quinlivan (also known as Kun Ling), and Dou Xiao.
As a director, Simon West is best known for his films "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" starring Angelina Jolie, "The General's Daughter" starring John Travolta and "Con Air" starring Nicholas Cage.
"Frozen 2" kept a wintry wind at its back in its second week, setting a Thanksgiving record with a whopping box office bounty, while newcomer "Knives Out" found its own broad audience.
Disney's new set of adventures for Anna, Elsa and Olaf brought in $85.3 million in the U.S. and Canada over the weekend and earned an unprecedented $132.7 million for the holiday frame of Wednesday through Sunday, according to studio estimates.
The first "Frozen" opened on Thanksgiving in 2013, but the sequel opened a week prior to the holiday, making it poised for a huge second week, with out-of-school kids happy to see it a second or a third time.
"Having the opening weekend falling a few days ahead of Thanksgiving really set it up perfectly," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for the box office tracker Comscore.
That came on top of a record-burying opening weekend of $127 million debut domestically and $350.2 million worldwide that made it the highest-grossing global debut for any animated film globally, and the largest opening for any for any Walt Disney Animation Studios release.
The original film and its world-making song "Let It Go" became a pop-culture phenomenon, earning $1.27 billion worldwide and selling countless Elsa and Anna dresses.
The sequel has more than showed that the six years since has brought no thaw. It has already earned $739 million globally and should certainly surpass the original's totals.
"Disney is usually immune to the waning interest that audience have with some sequels," Dergarabedian said.
"Knives Out," the innovative whodunit from writer and director Rian Johnson, rode great reviews and strong social media buzz to a $27 million weekend and a five-day domestic total of $41.7 million that easily earned back its budget.
The film's vast and eclectic cast included Ana de Armas, Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette and Chris Evans.
Johnson, the director of "Looper" and "The Last Jedi," had been the target of some Twitter fanboy outrage for the direction he took the second episode in the newest "Star Wars" trilogy, whose final chapter opens next month.
The "Knives Out" opening showed his name value was unharmed and might even have been strengthened by the online noise, and its reception could mean awards season consideration for Johnson and the cast.
"First and foremost, this starts with Rian Johnson," said David Spitz, president of domestic distribution for Lionsgate. "He wrote a screenplay we all loved and executed it to perfection."
In response to the strong showing, Johnson on Sunday morning tweeted "Wow - THANKS to everyone who came to #KnivesOut this weekend, and for all the lovely tweets, you guys are the best."
While put on the calendar to draw in adults while kids were watching and re-watching "Frozen 2," "Knives Out" proved to be more than a niche picture.
"We set it with the counterprogramming expectation, this is a good adult dramedy," Spitz said.
But, he said, it turned out younger audiences had even better reactions than older ones.
"It's playing to everybody," Spitz said.
While the weekend showed that there is nothing like a franchise to bring in blockbuster bucks, it also reflected that tentpoles aren't the only means to attract audiences.
"When it comes to adult fare, it seems that audiences want more originality," Dergarabedian said.
"Knives Out" also opened strong internationally with a weekend of $28.3 million.
The weekend's other newcomer, "Queen & Slim," finished down in fifth with $11.7 million, but with a limited number of screens and a modest reported budget of about $20 million, it was still a successful opening for the Bonnie-and-Clyde-meets-Black-Lives-Matter story.
"Ford v Ferrari" rolled along in its third weekend of release, finishing in third place with $13.2 million.
Tom Hanks' Mister Rogers story "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" also hummed along in its second weekend, earning $11.8 million to put it fourth at the domestic box office.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "Frozen 2," $85.3 million ($163.8 million international).
2. "Knives Out," $27 million ($28.3 million international).
3. "Ford v Ferrari," $13.2 million ($10.2 million international).
4. "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," $11.8 million.
5. "Queen & Slim," $11.7 million.
6. "21 Bridges," $5.8 million ($1.9 million international).
7. "Playing with Fire," $4.2 million.
8. "Midway," $4 million ($2.7 million international).
9. "Joker," $2 million ($4.6 million international).
10. "Last Christmas," $1.99 million ($8 million international).