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Weekend Box Office: Ragnarok Repeats as Daddy's Home 2, Orient Express Both Open Strong

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By Chris Kavan - 11/12/17 at 04:26 PM CT

The god of thunder easily slapped down four daddies and one legendary train, but the two new entries needn't feel bad - both opened above expectations. While the weekend was still down compared to last year, it was much closer this time around and with Justice League coming out next weekend, maybe November can finally deliver an up weekend at the box office. In general, however, there were no losers as both major and limited release films impressed, and there was even a foreign record to be had. It's hard to think of how this weekend could have gone much better.


The box office once again was thunderstruck as Thor: Ragnarok delivered a first-place finish with $56.6 million. That means the third Thor film dipped just 53.9% and has earned $211.58 million. That puts the third film above the total for both the original Thor ($181 million) and the sequel, The Dark World ($206.3 million). Ragnarok is now the 12th highest-grossing MCU film and will have no problem topping Doctor Strange ($232 million), last year's November release, by next weekend. The second week hold was a bit below Doctor Strange (which only fell 49%) but above the likes of Spider-Man: Homecoming (62%), Ant-Man (56%) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (55%). Worldwide, Ragnarok is doing just find with $650 million (also topping the two previous Thor films) and will also be able to top Doctor Strange ($677 million) easily and is looking at at least $800 million total, which would be the third MCU film of the year to do so. That total also puts it in the top 10 worldwide for 2017, and it will only go up from here. Even with Justice League, Thor isn't likely to take too big a hit next weekend as it shoots for $250 million stateside.


In the battle between the new films, comedy bested mystery as Daddy's Home 2 took second place with a better-than-expected $30 million. While that opening fell short of the original film ($38.7 million), Daddy's Home also benefited from the Christmas holiday. While critics weren't impressed by this sequel, audiences were much happier, awarding it an "A-" Cinemascore, above the original film's "B+". It also expanded its female base - 57% compared to just 48% for the original. The age range was 65% over 25, 52% over 35. About the only concerning news for the sequel is its budget of $69 million. Even if it can crack $75 million it may need a bit of help overseas to make an actual profit. Still, this is a much-needed win for Paramount, which has struggled with both big-budget letdowns and bad missteps. Daddy's Home 2, at the least, will hit $70 million, but could easily go much higher if audiences are in the mood for comedy.


If you're not in the mood for comedy, it turns out there is a great secondary option as drama/mystery Murder on the Orient Express also opened above expectations with a $28.2 million. The great ensemble cast and classic story scored a "B" Cinemascore from its mostly female (56%) and older (51% over 35) audience. That is a solid score and older audiences are good at stretching out a movie's run, thus Orient Express should have a decent run ahead of it. If it can have a run like Arrival, it will hit $100 million, which is not bad for a $55 million film (that had already earned $84 million worldwide). The film is going to have no problem holding on to an audience in the coming weeks, we'll have to see how invested they are in this updated version of the classic murder mystery.


It turns out being bad is still very good as A Bad Moms Christmas had an excellent hold, dropping a mere 31.3% over its opening. That means the sequel brought in $11.51 million, giving it a new total of $39.8 million.That hold is currently the best for a 2017 comedy, besting both Baby Driver and Girls Trip. The $28 million film is looking at a total in the $70-$75 million range - not quite as good as the original but still a solid win, and that's not even counting the overseas numbers. While Christmas may have gotten the critics riled up, much like Daddy's Home 2 it seems audiences are willing to give the film a slight pass for some good laughs.


It's nearly a sweep in the top five for sequels, as Jigsaw rounded out the top five with $3.42 million. Dipping about 48% in its third weekend, the horror franchise has spawned a $34.35 million total thus far, with a global total just under $80 million. The film is operating on just a $10 million budget, and even if it winds up on the lower end of the Jigsaw franchise, I wouldn't be at all surprised if this outcome means we'll be seeing a Saw revival over the next few years.

Outside the top five: Last week's limited release champion, Lady Bird, continued its spectacular run. In just 37 theaters, the film cracked the top 10 with $1.25 million (10th place), a jump of 242.8% and a still impressive $33,766 per-theater average. The film will continue its expansion leading up to a nationwide rollout over Thanksgiving weekend.

Speaking of limited releases, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which has earned rave reviews, debuted in four theaters with $320,000 for an excellent $80,000 per-theater average. That is the third-best per theater average of the year behind the aforementioned Lady Bird ($91k) and The Big Sick ($83k). This one is also going to expand and I wouldn't be surprised if both film will make an awards season run.

One last note is that Disney has another record it can call its own (as if they don't have enough already) with Coco now holding the record for highest-grossing animated film of all time in Mexico, with $41 million (and climbing) ahead of its U.S. debut. That is also the second-best total for any U.S. film in the Mexican market, we'll see if it can conquer that mark as well, as it has only been out for 17 days.

Next weekend brings us Justice League (or Wonder Woman and Those Other Guys) as well as the animated tale The Star and drama Wonder (a kind of mini-Mask). It will be interesting to see how the two superhero titans stack up against each other.


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