If you wondered why studios tend to give major films from studios like Disney room to breathe at the box office, then you know now thanks to the terrible debut of “Playmobil: The Movie.” To be fair, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize releasing an animated children’s film right up against “Frozen II” was not a smart idea.
While even in its third weekend, “Frozen II” continued to dominate the box office, posting a $34.7 million three-day domestic total. That’s not some record-breaking amount of cash, but it was enough to send the STX film “Playmobil” straight into the dumpster, as that film debuted all the way down at the #14 spot with a domestic total of $660,000. Nope, I didn’t miss a comma. Six hundred and sixty thousand dollars over its three-day opening.
According to Box Office Mojo, the opening of “Playmobil” is the third-worst opening ever for a film that debuted in over 2,000 theaters. The only films to do worse than this animated film are “Delgo” ($511,920) and “The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure” ($443,901). Overall, “Playmobil” had a Per-Theater-Average (PTA) of only $282. If you break that down over three days, then each theater averaged $94 per day. And based on the rough estimate that each ticket is about $10 each, that equals just under 10 tickets purchased each day. Ouch.
Back to “Frozen II,” the film now sits with a domestic total of $338 million after three weekends and a global total of $920 million, well on its way to the billion-dollar club. Disney, as a studio, also crossed the $10 billion mark, globally, for 2019, the first studio to ever reach that total.
As for some of the other returning films, both “Knives Out” and “Queen & Slim” continued to post solid numbers in their second weekends. The Rian Johnson whodunnit, “Knives Out,” stayed in the #2 spot, dropping only -47% in its second frame, and posting a three-day total of $14.1 million. “Queen & Slim” held on to the #4 spot, dropping only -45%, and posting a $6.53 million frame. As mentioned last weekend, both of these films seem poised to become pretty solid hits for their respective distributors.
As for limited-release films, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” debuted in only 2 theaters and earned a PTA of $33,552. That’s a solid opening for a French film that is one of the year’s best-reviewed films. It’s also another solid debut for NEON, who is making waves this fall with ‘Portrait,’ as well as “Parasite.”
And “Dark Waters,” which debuted in limited release recently, expanded into over 2,000 locations and earned a respectable $4.1 million over the three-day weekend. The Mark Ruffalo-starring film is the type of adult drama that will likely stick around in the box office over the next few weeks. We’ll just have to see how the word-of-mouth affects it.
Next week, the multiplex is set to heat up with the wide releases trying to sneak in before “Star Wars” dominates the rest of 2019. “Bombshell,” “Jumanji: The Next Level,” “Uncut Gems,” “Black Christmas,” and “Richard Jewell” all try to take down “Frozen II” starting on Friday the 13th. We’ll see who comes out on top (spoiler alert, it’s probably going to be ‘Jumanji’).
Here’s the domestic top 10 for December 6 to December8:
1. Frozen II – $34.7M ($338M Overall)
2. Knives Out – $14.1M ($63M)
3. Ford v Ferrari – $6.537M ($91M)
4. Queen & Slim – $6.53M ($27M)
5. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – $5.2M ($43M)
6. Dark Waters – $4.1M ($5.3M)
7. 21 Bridges – $2.9M ($24M)
8. Playing with Fire – $2M ($42M)
9. Midway – $1.94M ($54M)
10. Joker – $1M ($332M)