A dragon-tattooed hacker heroine and a horde of Nazi zombies have nothing on The Grinch this weekend.
Universal Pictures and Illumination’s animated take on the beloved Dr. Seuss holiday tale is on track to sell an estimated $66 million in tickets at 4,141 theaters in the U.S. and Canada from Friday through Sunday, outpacing fellow new releases The Girl in the Spider’s Web and Overlord and topping the box office.
Heading into the weekend, The Grinch had been expected to debut in the $55 million to $65 million range. The film, which cost about $75 million to make, is off to a solid start, although its opening trails Illumination’s previous Seuss adaptation The Lorax ($81 million, adjusting for inflation) and Universal’s 2000 live-action film How the Grinch Stole Christmas ($85.1 million, adjusting for inflation). Overseas, The Grinch will add about $12.7 million this weekend, for a global total of $78.7 million.
Directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier, The Grinch stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the eponymous yuletide thief, who schemes to ruin Christmas in Whoville because his heart is a few sizes too small. Critics’ reviews have been mixed, but audiences gave it an A-minus CinemaScore.
Faring less well in their opening frames are Paramount’s World War II-themed splatterfest Overlord, which will take in about $10.1 million at 2,859 theaters, good for third place, and Sony’s Dragon Tattoo sequel/reboot The Girl in the Spider’s Web, which will earn about $8 million on 2,929 screens, giving it a tenuous hold on the No. 5 spot.
Directed by Julius Avery and produced by J.J. Abrams, Overlord stars Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, and John Magaro as American paratroopers who are sent on a mission to destroy a German radio tower on the eve of D-Day, only to run afoul of secret Nazi experiments. Reviews were solid, while moviegoers gave it a so-so B CinemaScore.
Girl in the Spider’s Web also earned a B CinemaScore, though unlike Overlord it failed to make an impression on critics. Fede Alvarez directed the movie, which finds Claire Foy taking up the mantle of Lisbeth Salander in a cat-and-mouse thriller involving a stolen computer program that controls the world’s nuclear arsenal.
Rounding out the top five this weekend are Fox’s Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, in second place with an estimated $30.9 million, and Disney’s live-action fantasy Nutcracker and the Four Realms, in fourth with an estimated $9.6 million. Both films opened last week.
In limited release, Sony’s biographical drama The Front Runner, about the rise and fall of senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart (played by Hugh Jackman), opened Tuesday, coinciding with the midterm elections. But the awards hopeful will take in just $56,000 at four theaters this weekend, which works out a lackluster per-screen average of $14,000.
Overall box office is up 10.4 percent year-to-date, according to Comscore. See the Nov. 9-11 figures below.
1. The Grinch — $66 million
2. Bohemian Rhapsody — $30.9 million
3. Overlord — $10.1 million
4. Nutcracker and the Four Realms — $9.6 million
5. Girl in the Spider’s Web — $8 million
6. A Star Is Born — $8 million
7. Nobody’s Fool — $6.5 million
8. Venom — $4.9 million
9. Halloween — $3.8 million
10. The Hate U Give — $2.1 million