Weekend Box Office (July 9 - 11, 2021)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Marvel fans made their way out (or in some cases, stayed in) to support Black Widow, the first MCU movie in two years, which debuted at number one with the biggest opening weekend of any film since 2019. Natasha Romanoff also powered the overall marketplace to the biggest box office weekend of the entire pandemic.

With $80.4M, according to final figures, the PG-13 action-adventure easily topped the charts this weekend accounting for a whopping 68% of all ticket sales in the top ten. It beat out the $70M of F9 from just two weeks ago as the biggest opening of covid times and it broke the record while also being available at home on Disney+ Premier Access for a $30 fee while Vin Diesel's latest has been exclusive to cinemas.

Black Widow averaged a stellar $19,319 from 4,160 locations and showed off numbers that looked like they were from normal times. It beat out the $75.8M opening of Ant-Man and the Wasp (another MCU film opening on this same July weekend) and was not far behind the $85.1M of Doctor Strange. Both of those films played under normal conditions and had no day-and-date at-home option.

The daily breakdown saw $39.5M on opening day Friday including $13.2M from Thursday pre-shows, a steep 41% plunge on Saturday to $23.3M, and a 25% drop on Sunday to $17.5M. Major storms on the east coast may have affected Friday and Saturday numbers and Sunday ended up finishing a little higher than estimated.

Reviews were generally positive and the A- grade from CinemaScore indicates that fans are happy with what they got. With not too much competition in July, good word-of-mouth should keep it going on track to break $100M by this Friday. The intensely loyal Marvel fan base rushed out upfront on Thursday and Friday. How it fares in the days ahead - with most schools and colleges on summer break - will determine the long-term picture.

It is impossible to know how much of the total opening weekend audience shifted to at-home instead of in-cinema. Disney reported a $60M estimate for its revenue for Friday-to-Sunday on the Premier Access service. At $30 per subscriber that comes to about two million households that ordered it at home for unlimited viewings. At an average of about three people watching per account it's fair to say that roughly six million people watched Black Widow at home this weekend. Not everyone would have purchased a movie ticket, but the majority probably would have given the love fans have for the Marvel brand. If there were no at-home option, the opening weekend gross may have been in the range of $110M to $120M.

But the financials for Disney are different with Premier Access. The studio keeps the revenue with no theaters or cable operators taking a cut, plus the theatrical marketing promoted the PA option pushing awareness high so not much needed to be spent on extra promotions. Even with a large second weekend box office drop, Black Widow could end this summer by putting Disney's cut of domestic theatrical and streaming revenue at close to the $200M mark - which is what the budget is rumored to be. And extra cash from the studio's cut of theatrical box office, streaming, TV, and ancillaries from all overseas markets will be added on top of that.

Marvel's fan favorite also launched in most overseas markets this weekend and grossed an estimated $78.8M from 46 territories making for a global theatrical debut of $159M which was mostly even between domestic and overseas. The top five international debuts were Korea $12.7M, UK $9.7M, France $6.9M, Australia $5.3M, and Mexico $4.8M. Many Asian markets did not open this weekend like Taiwan, Indonesia, and India with many fighting off resurgent covid problems and having theaters closed or at limited capacities. China has not determined its release date yet, but that market typically performs very well for Marvel movies. A final global gross of over $500M is certainly possible.

Powered by Black Widow, the US box office for the first time during the entire pandemic actually beat prior numbers this weekend. The top ten films grossed $117.4M. The Top 10 this same weekend in 2019 (most cinemas were closed this weekend in 2020) was $114.1M. Now that is up by only 3%, but it's much better than the usual 40% to 70% drops the industry has consistently been seeing every weekend.

Former number one F9 settled for the silver medal in its third weekend of play in the US and grossed $11.4M. Universal's drop was 51% which was understandable given that it's an action sequel with a well-defined fan base plus it faced intense competition from a new franchise actioner this weekend. Cume is $141.8M which is more than any movie has made in its first 17 days during the pandemic. A final domestic take in the $160-170M range seems likely which would be just a bit behind the $173.7M two summers ago for Hobbs and Shaw which played during normal times.

Overseas, F9 cracked the $400M mark this weekend with over half of that coming from its early run in China. The offshore frame was $14M from 51 markets for a cume of $400.8M putting the worldwide haul at $542.7M making it the number one Hollywood movie globally since 2019. France and Germany open this coming week while Japan and Italy are on deck and will launch in August. A final approaching $700M may result.

Universal also claimed the next two slots with its other summer sequels. The Boss Baby: Family Business dropped 45% in its second weekend to $8.8M putting the cume for the DreamWorks Animation title at $34.9M. The toon has also been streaming at home since day one on Peacock for paid subscribers at no additional cost. Coming in fourth was The Forever Purge which fell 43% in its sophomore round to $7.1M for $27.8M overall.

Paramount hit a milestone with its horror sequel A Quiet Place Part II becoming the first movie of the pandemic era to break $150M domestic. The Emily Blunt thriller slipped only 23% in its seventh weekend to $3.2M remaining in the top five during its entire run so far. It's expected to begin streaming on Paramount+ starting this week since it is now finishing 45 days of exclusive play in cinemas. The North American total rose to $150.8M while the overseas tally added $128.3M for a new global haul of $279M on its way to breaking the $300M mark like its predecessor did in 2018.

Disney's Cruella enjoyed the smallest drop of any film in wide release thanks in large part to the studio offering it with Black Widow as a double feature at select drive-in theaters. The pricey Emma-Emma pic grossed an estimated $2.7M, down a scant 1%, for a new take of $80.9M, with an unreported additional stream of revenue from Disney+ Premier Access. The international run has banked $136.1M to date for a global gross of $217M with the top overseas markets being China $24.1M, Korea $16.1M, UK $12.5M, Mexico $11.5M, and Russia $10.2M.

Sequels followed. Action-comedy The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard dropped 46% in its fourth weekend to $1.6M giving Lionsgate $35M to date. Sony's kidpic Peter Rabbit 2 fell 43% to an estimated $1.3M for $37.7M to date. With $101.7M from its overseas run, the bunny flick has banked $139.4M globally - a good number for this kind of film during a pandemic.

Rounding out the top ten with nearly identical grosses were the fright flick The Conjuring 3 with $655,000 and indie pic Zola with $620,000. Each declined by 48% and new totals are $63.8M for Warner Bros. and $3.5M for A24.

The top ten films grossed $117.4M this weekend - another new pandemic record. It's the first time it broke $100M during all of covid times. The box office was shutdown a year ago, but this weekend's figure was up 3% from 2019 when Spider-Man: Far From Home remained in the top spot with $45.4M.

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# Title Jul 9 - 11 Jul 2 - 4 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Black Widow $ 80,366,312 4,160 1 $ 19,319 $ 80,366,312 Disney
2 F9 11,370,000 23,010,000 -50.6 3,649 3 3,116 141,816,000 Universal
3 Boss Baby 2 8,840,000 16,000,000 -44.8 3,688 2 2,397 34,887,000 Universal
4 The Forever Purge 7,110,000 12,550,000 -43.3 3,058 2 2,325 27,845,000 Universal
5 A Quiet Place Part II 3,155,430 4,101,048 -23.1 2,359 7 1,338 150,849,725 Paramount
6 Cruella 2,370,111 2,386,652 -0.7 1,875 7 1,264 80,936,776 Disney
7 The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard 1,630,927 3,002,155 -45.7 1,904 4 857 35,040,774 Lionsgate
8 Peter Rabbit 2 1,250,000 2,200,000 -43.2 1,958 5 638 37,700,000 Sony
9 The Conjuring 3 655,000 1,250,000 -47.6 667 6 982 63,833,000 Warner Bros.
10 Zola 620,000 1,200,013 -48.3 1,401 2 443 3,532,000 A24
Top 5 $ 110,841,742 $ 58,663,203 88.9
Top 10 117,367,780 66,899,868 75.4
Top 10 vs. 2020 117,367,780 <shutdown>
Top 10 vs. 2019 117,367,780 114,124,922 2.8
Below the Top 10:
In The Heights 620,000 1,200,000 -48.3 788 5 787 28,308,000 Warner Bros.
Summer of Soul 377,634 647,634 -41.7 752 2 502 1,430,158 Searchlight
12 Mighty Orphans 145,000 200,000 -27.5 185 5 784 3,171,000 Sony Classics
Spirit: Untamed 130,000 352,000 -63.1 968 6 134 17,300,000 Universal

Last Updated: July 13, 2021 at 7:00PM ET

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