Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’ Brightens Up Box Office With $21.8M Bow as ‘Napoleon,’ ‘Wish’ Fall Off a Cliff

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Beyoncé’s new concert film delivered the goods at the North American box office, where it sang to the biggest opening at the early December box office in two decades.

Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé — which the superstar wrote, directed and produced — grossed a better-than-expected $21.8 million from 2,536 locations in its domestic debut after being graced with a coveted A+ CinemaScore from audiences and glowing reviews, according to final weekend numbers from AMC Theatres, distributor of the movie. (Sunday’s estimate was $21 million).

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The concert movie struggled badly overseas, however, opening to $5.5 million from 94 markets (Sunday’s estimate was $6.4 million). It came in well behind an expected $20 million, but AMC notes that the film has a handful of major markets still to come, including Brazil.

The concert movie is the second title distributed by mega-cinema circuit AMC, which is also home to blockbuster Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour.

More than 70 percent of those buying tickets to see Renaissance in the U.S. were female, while 52 percent were Black moviegoers in a win for diverse programming. Nearly 70 percent of all ticket buyers were between ages 18 and 34, including 43 percent between ages 25 and 34.

The weekend after Thanksgiving is notoriously sluggish, and Renaissance is a welcome gift for exhibitors. To date, the biggest opening for the first weekend of December belongs to Tom Cruise’s The Last Samurai ($24.3 million), not adjusted for inflation. Case in point: domestic box office avenues for the Dec. 1-3 frame soared 76 percent over the same frame last year and 7 percent over 2019.

Similar to Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and her team decided to bypass Hollywood studios and struck a pact with AMC Theatres to distribute Renaissance, which chronicles her recent world stage tour and includes behind-the-scenes footage detailing the planning and execution of the concert.

Swift and AMC made history in October when Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour opened to a staggering $92.8 million domestically, by far the biggest launch ever for a concert movie. No one expected Renaissance to do the same sort of business, considering her audience is older.

Before Eras Tour, 2008’s Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana: The Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour held the record for the top domestic opening for a concert film with $31.1 million, not adjusted for inflation. That was followed by 2011’s Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, which opened to $29.5 million.

Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, which has held in nicely, came in second in its third weekend with $14.5 million from 3,691 locations for a domestic total of $121.2 million. Overseas, it has amassed $122.7 million from 87 markets for a global cume of $243.9 million.

Renaissance wasn’t the only unusual gift for exhibitors in North America this weekend. Toho’s Japanese film Godzilla Minus One came in third with a resounding $11 million from 2,308 theaters, thanks to younger men. Males made up 77 percent of ticket buyers on Friday, with 63 percent of all ticket buyers between the ages of 18 and 34.

India’s Animal, from Moksha Movies and Nirvana Cinemas, scored near-record business for a Bollywood film in opening to $6.1 million from 700 theaters in North America for a sixth-place finish. It also boasted the top location average of any pic in the top 10 with $8,714 (Renaissance‘s per-theater average was $8,271).

Animal also made headlines overseas, where it topped the foreign box office chart with $36.1 million from 37 markets for a global start of $42.2 million.

Opening in North America over the weekend was The Shift, which came in eighth with $4.2 million from 2,405 locations. The sci-fi, faith-based movie is from Angel Studios, home of sleeper hit Sound of Freedom.

Following in ninth-place domestically was Lionsgate and director John Woo’s action-thriller Silent Night, which opened to $3 million (the studio stressed it’s a good number for a film that will head quickly to Premium VOD).

Elsewhere, the news was bleak for Thanksgiving entries Napoleon, from Apple Original Films and Sony, and Disney Animation’s Wish.

Trolls Band Together, Wish and Napoleon found themselves in a close race for fourth place, but Illumination and Universal’s Trolls threequel prevailed with an estimated $7.6 million from 3,616 cinemas for a domestic total of $74.8 million through its third weekend and $85.8 million overseas for a global tally of $160.6 million.

Wish, from Disney Animation, dropped off a hefty 62 percent domestically in more bad news for Disney. The family film placed fifth with an estimated $7.4 million from 3,900 locations for a domestic of $42 million. Overseas, the music-infused film enjoyed a 44 percent hold (excluding China) in earning another $18.8 million for an early foreign tally of $39.6 million and $81.6 million globally.

From Apple Original Films and Sony, Napoleon is in an even worse position, falling 66 percent to $7.1 million from 2,500 theaters in its second outing after opening ahead of expectations over Thanksgiving. The steep decline isn’t a surprise to Hollywood insiders, considering the biographical epic got dinged with a B- CinemaScore by audiences, coupled with poor exits on PostTrak. The big-budget pic’s domestic total through Sunday is an estimated $45.7 million. Overseas, the Apple drama fared far better with $28.6 million for a foreign total of $90.9 million and $136.6 million globally. Like many Hollywood films, however, it failed to conquer China where it earned just $2.8 million.

Wish, conversely, earned an A CinemaScore and strong exits, meaning it could still pick up the pace over the year-end holidays thanks to strong word of mouth.

Apple Original Films is also in theaters with Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. It fully financed both big-budget pics, but unlike a legacy Hollywood studio, it isn’t being held to the same standards in terms of how its films perform at the box office (Disney, for example, is taking a drubbing these days for its big-budget misses). Killers of the Flower Moon‘s global gross through Sunday as it winds down its theatrical run and heads for streaming is an estimated $148.8 million, which in any other instance would be considered a major problem considering it cost $200 million before marketing.

At the specialty box office, A24’s Dream Scenario, a black comedy starring Nicolas Cage, made a major expansion in its fourth weekend to place No. 12. The film earned $1.7 million from 1,578 locations for a domestic total of $3.5 million.

Among Oscar specialty hopefuls, MGM/Amazon’s Saltburn followed with $1.7 million as it expanded into 1,566 locations for a U.S. tally of $6.2 million. Focus Features’ The Holdovers took in $1.1 million from 1,311 sites in its sixth weekend for a total of $15.1 million.

Dec. 4, 12:20 p.m.: Updated with final weekend numbers for Renaissance.
Dec. 3, 7:35 a.m.: Updated with revised weekend estimates.
Dec. 2, 10 a.m.: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated The Shift‘s ranking on the box office chart.

This story was originally published Dec. 2 at 7:55 am.

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